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Category Archives: General
The solar event of the century is only a little over 6 days away–the 2017 Total Eclipse!
Just as a last blog post about the Eclipse before the big day, I wanted to point out an awesome video that I came across this past weekend.
One of the best, because it’s Nebraska specific, is the “movie trailer” below, produced by the Hyde Memorial Observatory in Lincoln:
So enjoy, have fun, and be safe!
The McGoogan Library of Medicine at University of Nebraska Medical Center has created a new Public Library Toolkit to support Nebraska public librarians in delivering consumer health information to their communities. The toolkit provides links to training resources for librarians, and state and local health statistics to help with program planning. It also provides websites for consumers that cover health and wellness, finding healthcare, financial assistance, and caregiver support.
McGoogan Library has been serving the consumer health information needs of Nebraska citizens for over 30 years. The library continues to seek opportunities to support and collaborate with public libraries. If you have feedback or suggestions for the toolkit, please contact Christian Minter, Community Engagement & Health Literacy Librarian at email@example.com or 402-559-7226.
New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for July 2017. Included are reports from the Nebraska Auditor of Public Accounts, annual reports and information guides from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and new books from the University of Nebraska Press, to name a few.
All items, except the books from the University of Nebraska Press, are available for immediate viewing and printing by clicking on the highlighted .pdf link.
Picture postcard of Farnam Street, East from 17th Street, Omaha, Nebraska. Approximate date early 1900s.
Picture postcard of the cattle pens, stockyards, South Omaha, Nebraska. Approximate date early 1900s.
Today marks the end of the Bibliostat tip series. We will focus on the federal question of capturing and reporting the number of Wi-Fi sessions your library has in the reporting period (your fiscal year). The idea behind this is that communities may lack areas providing free Wi-Fi, and the local public library often fills that gap. The difficulty lies with how to accurately capture this data, especially in smaller libraries that lack full time IT tech support. Real time technical solutions do exist, but for most these aren’t practical. Today I’ll offer you a simple potential solution to more accurately capture a representative sample of who is using your Wi-Fi. As most of you know, data for the public library survey is sometimes estimated from captured data from an “average week”. In other words, you take a representative sample during a typical time period (e.g. for the number of library visitors you count everyone during a week in the spring, summer, fall, and winter) and then you do a bit of math to get the reported annual figures.
So the question really is how you more accurately get this sample for Wi-Fi uses? And what about the kids in the parking lot that are using your Wi-Fi? Some libraries have taken to following people around to see if they have a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, and then recording that data (called an “observation estimate”), but who really wants to do that (and it might be more than a bit creepy depending on the circumstances). So here is another option. If you have an android or apple device (e.g. smartphone) capturing these representative samples just got a little easier and a little more accurate, but it does take a bit of work during your sample time period. First, you need to get an app that tells you what devices are connected to your Wi-Fi at a particular point in time. You could search the App Store (Apple) or the Play Store (Android) at length for network scanners or terms such as who is using my Wi-Fi, but I’ll give you a couple of apps that are available for free and work fairly well. These are Fing and EZ Net Scan. In no way am I endorsing these over others; these are just two examples. You should try some out and see what might fit your needs. Downloading these apps offers you the ability, when you are connected to the library Wi-Fi, to see all the other devices that are connected to the same Wi-Fi network. So ideally you would start at a particular point in time, write down the IP addresses for the connected devices, and then re-scan every so often (say every 15-30 minutes) to see if any new devices are connected, or if a device drops connections. Once you collect the data during the sample time period, you just do your math to get an annual figure. Worst case scenario is that you capture data for a typical day and then multiply by the number of days in a year you are open. Better case is that you take a sample for a defined time period, such as a typical day during each of the four seasons (spring, summer, winter, and fall). Shaka.
Jan was born in Corsicana, Texas and is a graduate of Corsicana High School. Jan then attended the University of Houston in London, study abroad program, and was able to travel throughout Europe and Great Britain studying French, Literature, and Architecture. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, she was en route to Peru to become an archaeologist but she opted for marriage and children instead. In 1990 she began working towards her MLS Degree at Texas Woman’s University in Denton while she was expecting her first child. She still has the signed poetry book given to her by one of her first children’s literature professors. She completed her degree in 1993. She found her way to librarianship by applying the same principle that brought her to anthropology, a desire to work in the community with cultural groups; a librarian could offer a great deal to all age groups and sectors.
As a young girl, Jan attended James L. Collins Catholic School in Corsicana which had its own thriving library. She read the Little House books and all the classic children’s titles. One of the first books that captured her heart was Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Her teacher read this book aloud to the class and from that time on, Jan was a captive library user. As a librarian, Jan has read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory many times and has used it for several book club discussions. As an adult reader, she lists the authors Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Diana Gabaldon as some of her favorite authors. Because she shares a birthday (June 6th) with Cynthia Rylant, and YA Authors Sara Dessen and V.C. Andrews, those are also favorites. Her favorite genre is historical fiction and will read anything history related regarding London and Europe. Jan describes a perfect day as one that is stormy outside while she reads inside next to a fireplace in a comfortable chair.
Jan has worked in various jobs from the library at Frito Lay to small publics and very large school districts in the states of Texas and Washington. Jan credits her director at Ennis, Texas Independent School District, Kay Weathers, for teaching her the nuts and bolts of librarianship. In 2010, Jan moved back to Texas and was contemplating Law School. She took paralegal courses for 2 years and volunteered for an Immigration and Bankruptcy Attorney at El Centro Community College in Dallas. This got her a position at L.G. Pinkston High School, a school with a Law Magnet Program, and later transferred to Skyline High School with 4,500 students.
How did Jan get to Nebraska? When she was 17 years old, she visited Scottsbluff with Pat Jolliffe, a dashing young pilot from Scottsbluff that she met at age 16, when he had attended flight school in Corsicana where his uncle was an aeronautics instructor. She knew that Scottsbluff was where she wanted to live when she saw the Wildcat Hills. Thirty-two years after their first meeting they reconnected, Jan and Pat were married this past December. She says she knows this is where she was always meant to be. As she says: “this area called my name.” Of course, she misses her family and friends who are still in Texas and also misses the euphemisms, most especially y’all which is properly, all y’all.
When Jan isn’t working in a library she enjoys tennis and is learning to play golf. She has 2 grandchildren and they are a big part of her life. She describes herself as an artsy-crafty person and loves to create photography books because they document history. She enjoys traveling and looks forward to someday returning to that Edwardian era home that doubled as her college/dorm in Maida Vale, west London.
Jan says the best thing about working in in a library is the relationships that you make with the people, not just the ones you work with but also with the patrons you serve. It can be babies through the older generation, and when you make connections, they’re for life. When you work in a library it’s always a new day, no two days are the same. It’s amazing you get paid to do this, it’s not a real job, it’s more of a lifestyle, it’s who you are. Welcome to Nebraska Jan!
Picture postcard of the Country Club, view from the golf grounds, Omaha, Nebr. Approximate date early 1900s.
Shaka. There are two more installments in this series of Bibliostat tips, and both will focus on library technology. Today we will take a look at internet connections and speed. There are two relevant questions: (1) What is the type of your internet connection; and (2) What is your download speed. For the type of your connection, if you don’t know, you will need to ask your internet service provider (ISP) to confirm. These are things like DSL, Cable, Fiber Optic, Satellite, etc. The trickier part to the survey is reporting your download speed, because there are a variety of factors that could affect your speed test. There are a number of different websites and online tools to measure your speed, but we like to recommend the NDT (Network Diagnostic Tool). Completing a test is easy by going to this site and clicking on “Start Test”. After a few minutes, a report will kick out that will tell you what your download speed is. A few things to keep in mind: It’s best to do a test at various times during an “average day”. If you only do one test or test at the same time every day, you are not likely to get an accurate sample of your actual speed. Also, try and perform tests both from your Wi-Fi and over a wired connection, as there might be some variance between the two. When you do multiple tests, report the average speed.
The takeaway from collecting this data on your end is that you have a more accurate picture of what speed you are offering compared to what you are actually paying for. Secondly, the speed tests might flag other network issues that you need to look into. For instance, if your wired speed is consistently 60 Mbps, and your Wi-Fi speed lags far behind that, then you might have issues that need to be investigated (such as your Wi-Fi router, it’s range, or some other issue). Finally, measuring your speed is helpful as a comparison tool; you can compare what your library offers compared to your peer libraries.
ALA opens application period for Libraries Ready to Code grants
The American Library Association (ALA) has opened the application period for grants to develop public and school library programming that promotes computer science (CS) and computational thinking (CT) among youth. 25-50 libraries will be selected to receive grants of up to $25,000 to design and implement youth coding programs that incorporate Ready to Code concepts. The Ready to Code project team will host an informational webinar on Tuesday, August 1, to supplement the detailed RFP and provide additional guidance to applicants. Interested applicants can RSVP to participate in the webinar at the RtC website. Proposal deadline is August 31, 2017,
The grant opportunity is the latest phase of the Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), sponsored by Google. For more information:
Picture postcard of the New City National Bank Building located at 16th and Harney Streets, Omaha, Nebr. Approximate date early 1900s.
Shaka. Today’s public library survey data collection tip (part 4) takes a look at library collections and databases (or “electronic collections”). For those of you who subscribe to local databases or have vendors other than Nebraska OverDrive, this can be a difficult task. But if you only have Nebraska OverDrive here’s the good news: We pull the data for those holdings and circulations and prefill it on your survey. Recently, the survey has been redesigned so that for eBooks, Audiobooks, and downloadable video you only report current holdings. No more of that eBooks added and deleted business.
On the survey there are sections for reporting eBooks, Audiobooks, downloadable video titles, and databases/electronic collections. If you subscribe to a service or have a vendor other than Nebraska OverDrive, how do you determine where to report that service/vendor and the number of uses? It depends, but the key question here is: Do the items circulate for a set period, or are they permanently retained by the patron? If they circulate for a set period, then you report in two areas: (1) the library collections portion of the survey (under eBooks, Audiobooks, and downloadable video); and (2) the circulation portion of the survey (adult or children’s). Sometimes, vendors offer a package of items that the library does not select, and that are paid for based on their selection by the patron. For these, you report the number of times the item was selected by the patron, both as holdings and circulation. Sometimes it can be difficult to ascertain whether or not the circulation was children’s or adult. If in doubt, or it isn’t clear, we suggest reporting it under the adult category.
If items are permanently retained by the patron, count each vendor as one local database and report the number of uses (generally this would be a download or a stream in the case of audio or video). Finally, our survey is set up for databases as a repeating group, so we first ask how many total local databases you subscribe to, then we ask you to name each one and report the number of times it was used. To illustrate, say that you have 3 local databases (Example: Zinio, Freegal, and Mango Languages). You first enter the name of the first database (Zinio), and then enter the number of times it was used, then click on Save, then click Add Group to enter the next database (Freegal) and its number of uses.
The countdown to the celestial event of the century continues…only 5 weeks, 4 days, 19 hrs, and 56 mins!
Is your library ready? In 39 days, on August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will sweep across the United States. The sight of the fully eclipsed Sun will be visible along a 70-mile-wide path arching from Oregon to South Carolina, and Nebraska will be one of the BEST places in the country to view it! Millions of people are expected to travel to this “path of totality” to watch as the moon entirely covers the face of the Sun.
To help your library prepare for this historic event, the Nebraska Library Commission is doing a series of blog posts about resources you can access for your Eclipse programs:
Part 3: Eclipse Programming and Activity Ideas for your Library
This NASA@ My Library Activity Guide will help library staff facilitate these sorting activities in large or small groups, with patrons from Pre-K to adult.
Using simple materials, participants explore the vast distance between the Earth and Moon and model how solar and lunar eclipses happen.
This is a lesson about size and scale, also called the Solar Pizza.
Use a long box or tube and other common materials to create a safe way to view the Sun.
Use a cereal box and other common materials to create a safe way to view the Sun.
Learners will use candy pieces and a cookie to make an accurate model of the Sun that they can eat.
Guest Speaker Talks
Connect with your local college or university astronomy department, science museum or high school science or astronomy teacher to see what they’re planning for the eclipse. Ask if someone could give a public talk about the eclipse.
Besides watching the eclipse, activities might include arts and crafts, providing handouts, and having local speakers.
Have fun checking out all the resources available, and stay tuned next week for Solar Eclipse Resources Part Four!
**Note for Nebraska Libraries:
The Nebraska Library Commission has received a shipment of Eclipse viewing glasses for free distribution:
- Only libraries that are hosting Eclipse events are eligible to receive free glasses
- Libraries are welcome to request and pick up glasses directly from the Library Commission in Lincoln.
- Regional Systems will have glasses available at upcoming meetings.
- Contact Mary Jo Ryan at the Nebraska Library Commission.
Picture postcard of the New Woodman of the World building located at 14th and Farnam Streets, Omaha, Nebr. Approximate date early 1900s.
Today we have part 3 in our public library survey data collection series. We will focus on expenditures. First off, for this survey you report what you actually spent in the listed categories. Most of the time, this is different than the amount that was budgeted. As such, your reported expenditures shouldn’t be nice round numbers, and should be at least slightly different than what you reported last year. A common issue that arises is the reporting of expenditures for employee benefits. The employee benefit expenditure includes things such as payments for health insurance and retirement, but also social security and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act). This is a bit confusing because FICA typically includes both Social Security and Medicare. In the category, you need to report all of these payments, and the only way it can be a $0 is if you are paid as an independent contractor. If that’s the case, and rarely but sometimes it is, then enter “librarian is paid as an independent contractor” in the note field on the survey because this will undoubtedly come up on an edit check. A few other items of note about expenditures:
- For library materials in electronic format, you report expenditures for eBooks, Audiobooks, e-serials (electronic journals), databases, electronic maps, downloadable videos, and pictures in electronic or digital format;
- Other materials expenditures includes physical items that aren’t books. These typically are DVD’s, CD’s, microfilm, and other things like cake pans, puzzles, games, puppets, toys, and art;
- Capital expenditures should match or come close to matching what you report in capital revenue. However, keep in mind that sometimes funds are allocated in the previous fiscal year, so the capital revenue was reported on last year’s survey even though the expenditure is reported on the current survey;
- Capital expenditures are “major one time projects”, and examples include: (a) site acquisitions; (b) new buildings; (c) additions to or renovation of library buildings; (d) furnishings, equipment, and initial book stock for new buildings, building additions, or building renovations; (e) library automation systems (initial purchase of); (f) new vehicles; and (g) other one-time major projects. Examples include new roofs, new carpet, new windows, sidewalks, etc.; and
- There sometimes is confusion about what to report as computer hardware, accessories, and software and “electronic access”. These are two different categories. For electronic access, you report maintenance or consortium fees association with your integrated library system or costs associated with accessing the internet. For the computer part (hardware, accessories, and software), you report items that are for both staff and public use.
New state agency publications have been received at the Nebraska Library Commission for June 2017. Included are Correctional Services reports, Economic Development reports, state Investments reports, and Workers’ Comp reports, to name a few.
Part 2 in our public library survey data collection series takes programming a step further, focusing specifically on children’s and young adult programs. Reporting these programs can be a bit tricky, mostly because of difficulty in determining which category to count the program. Taking into consideration the fact that some of these programs may overlap and actually draw persons from both the children’s and young adult age groups, you might need to make a determination of what category to put your program in based on the nature of the program. Specifically, what is the primary intended audience? Children (for purposes of this survey) are defined as persons age 11 and under. Young adults (for purposes of this survey) are defined as persons age 12 to 18. Here is your extended cheat sheet:
- Story times and summer reading events should be counted as programs;
- Do NOT count library services that are provided on a one-on-one basis (such as computer assistance or one-on-one homework help);
- Count programs that the library either sponsors or co-sponsors;
- Count programs even if they are held off-site (not at the library);
- If a program is offered in a series, count each program in the series (e.g. if you have a discussion group that meets 6 times, that counts as 6 programs); and
- IMPORTANT: For children’s program attendance – “Include adults who attend programs intended primarily for children.” And: For young adults – “Please count all patrons that attend the young adult programs regardless of age.”
The mission of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (NNLM) is to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health by providing all U.S. health professionals with equal access to biomedical information and improving the public’s access to information to enable them to make informed decisions about their health. The Program is coordinated by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and carried out through a nationwide network of health science libraries and information centers. To better serve these network libraries, health professionals, and public, there are NNLM Coordinators throughout the country providing outreach, training, and assistance and promoting free, open, and reliable resources from NLM and other reputable institutions. The Coordinator for the NNLM MidContinental Region is Annette Parde-Maass, serving Nebraska and supporting the bigger MidContinental Region (MCR).
What’s new with NNLM MCR:
The National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region (NNLM MCR) has introduced a number of new pieces this past year – new acronym (from NN/LM to NNLM), logos, website format, blog format, class registration system, webinar recordings on YouTube, cross-regional collaboration, twitter account, and even a staff change. As of July 1, Annette Parde-Maas will move to full-time Education and Outreach for NNLM MCR as Christian Minter transitions to a full-time position at UNMC’s McGoogan Library. Her focus will still include community outreach and you will likely still interact with her as she promotes UNMC’s Consumer Health Information Resource Service (CHIRS). While NNLM MCR will miss her, we are fortunate to continue to have her serving the state.
You might be wondering with all that change if anything has stayed the same. NNLM MCR still offers trainings, and it is easier than ever to sign up for sessions from other NNLM and NLM entities. For example, if you see an online course you want to take from the Greater Midwest Region (GMR), you can sign up for that. If you wish a course or webinar would be offered specifically for your institution and/or face-to-face in Nebraska, contact me. The Bringing Health Information to the Community (BHIC) blog may have a new look but the purpose is still the same. For member libraries, NNLM MCR offer various funding opportunities from Technology Improvement to Consumer Health and Disaster Information specializations certification. If you are not sure if your library is a member, check the Member Directory. If you were a member but need to renew, contact me for assistance. If you would like to join the network, check our Membership page. You can join as long you are providing health information through a library, information center, or other organization. Membership is free.
If you have questions, would like to schedule a training or site visit, or need a health information resource, please contact Annette Parde-Maass, and she will be happy to help:
NNLM MCR Education and Outreach Coordinator