KLA 2011 Wrapup post

At the KLA 2011 conference this year, “Share the Vision”, I stayed sane, and only presented once. And I plan to act accordingly at KLA conference in years to come. Last year’s insane presentation schedule was fun to do (I ended up doing 4 separate sessions with panels of people, plus taught a pre-conference), but I didn’t get to enjoy the conference at all — I’d crash between presentations in my hotel room.

I won’t do that again. And I don’t recommend this at all (friends don’t let friends do crazy presentation slates — remember that!). Conferences are meant to be enjoyed and a time to visit with your colleagues and peers, and also attend sessions (yes, I advocate the priority of talking to people above attending conference sessions; conferences are a great way to meet new people and learn from one another)

This year I only gave a presentation with the fabulous Liz Rea, on online security tips, “Naked in the Library: Keeping Your Private Information Private, Online“.

Side note: Previously the funniest (and most useful) presentation had been the Cloud Computing presentation Sharon, Liz, and I presented together as a team at different times in 2009 (which reminds me, after TEDxOKC and hearing from a member of the Chrome OS team, I think we should resurrect the cloud computing presentation again; it’s even more relevant today). End Side Note

I didn’t think we could have more fun than using silly cat pictures to describe the wonder and perils of cloud computing and what it can mean for libraries. But Liz and I managed to do just that with “Naked in the Library“. People get bored or overwhelmed or confused or lose interest in security presentations or conversations; we’d both experienced this. So how to get people’s attention when security is more important than ever, especially as cloud computing is an exploding trend? With a combination of live simulated hacking, videos, and the Keep Calm and Channel Han mantra, we had our audience participating, laughing, engaged, and appearing to remember what we’d discussed over about 40 minutes. I have a feeling we’ll be doing this one again. [Presentation info: Slides, Handout, Resources]

I spent time at the conference helping produce and moderate two virtual track sessions — great fun to hear from Susan, Leah, and Gail in their sessions, and I just realized I have another set of notes to type now from their sessions to share (another day). I thought the sessions went well and we have fantastic archives of information that I hope people listen to post-conference. (For fun, here’s the Xtranormal video promoting the track and the Xtranormal video thanks).

Note: If you registered for the conference or the virtual track only, you have access to these sessions; see Cindi Hickey’s message reminder on KANLIB for more info. If you haven’t seen the message or are interested in getting the archives to the sessions, contact Cindi directly; her contact information is on the virtual track page.

I attended a few other sessions, including Heidi’s Silent LIbrary: Using MTV as library outreach programming, library advocacy in Kansas update (notes coming), one of Maribeth’s sessions on computer security (notes coming), In Pursuit of Library Elegance, and Placing a Hold on the Love of Reading.

All in all it was a great couple of days in Topeka. Royce, Mickey, and the other conference organizers did a great job bringing the conference together. I had a wonderful time connecting with good friends (had a bit of fun in downtown Lawrence and laughed way too much; thanks Kate, Heidi, and Rachel — SLIM will forever connect us 🙂 ), talked to many other library colleagues, and continued to find intersecting threads of thought that were still in the process of being pulled together. Some had been present for months, some came at CiL, some came at PLAVSS, and some came at KLA.

Then I left Topeka and drove to OKC for TEDxOKC on Friday. The drive down to OKC went by quickly thanks to phone conversations. Between a conversation with a college roommate and a marathon phone conversation with Buffy Hamilton (I think we talked 3 hours!), the 4.5 hour drive went by quickly. I stayed with Kirsten, talked library shop as always, and headed to bed. I knew Friday would be exciting thanks to knowing a lot about the TED and TEDx concepts, but I had no clue how exciting and life-changing it would be. The threads I’ve been seeing merged, exploded, and came to life. Stay tuned for those notes and reflections over the next few days.

Placing a Hold on the Love of Reading: A School and Public Library Partnership in Atchison, KS

Cathy Coronado, Atchison Middle School Media Specialist

Diana Weaver, Atchison Public Library Director (as of right now; she’ll be the new director at Basehor Community Library at the end of April!)

How it all began….

NEKLS Summer School Librarians Workshop in 2009, featuring Tasha Squires, author of Library Partnerships: Making Connections Between Schools and Public Libraries

The information at the workshop was great, but the best part was the driving to and from the session. Diana and Laura (new elementary librarian) and Cathy never had really talked before; Diana was the new director of the Atchison Public Library.

Building our Partnership:

  • Breakfast w area school librarians (4 schools (Lutheran, Catholic private schools, and public schools). wanted to meet again but never could
  • Personal visits over coffee
  • Participation in MS in-service on school discipline
  • Library is a block from the MS. Teen problem. No consistency in policies and discipline enforcement. Things in the library did change, but still didn’t change completely. Not just the library’s problem to solve. Library went to MS inservice on discipline. Brought back info to library staff with mixed results, but did start a conversation. Building read over a million words. Public library wanted to be a part of this.
  • Meet w the school district superintendent to support the reading system: school had a courier system. Diana asked if the courier system could stop at the public library.
  • Public library staff visit to all AMS reading classes to demonstrate how to place holds through the NExpress shared catalog system. If the kids didn’t have a library card and their parents wouldn’t give them a card, a building card was created so holds could still be placed.

The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Read in Every Child, Donalyn Miller

“Part of wearing a reader’s clothes is learning how to navigate a library and feeling at home in one” (Miller 59).

Wanted to make the middle school kids feel at home in the library.

Students Tour Atchison Public Library: All 6th, 7th, and 8th grade reading classes toured

Students learned about:

  • the YA book collection, including graphic novels
  • available tech like laptops, audiobooks and video games
  • upcoming and ongoing teen events
  • how to get their own library card
  • what homework resources are available

The Process to send books to the Middle School Library

Atchison Library (already processes 80+ holds per day as part of NExpress):

  • AMS has its own card to place holds and checkout (with Cathy’s permission) — has checkout out 400+ books on the AMS card since October
  • Items are transferred between the school and public library through the school district courier.

The Process at AMS

  • Students can place holds on books at the APL Online Catalog Station
  • Students write the title of the book they want and their name on a slip of paper and deposit it in the box.

“Because so many students’ reading choices are dictated by their teachers, they never learn how to choose books for themselves. How can they shape a self-identity as a reader if they never get the chance to find out what they like?” (Miller 28)

This is all done through one card. Kids who have local cards, can place holds, but then have to pickup at the local library. Teachers are now starting to use the service as well — quick access to the public library.

AMS Process Continues

  • There are in and out boxes for the books
  • Each book is checked out to the student using a temporary number
  • I use the code APL at the beginning of the call numbers of all the books
  • I periodically check the holds and books checked out to see if they match my records

The Benefits of our relationship

  • Public libraries have more funding for materials and resources
  • School libraries have direct access to young readers

Public library Benefits

  • Kids reading our stuff
  • Cooperative collection development
  • Better behavior in the library (Cathy said the library staff were her friends on the visits)
  • Student volunteers
  • Library board members
  • Presence in community
  • Teachers also visiting us more

School library Benefits

  • Supplements our collection (no money for collection)
  • Reference books and books written primarily for adults are available
  • Provides a service to teachers who love to read
  • Teachers try out classroom sets of books
  • Keeps students interested in reading when they can have the book they choose

School wide competition in 2nd quarter. AR test system used as a quick test system. Word count. 100 million words goal w teachers. Teacher teams — 1 hr for lunch given to winning team.

Teachers taken out of the equation, and only kids the second time, made it to 99 million words

“Our national discussion of reading has been reduced to a talking point a measurement score. How can we get our students to open books and start reading when, in many classrooms, the focus is on test performance?” (Miller 180).

Now, drill and skill. Demoralize teachers.

Word counts of what students had read tracked by library (thanks to AR tests — just to be a check, not accuracy of test scores). Principal looked at the bottom of the words lists.Cathy plotted # of words where the person’s score was. Anyone under 100,000 words typically was not passing assessments. Lightbulb went off in principal’s head.

Practice comes from what the kids want to read. Not specific books.

We Both Agree: The most important thing is creating life long readers and future library users. Thank you!

http://book-whisperer.blogspot.com Blog

Comments/questions from audience:

A homework pass for every 2 hrs students read. 25 teens typically participate. 170+ teens participated after the homework pass project. (Can’t remember now which library — maybe Bonner Springs??)

If you can hook that one person, it builds that relationship and can get passed onto others.

What do you do if your town’s school librarian wants nothing to do with your public library? Can you go directly to the teachers? Yes.

People are going to be more receptive to the public library-school library partnership because budgets are in bad shape.

HS/MS brings the public library books in the summer, 300-500 books per year during the summer. Teen section is tiny at public library.

At the beginning, discussed who’s responsibility is it to pay for the books? Certain loss involved. Price of doing business.

Haven’t lost many books through the sharing. Cathy’s loss rate is better than the public library. She has a captive audience

Homebound patron category that doesn’t accrue fines used at the public library to check the books out to the middle school. That’s what the school uses.

The high school students participate but not at the same level. The teachers love the library.

The private schools in Atchison also use the public library (the teachers particularly mentioned from these schools).

The students are being trained at the middle school and will hopefully take their love of reading onto the high school level.

Building a culture of reading.

“Ask for forgiveness, not permission” philosophy. Brief discussion about ages and book challenges.

I was really glad I attended this session. Diana, why is this the first I’ve heard of your successes there?? 🙂 You and Cathy need to share this success widely. And I highly recommend the book mentioned at the beginning of this post by Tasha Squires. NExpress libraries, it’s in the NEKLS collection — request it through NExpress. Other Kansas libraries not on NExpress, request through the KLC. Outside Kansas, request through your local library!

In Pursuit of Library Elegance (KLA version)

I enjoyed this session so much at Computers in Libraries when Erica gave the presentation in DC, I came back for more at KLA! (You might want to read those notes first; my notes here may not give a complete recap, as this was the second time I’ve heard the presentation).

Presentation was given by Erica Reynolds and Matt Sapp (Johnson County Library system).

The book is “In Pursuit of Elegance: Why The Best Ideas Have Something Missing” by Matthew E. May

Speaks so much to where libraries are at right now. We hope for change….

“Because without a new way of viewing the world we will most assuredly succumb to employing the same kinds of thinking that created so many of our problems in the first place….” — Matthew May

“Because by nature we tend to add when we should subtract, and act when we should stop and think.” –Matthew May

Four key points in the book:

  1. Symmetry
  2. Seduction
  3. Subtraction
  4. Sustainability

Real power in his book and ideas are how to all these ideas relate and what do they mean and how can we come up with solutions.

This presentation is one big book talk and readers’ advisory

1. Symmetry:

Simple rules create effective order:

in libraries: circ rules. Streamline guidelines. John Wooden, fewer and fewer rules and nice guidelines. Rules should be simple and concrete and work across the system. “Rule ourselves to death”

Jackson Pollack painting. Richard Taylor, physicist. Analyzed Pollack’s paintings and found they were fractals. Pollack was painting in 1955. Fractals were discovered in 1975. Somehow Pollack was able to observe nature and paint what nature is, before the pattern was even discovered. Maybe that’s why pollack’s paintings are so attractive and appealing. He is painting nature, very much like treebrances move in wind.

How can we mirror that in libraries? Equations. E=mc(squared).

Just because something is complex, doesn’t mean it’s not elegant. Simple rules.

2. Seduction: Curiosity. What makes us want to dig in and learn more?

Venus Rising from the sea–a deception painting.

Libraries strive to serve curiosity. Reader’s Advisory displays to attract curious readers, to whet appetite to make people want to read or research more.

Limiting information creates intrigue. May doesn’t just say be seductive, he talks about how to do it. Give patrons just enough information to make them come back for more. Not overload them with information, kill them with information.

3. Subtraction: restraint and removal can increase impact and value. Picture of the letter E that’s not completed.

Work of Dutch Traffic Engineer Hans Monderman: there’s no painted lines, no street signs, no signs. To make traffic flow better in a busy intersection, he took out all traffic control. 20,000 people go through intersection each day, including bicyclists, pedestrians, cars. Fatalities significantly dropped.

When you take away things that told you what to do, you have to engage your brain. Should you go? Hit someone? Have to think.

Build library spaces — what do we need to take away that magically adds value and impact? (Learning Commons, Signs, Weeding, Desks?)

Thirty spokes share the wheel’s hub,
It is the centre hole that makes it useful.
Cut doors and windows for a room,
It is the holes which make it useful.
Therefore profit comes from what is there,
Usefulness from what is not there.

-??, Chinese proverb (missed the name)

4. Sustainability. What works across multiple libraries? We can’t work all 70 hrs a week.

Limited resources spark creativity and innovation.

Mohammed Bah Abba’s Pot within a pot cooking system. Nigeria. Food quickly spoiled. Lots of waste. Trying to sell products, disease happening. Girls had no time to go to school. Unsafe to be walking to market. Financial hardship.

The answer is refrigeration. But in Nigeria, couldn’t afford refrigeration and didn’t have electricity.

Had to build solution that required no electricity and would be simple to use and used local materials.

He created pots within pots. Filled the outer pot with wet river sand and covered it with a cloth. It was so hot, the heat would pull the moisture into the inner pot and cool the food enough for it to stay safe for weeks.

Girls go to school now. Disease dropped.

Made with: Clay. Sand. Cloth. Water.

How can hard times situation make libraries even better?

The creative tension at the center of elegance: achieving the maximum effect with the minimum effort.

How do you get to an elegant solution? What is optimal.

XI + I = X (which is wrong)

X + I = XI

IX + I = X

or ???

Moving one stick makes it correct. But is this optimal?

Flip over XI + I = X and it becomes X = I + IX. Happened in Zero moves. Just had to change perspective.

Thinking outside the box. First thing after seeing a problem, is don’t act. Observe and figure out what’s optimal, not what’s doable.

So many times in libraries, we think about what’s doable, not what’s optimal.

Don’t ask: What should we do?

Ask: What’s possible? What’s optimal? [Library eBooks???]

The really brilliant solution looks obvious in retrospect, but to get to it is difficult.

Key is getting out and enjoying your lives. We’re not going to come up with great ideas if we constantly work and never take breaks (comment: I saw a friend comment last night on Facebook about having writer’s block, going to the gym, and having two major breakthroughs in her research!)

Ideas come when working in gardens or on a walk.

The path to elegance:

  • resist the urge to act or add.
  • Observe
  • Ensure a diversity of opinions and expertise are heard when you are considering what’s possible and how to get there.
  • Carve out time to think and time to not think.
  • Get away from your devices.
  • Get some sleep
  • Get outside

Path isn’t to add more signs to a library….

If you’re always on a device, not giving brain time to relax and rest.


  • Archimedes’ discovered volume displacement during a bath
  • Einstein’s theory of special relativity came to him while daydreaming
  • Philo Farnsworth: first television while plowing
  • Richard Feynman – throwing a plate, theory of quantum electrodynamics.
  • JK Rowling was traveling on a train when the character Harry potter flashed in her mind.

We have to do the research, we have to read and do the work, but we should also rest.

Sit and not do anything. Watch a waterfall. Jump in mud puddles.

Specific elegant examples from Matt now about what JoCo Library is doing.

Public Computers

Want the Public computers to just work. All the time. Locking down worked, but when new technology and software came out, computers didn’t work anymore. Tax season. Silverlight. Flash. Pushing out updates, weren’t working. So they asked, why lock them down then?

So they stopped locking down the computers. (LOVE THIS — our approach at NEKLS already to library computers; DeepFreeze ’em, but not many other security settings!)

Service Desks at the branches

Information Services, youth desks, Circulation desks were separate.

Now, consolidating desks together. information services staff now roam. Patrons happier having needs met, and less staff needed. Roaming reference with iPads. Staff interacting more with patrons, learning more. Are able to do more with less staff due to funding cuts.

Self-check rename

Self-check stations vs. checkout names rename. Patrons don’t want to do it themselves, just by changing the name they now do it themselves. Hide the circ clerk games. Ha!

IT help desk

Help desk tickets weren’t standardized. Now, everything has to be emailed. One path, so people don’t lose tickets or go on vacation. Emergencies can still be called (how do you enforce this? If someone calls, it’s not important, do you say politely, please email that to the help desk?)

Communication improvements

New phone system installed. Do we just replace the phones? Or make major improvements to everything. Single phone number for whole system now. Upset patrons at first, because they couldn’t call their local library. By centralizing everything, phone calls were better dealt with and branches could better deal with in-person patrons, not answering the phones. Still struggling with this situation — too many phone calls.

Backroom circulation efficiences

Every branch is currently different. Consolidating processes and finding symmetry in the processes. This is in process.

Kids PCs area

some adults/teens still use that space. make it obvious that it’s a children’s section (different types of chairs, colors, etc.)

Other Ideas/Comments from the audience

Darien Library: does have a brand-new building and lots of money.

  • Bought a Surface. No rules set. No instructions. Kids just figured it out.
  • Concierge Desk, not circulation desk.
  • Reference desk is a table with a computer. Both at the table together at same level.

informal RA on badges.

Signs get a due date for community postings.

iPhone came with no manual. People still used it.

Bookdrop was blank and library had weird hours. Library hours were sprayed onto the bookdrop.

Libraries undercut easy solutions.

Library Swaps like Trading Spaces or House Swap — maybe this needs to happen!

No meeting room available in one library. So the kids room had shelving on wheels, and it would be moved out of the room while the programming would go on.

Weeding makes shelves useable. No one wants to read old moldy books. You now know your collection.

Graphic novel collection wasn’t circulating at a college library. Swung couch around so the books could be seen at a different angle and the books were suddenly seen and flew off the shelves.

Library spaces. Right design for spaces not always seen. What people see and what they don’t see.

Better utilize space just by adding windows, and adding shelves. Home locations vs. floating collections

End comment: I’m starting to read the book this week. I highly recommend it already! Erica did a pretty good job of convincing both audiences in Topeka and DC to read the book. Anyone else read it, starting to read it, or going to read it? And Erica, you should do more booktalks 🙂

Silent Library: Using MTV as library outreach programing

Presentation is available online through Prezi.

Presented by Heidi Blackburn, K-State University at Salina Libraries

Silent Library TV Show (MTV game show)

Lessons Learned

The library used the Silent Library TV show concept to market the library during the orientation week to just meet the librarians and know where the library was. Purpose wasn’t to go over services or provide instruction classes. This can be used in public libraries, too.

  1. Venue: think about your space. Selling the idea: Look for ways to tie into game nights, summer reading, freshman orientation, standalone teen night. Tie into interdepartmental relationships, collaboration, etc. Use the words donations and volunteers.
  2. Volunteers: volunteers helped get the donations for the event. A letter was available to give to community businesses; the businesses really liked this. Hand-deliver the letter, don’t mail it. They like it when you come in person. The library targeted getting donations from businesses that their target audience would frequent (freshman: Sonic, BBQ, Target, banks). Silent Library was also explained to the volunteers, for those who didn’t know what the Silent Library TV show was and what activities were coming during the event. People will be more comfortable helping out if they know what they’re getting themselves into. Library targeted volunteers from key campus staff for the event: academic advising, career services. For the public library: get teachers from schools, community members who interact with the target audience. Heidi had a checklist to get everything done.
  3. Verbalize: Waiver and assumption of risk form for people participating. Peer pressure got a lot of people to sign and participate. To campus: flyers around campus that showed who sponsored the event, the name of the program, and tiny print that said you’ll need to sign a waiver (the waiver text is what people read the most); moving weekend, handed out the flyers; flyers in the cafeteria and in the library. Advertise all the places for students to notice the event.

It was all about bragging rights. Make sure you have the floors covered in plastic. People were bringing things to do from the back throughout the entire event.

30 people participate and 50 people were in the audience. Teams came in already formed. Librarians didn’t test the events, but everyone had input on what would work and what was over-the-top.

You might want a cellphone or camera clause as part of this event, to not allow it to be filmed or have stipulations for what can and cannot be filmed.

Prizes and drawings held at the end. Judging who kept the most quiet — microphones didn’t work quiet so well. Put the plastic in all directions, including shelving.

Talk to faculty and volunteers and make sure they show up if they said they’d volunteer.

12 total challenges during the event. No one knew what challenge they were doing until it happened. Need lots of people to help to rotate the activities.

Captive audience. As activities were introduced, different campus people introduced themselves and led the challenges, just like a commercial. Several of the students who came to event know Heidi’s name and come in and say hi. It’s all about getting them in the door and knowing the librarians that are in the building.

Cost: out-of-pocket expenses, under $50. All the other materials, people donated (Pickle juice, peanut butter, etc.). Donations for prizes. Time and effort were the biggest costs.

Assessing the benefit: 29 students showed up to participate and 50 students showed up in the audience, on a campus of 600. Success just for people coming through the door. Feedback came anecdotally that night and the day after. People were saying things in the hallway or in the parking lot about the event.

Those viewing didn’t have to sign a waiver. Two orientation events were going on the same night — didn’t seem to conflict. People still showed up!

Presentation is available online through Prezi.

Naked in the Library presentation (on online security)

Liz Rea and I are giving a presentation tomorrow (Wednesday) at the 2011 Kansas Library Association conference. We constantly run into Internet security issues and questions at NEKLS, whether it’s through malware, phishing, fake anti-virus, bad passwords, clickjacking, or some other security behavior.

Talking about these topics can be boring or too technical, so we decided to give a humorous and hopefully memorable presentation on it all, beginning with the title of “Naked in the Library: Keeping your private information private, online”. The resources for this presentation are linked below. I hope you find them humorous and useful.

I know Liz and I have enjoyed trying to find creative ways to teach convoluted tech terms to our audience in memorable and useful ways. This was more fun than building our 2009 Cloud Computing presentation, and that one was quite memorable!

Our slides are available online at SlideShare.

The handout we’ll be going over during the presentation is available as a PDF.

The further resources page is available on the NEKLS website.