Friday, April 29, 2011

Stay Fresh at Roesch

In an earlier post I described how I tracked what students said about the library on Twitter. Not only does it give me some good feedback to share with the rest of the staff (slow Internet, it's too warm in here, etc.) certain tweets inspired our theme for finals week: Stay Fresh at Roesch.

Two students tweeted about #RoeschBreath which they explained was the way your breath smells after spending too much time in the library (smells like musty books!) One of the students kindly edited our "Top Ten Reasons to Visit" brochure by crossing out 10 and replacing it with 11 - Roesch Breath being the 11th reason. Even though this was only two students who had their own inside joke I knew we could use it to turn it into something clever: they had to know we want to hear about their experiences at the library.

So, I came up with the slogan "Stay Fresh at Roesch" while the Dean had the idea to put the slogan on mint candies and have them out during finals (we ordered 4,000 mint candies from a local vendor). The Marketing and Outreach Team that I chair took the theme and ran with it: one member found the perfect font and images that come across as retro, fun, and quirky. Others organized the actual finals event services: free pizza, coffee, chair massages, and taxi rides to the student neighborhoods.

This morning I had help distributing the mints to the upper floors and students are already tweeting about the theme and the mints. One of the first students to notice was a student who originally tweeted about Roesch Breath:

Student: Love that offerers mints to prevent #
RoeschLibrary: So glad you noticed! We got the mints because of your tweets and we saw the Top "11" Reasons to Visit brochure :)
Student: @ I'm so happy someone read it! I was upset when it wasn't there upon my next adventure at !
RoeschLibrary: Oh, sorry! I took it so I could show all the other staff members - you are so funny! Let me know if you want it back :)

I plan on taking pictures of students throughout finals week with the mints (if they last!) and uploading them to a Facebook album. Since the concept came from the students I'd like to keep them involved as much as possible. I went up to each group that had a bowl of mints and asked them what they thought, if I could take their picture, and told them they'd be library celebrities on the I hope this interaction in person and on Twitter shows students that someone is listening. I think a lot of them are really clever and have funny AND important things to say!

'Til next time: Stay fresh at Roesch!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Extra Credit

At my community college library, I have recently received an interesting, recurring reference question, which goes as follows: (student hands me a piece of paper - their homework) "Who is this person?" they ask.
The students are in an English class and the professor includes a "name this author" extra credit photo on each week's homework. Thankfully I have figured them out quickly so far, but I am accepting suggestions for how to help them when I don't recognize the author by sight!
This has inspired me to create a new Klub Katalog feature - Name That Librarian! And with no further ado, please accept my first submission:

So... go librarians, go! First to reveal his identity gets an as-yet-to-be-named prize. Or something.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E-books or E-Readers

I am skeptic when it comes to e-books. It isn't so much the ideal of the device but the number of issues it seems to be creating.

First the trouble with loaning e-books in the library and the fun new ways the publishing industry like to make our lives difficult (damn you Harper Collins!).

Also, the e-reading revolution has brought questions to the reference desk that I don't have good answers for:
  1.  Does your library have e-books?      We have e-books but you can only view them on a computer.
  2. Which device should I get?                   This may depend on your needs and tech skill level. 
  3. Can you load an e-book on my device?      I'm not allowed to play with your device.

Part of this is just the fact that my library isn't ready to handle the explosion of e-readers from the holiday season. We just don't have the resources to help our patrons and this sucks. I hate not being able to really help when presented with a question. Good news, we are aware of the problem and working on it.

I recently went to an E-reader petting zoo that, (I believe), the NC State library sponsors for teaching librarians. I got to play with a Nook, Nook Color, Sony E-Reader, Kobo and the Kindle. I must say I went in preparing to be underwhelmed but I did learn somethings that lighten my e-reader/e-book woes.

First and foremost, there was a discussion of lending out the e-readers themselves as opposed to e-books. There are a few libraries in NC who are actively loaning out the reader's, in fact a local branch within my system is looking to use some e-readers as part of an outreach project. Is it legal? There are some doubts. Yes it requires a signed agreement with the patron but it's so neat to think about checking out the "mystery" or "best sellers" e-reader where you don't just get one book, you get them all.

(Okay I know, not all, as that is impossible but you get the idea.)

The other thing was I learned about Calibre, open source software for converting public domain e-books into the file format your device reads. It worked on PDF articles as well. You don't have to worry about assigning a file format to convert to, plug in your device and it will convert it to the appropriate format on its own.

Hence, my technology challenged mother can use this....

Well, more food for thought when approaching your e-book or e-reader situation...

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Book Talk: Matched

Oh, brave not-so-new world of YA fiction! How I love you!

Matched is by new author Ally Condie. I am still trying to figure out if she is a Mormon. If she is, then I will be convinced that being a Mormon will make you a successful YA author.

Matched is the story of Cassia; she lives in the future where humans are engineered for maximum success and only one hundred songs and one hundred poems exist.  Vocations are chosen for you based on tests and people are Matched based on statistical data. Her Matching does not go as planned and drama and adventure ensue.

I enjoyed this book because it's well-written and not cloying like so much other teen drivel out there right now. It finds a happy spot between the classics (Brave New World, The Giver) the new classics (The Hunger Games) and the fantastically awful (I'm looking at you, Twilight).