Libraries of all types found ways to help their communities as they weathered Hurricane Sandy themselves. Some of the obvious solutions included:
- providing a warm and dry place to take shelter,
- distributing food and warm beverages,
- acting as distribution centers for emergency supplies,
- setting up charging stations for essential electronic devices,
- creating “tech petting zoos” to occupy children of all ages,
- supplying entertainment in the form of books, videos, audiotapes, and e-books,
- hosting additional children’s programs to occupy them while schools were closed,
- acting as “hoteling stations” to provide an office away from their workplace for displaced business people,
- providing information resources and workspace for students.
Even libraries without power found ways to serve their patrons. According to the Harborfields Public Library’s Facebook page, even though the library itself was closed, patrons were welcome to come use the “outdoor library” comprising of tables, outlets, wifi and, of course, books.
One of the more creative solutions was the Brooklyn Public Library’s bookmobile distribution of supplies to residents in Coney Island and Red Hook in Brooklyn. Their community outreach included a children’s book “The Great Storm and Flood Recovery” by the Mentor Research Institute, in both English and Spanish, to help children cope with the effect of the hurricane and its damage on their homes, families and their own lives.
A resourceful library advocate, Kathy Dempsey of Libraries Are Essential, assembled and staffed a makeshift library at one of the Medford, New Jersey local shelters. She made available a variety of material ranging from science textbooks, romance novels, poetry and children’s books to magazines and holiday gift catalogs for families who took shelter at the Chairville Elementary School in Medford. In Kathy’s words,
While this little makeshift library was not an official part of the operation… the reading material helped displaced, worried residents pass the time: libraries FTW, again!
For current status of libraries in New Jersey, check: Hurricane Sandy’s Effect on NJ Libraries
For disaster recovery assistance in New York City, check: Hurricane Sandy Recovery Information
Ways to donate funds to help New Jersey and New York libraries affected by Hurricane Sandy are found at:
Helping United States Libraries After Disasters – American Library Association
Library Disaster Relief Fund – New York Library Association
Rebuilding New Jersey’s Libraries – New Jersey Library Association
Additional media stories on how libraries were affected by Hurricane Sandy:
New York City Libraries Relatively Unscathed; New Jersey Still Taking Stock – Library Journal
Libraries Weather the Superstorm – American Libraries
We’re in this Together, Helping After Sandy – The ‘M’ Word – Marketing Libraries
Needham Residents Without Power Invited to Charge at Library, Shower at YMCA – Needham Patch
Posts Tagged “Hurricane Sandy” – NY Public Library Tumblr
Libraries Respond to Hurricane Sandy, Offering Refuge, WiFi, and Services to Needy Communities – School Library Journal
Hurricane Sandy: Somerset County libraries open as warming, recharging and information spots – NJ.com
Brooklyn Public Library Bookmobiles Help with Hurricane Sandy Relief – Galleycat
A Little Storm Shelter Library – BoingBoing
Originally posted by myself on Wolper Information Services’ insight&outlook
CC courtesy of Beth Kanter
Mary Ellen Bates, in The C-Level Suite and You webinar sponsored by Springer last Thursday, spoke about how we, as information professionals, can show our worth to employers. Ms. Bates started off by tackling the challenge of proving the human component is just as important as the resources and tools needed in performing research. Computers and databases may be able to provide answers to your questions, but cannot offer insight or interpretations of those answers. Humans bring perspective and non-linear thinking, and info pros know what questions to ask to get the best results, even if the client doesn’t.
We are curious, neutral, persistent, analytical and perceptive.
These skills enable us to assess information for its relevancy. Resources and tools like computers are wonderful, but info pros function as high-end filters.
Explaining what we do can also be a challenge, but one important goal is to emphasize terms that show value, rather than just stating a fact:
- “We search premium databases” -vs- “We bring perspective from the outside”
- “We provide research services” -vs- “We enable better decision making”
- “We are experts in finding and organizing information” -vs- “We make critical information findable”
In order to do this, though, we need to learn what’s really valued in our organizations by:
- Questioning all assumptions we have about our organization and its informational needs to see what we’re missing. Do I know my organization’s strategic goals?
- Asking clients to describe situations in which they couldn’t find the answer they needed, in order to ascertain their research habits and better help them in their search and to provide the resources that will give them what they need.
- Finding out if, after a trip to the information center, our clients feel like they have enough information, or maybe more than enough. Were their needs met?
- Listening for phrases like “I don’t know if you do this, but…” so we can help our clients to know that we’re capable of more than they may think.
- Soliciting input by asking clients:
“If you could change one thing about the information center, what would it be?”
To make the most out of a reference interview and have your client feeling that they’re getting the highest quality service and information, Ms. Bates suggests asking yourself:
- Do I understand the context and purpose of this project? Why are they asking? Why do they need this information? What will they do with it? How can I make it more valuable?
- Do I know what will happen to my deliverable? Will it be distributed to colleagues or used as sales or promotional materials?
- Do I know when I can stop? What is good enough?
- If I can’t find exactly that, what would be second best? Find out not what they think the answer should look like, but what the answer is. What can I do to help my client accomplish that? How can I make it more valuable?
The presentation wrapped up with some questions info pros can ask themselves in preparing to prove their personal value:
- How am I reinventing myself?
- How can I move my professional comfort zone higher? — Have you given a speech? Led a group? Initiated a project?
- What am I to the bottom line? Am I overhead to be controlled or involved in generating revenue as strategic decision support?
- Am I selling what I have or what my clients need?
- Do I focus on effort or results?
- Do I track examples of my impact? What has changed as a result of my work?
- Am I visibly contributing to my organization’s goals?
- Where can I strategically expand? Who else in the organization depends on strategic information? Who is expanding into new areas? Who is on a high-level task force?
Last, but not least, Ms. Bates encouraged us all to:
Try new things… Just call it BETA!
Here are some resources for more information on Mary Ellen Bates and showing ROI of information services and professionals:
*Originally posted by myself on Wolper Information Services’ insight&outlook
“Primary motivation for librarians is job satisfaction and making a difference” – Maureen Sullivan, ALA President 2012-2013
**UPDATE: Deadline for public comment has been extended to July 18**
The purpose of PIE-J (Presentation and Identification of E-Journals) as a recommended practice is to encourage unification of how e-journals are described and identified in places like publishers’ websites, databases, and citations, as well as making e-journals more easily discoverable by standardizing the presentation of information like historical titles and accurate ISSNs by format.
The process of creating an official standard or recommended practice is a lengthy one. It begins with proposing a problem and getting approval by the NISO (National Information Standards Organization) Business Information Topic Committee to become a working group, followed by months, or even years, of meetings, research, writing, and re-writing. Once a working group is confident in the solidity of their proposal for a standard/recommended practice, they put a draft out for public comment. Currently, the PIE-J working group has a draft up for review and public comment until July 5, 2012.
PIE-J working group formed back in December of 2010, and was charged:
To develop a Recommended Practice that will provide guidance on the presentation and identification of e-journals, particularly in the areas of title presentation and bibliographic history, accurate use of the ISSN, and citation practice, that will assist publishers, platform providers, abstracting and indexing services, knowledgebase providers, aggregators, and other concerned parties in facilitating online discovery, identification, and access for the publications.
During the past two years, members of the working group have produced several publications explaining their mission, progress, and hopes for an outcome, which can be found on the PIE-J Workroom, along with the current draft recommended practice and comment form.
As summarized in the draft, the recommended guidelines resulting from the working group’s research are as follows:
- Retention of title and citation information under which articles were originally published.
- Display of title histories, including information relating to title changes and related metadata.
- Display of correct ISSN for different formats and for changed titles.
- Retention and display of vital publication information across the history of a journal, including publisher names; clear numbering and dates; editors, editorial boards and sponsoring organizations; and frequency of publication.
- Graphic design and inclusion of information that allows easy access to all content.
- Special considerations for retroactive digitization.
For more information or to offer your comments on the draft, please visit the PIE-J Workroom or join the interest group mailing list.
[Originally posted by myself on insight & outlook 6/20/12]
Defining our future is a task of participation, NOT representation
This is applicable on many levels in our society, but is from a post by Carl Grant summarizing his recent keynote at ALA Annual 2012. Carl asks librarians to take charge of our future and help develop the very tools we use to serve our communities.
This is something I have been trying to do for just about a year now and have found it quite intimidating. How do you become involved with something so large as a profession when just starting out? I’ve tried to focus my interests in hopes of finding smaller niches in the industry where I can be of service. I am following the dealings of LITA and have volunteered for my local SLA chapter. I’m very interested in standards and have been researching participation in NISO working groups, which is something that would have more of an impact.
I’m starting small, but once I become more comfortable within my own professional skin hopefully I can help to make a difference and shape the future of librarianship.
**UPDATED info below**
I’m not so sure… I’m a podcast junkie — I listen to hours upon hours of podcasts per week, I might even consider it an addiction. I’ve tried a few different apps for management and playback, and my favorite overall is BeyondPod on Android. When I decided to purchase a podcatcher for my iPad, I decided to go with Downcast and am generally satisfied with a few exceptions, but I have no major complaints. Once I saw that Apple had released the recently rumored Podcasts app, I had to give it a try. I’m not sold on it just yet, but it’s a good start.
Here’s what I was looking for:
- Subscriptions & single episode downloads
- Automatic downloads
- Library management
- Playlist functionality
Here’s what we got:
- Subscriptions – This was something major that was missing when using iTunes on the iPad previously. You were able to download single episodes, but all subscribing had to be done on a desktop version of iTunes. Finding podcasts from the catalog and subscribing, downloading or streaming episodes is quick and easy.
- Automatic downloads – As with desktop iTunes, you can now set automatic downloads. There doesn’t appear to be a way to schedule these for a certain time, nor does it indicate when the app will next check for new episodes, but better than manual downloads.
- Library management – HUGE disappointment here, you can add and delete podcasts from the catalog, but there is no way to view by category or even sync previously subscribed feeds from an Apple ID, which is particularly frustrating. **
- Playlists – As of right now there are no playlist options available. I would like to see Apple add this functionality later, sometimes I know I’m going to have a long travel day and it would be nice to just create a playlist that will just keep on going. **
- Top stations – This is a nice discovery feature where you can browse “top” podcasts by category, but there is nothing telling why feeds are included here (Are they top rated? Most downloaded/subscribed? Paid advertisements?). Also, those that do not have specialized album art do not have any information, even a title, available without going into the information screen, which is not a great from a UX/usability point of view.
- Playback management – Speed control, sleep timer, and sharing via email, Twitter and iMessage are available.
The discovery feature is something I may use, but in general I think I’ll stick with Downcast. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple adds more features or just keeps it basic, but I hope they beef the app up a bit. In the meantime, at least they gave some thought to the reel-to-reel aesthetic of the “Now Playing” screen, I guess?
You can import your podcasts via Apple ID, but everything needs to be synced via iTunes and a computer. Playlists are also able to be imported via iTunes, but there is no playlist management in the Podcasts app.
Posted in Tech
Tagged Apple, Podcast