Monday, December 30, 2013

Amazing approval ratings for public libraries

We don't all work in public libraries, but this article from The Atlantic is an uplifting quick blurb about people's attitudes towards libraries and I'm sure that feeling is shared towards all good libraries!

Here's a library that got it wrong:  A library in Italy was "ransacked" by the director... of the library.  

But don't fret, here's a library that got it right: The British Library uploaded one million public domain pictures to Enjoy!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Making fun of catalogers

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a webinar on discovery layers. It was informative and interesting, but one comment caused my mind to wander.  In a discussion of metadata, one participant said that catalogers don't like any metadata that they didn't do themselves.

This got me wondering if catalogers are the subject of more jokes than other library specialties. It seems to me, without doing any research to back this up, that they are. And if that's true, why?  Do catalogers have some sort of aura that make them easy to poke fun at?  Or are they viewed as a breed apart? 

I definitely felt the otherness of catalogers early in my library career.  I was working in acquisitions in a large room that we shared with the cataloging staff.  Acquisitions folks were always admonished to keep the noise down so that The Catalogers (I always thought of it in caps) could concentrate.  This caused me, for awhile anyway, to view The Catalogers as somehow separate and different.  I got over that fairly quickly when one of The Catalogers kidnapped a stuffed basset hound that one of the reference librarians had at her desk and paraded gleefully through Tech Services. 

Has anyone else noticed lots of cataloging jokes? 

Libraries in the news


A super-late book is returned.  Thankfully, Cedar Mill is not trying to collect the dues.  Or issuing an
arrest warrant, as happens in some other states. 

Congratulations to the Garden Home Community Library for getting a four-star ranking from the Library Journal in their annual Index of Public Library Service!


Here's another interesting addition to a public library to continue to foster a sense of community.  Would you add an arcade video game to your library collection?

Monday, December 9, 2013

75 years ago today...

Proquest is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the use of microfilm in preserving and storing documents, particularly in libraries.  And how are they celebrating?  They've released a comic all about Eugene Powers, who in starting University Microfilms, Inc. became the *ahem* powerhouse behind this innovation.  You can read the comic here.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

LSSC Course Subsidies Announcement

Below is a new announcement issued by ALA-APA about course subsidies they are offering to LSSC candidates.  If you are a candidate in the program I want to encourage you to apply for one of 90 subsidies they will be awarding in January.  When I was going through the program I applied for and was awarded a subsidy.  I really appreciated it - not only did it help with costs, but it was also affirming to be supported in this way. 

The American Library Association-Allied Profession Association (ALA-APA) is excited to announce that theLibrary Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program will be offering $200 subsidies to 90 candidates to complete LSSC approved courses.  If the cost of the course is less than $200, the subsidy will cover the cost of the entire course minus materials such as books, etc. 

All LSSC candidates are eligible to receive a subsidy by completing an application form available at  ALA-APA will give first preference to those candidates who have not received a previous subsidy. Recipients will be chosen using a random selection process; ALA-APA will announce subsidy awards on January 6, 2014.

Recipients may use the subsidy for an LSCC-approved course in which they are currently enrolled as of November 25, 2013 or for any LSSC-approved course which ends before April 25, 2014. Candidates may not use the subsidy for approved courses that ended before November 25, 2013. A catalog of approved courses is available at  To receive the subsidy, recipients must add a Course Certification Certificate to their candidate record and send proof of course payment to LSSC. 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Associates Web

The lastest issue is out!  Check out Associates: The Electronic Library Support Staff Journal that is published three times a year and has contributions from LSS from around the world. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

LSSC Program updates

 Here's some recent info about the Library Support Staff Certification Program that was sent out by Ian Lashbrook of the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association. 

There is a lot going on in the American Library Association-Allied Professional Association’s  Library Support Staff Certification (LSSC) Program lately, which now has over 430 enrollees and 65 graduates!  We recently posted links of our two archived Conversations with Graduates webinars, which can also be helpful when learning about the program. Those can be found here:

·         2013, April 25  Conversations with Graduates (YouTube archived webinar)
·         2013, June 18  Conversations with Graduates (Adobe Connect webinar recording)

The October edition of Breaking News is now available! And finally, please take a look at our Facebook page if you haven’t already. We recently sent out Certified Library Support Staff pins that we had made for our current and future graduates and some of them have been kind enough to send in pictures of themselves sporting their new designation. If you have any questions regarding the LSSC Program, please email

American Library Association-Allied Professional Association
50 E Huron St
Chicago IL 60611-2795

Monday, August 26, 2013

A couple of sessions from the SSD 2013 conference

Thanks to Buzzy Nielsen for sharing these links:

Did you miss the OLA Support Staff Division conference on July 19th? Not to worry! You can check out the presentations and handouts of a couple of the sessions on Northwest Central (

Civility in the Workplace: Here, There, Anywhere
Presented by Mo Cole, Director, Oregon City Public Library

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting According to Oregon Law
Presented by Carrie Rasmussen, Deputy District Attorney, Hood River County

Friday, August 23, 2013

Libraries in the news

The Ted M. Natt Research Library in the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria was written up in the Oregonian.  It sounds like it would be a fascinating place both to work and research.  It also sounds like they've got their hands full cataloging!  Check out the article if for nothing else but the photos.

A library in Bend was evacuated because a bike lock looking remarkably like a hand grenade was found on the property.  It was possibly something like this.  But it never hurts to be safe.  Glad our Deschutes compatriots were not at all harmed.

Jackson County's Library Advisory Committee is backing a library funding proposal to create a library district

Hannon Library at Southern Oregon University is going to be cataloging... wine?  No, they are archiving historic documents of local wine makers.  Again, sounds like another interesting cataloging project.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Works Well With Others

Today we have a message from Susan Gilmont. It sounds like a great opportunity!

I don’t know how you folks are evaluated these days, but here’s a criterion that goes into my annual evaluation:

“Cooperative effort to achieve common goals; ability to work well with others”

Here’s a suggestion for a way to meet this goal:  join the SSD Continuing Education Committee.

If you’d like to meet and work with top-tier library employees from all over the state, this is the place.  If you’re looking for a growth experience, or to enhance your resume by showing how you can “work well with others,” then this is a good opportunity.  If you have a boss who is pushing you to expand your horizons, this could be the answer.  If you are just looking for a place to make a contribution, boy do we have a spot for you.

The Continuing Education Committee finds presenters for OLA and sponsors sessions there.  There are two flurries of activity around this – one in September, when we propose sessions, and one just before OLA.  Most meeting and planning is done by e-mail, calls or Skyping.  Easier than ever.

What it does for you:  I’ve been on this committee for a lot of years. It’s very energizing.  You find yourself looking at educational offerings in a whole new light:  would this speaker be good for OLA?  What sessions have I always wanted to see?  What do we all think about but nobody talks about (like money)? It turns you outward, makes you look around in a new way.  Very good for a person.  You have a reason to go to that workshop that made you curious.  It’s also justification for you to attend OLA, if you need something like OLA involvement to back up your attendance.

So, please consider joining us.  We’ll have a good time, and we’ll make a contribution.  If you are interested, please contact me at:  .

Monday, July 29, 2013

SSD Post Conference... post

new roundtable to 1st conf_Page_1A couple items:

We've had a flickr page since 2009 and a few photos from our most recent conference are up. You can see some of our old paperwork, too!

Mary Kay Dahlgreen wrote an entry on her blog about our conference and her favorite session of the day, but that the keynote was ho-hum. Um, what? We completely disagree, MKD. :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Iconic Oregon Library Cat Dies

Aggie, one of the many cats that have called libraries their home, passed away July 15th.  She originally came to the Willamina Library back in 1995 and moved out in 2010 to live with her adopted couple. You can read more about it in the article from KGW.

Friday, July 19, 2013

SSD 2013 Conference - A Day In the Life

Three Oregon support staff talk about what the heck they do all day...

3:01:14 PM Erich Peppler Circulation/Equipment/Volunteer Coordinator at Oregon State Library Talking Books and Braille Services.

3:02:02 PM 5300 patrons served, however that’s only 10% of the population that could use these services.

3:04:20 PM He oversees 2 Circ Techs

3:05:30 PM Circ has morning and afternoon processes – pulling things off shelves, sending address cards to print; sending out books, inspecting, check-in, mismatches, and shelving.

3:07:36 PM Tossing is how they sort – 1500 in 15 minutes?

3:08:27 PM Equipment – they have to upkeep the equipment – they have special players.

3:09:26 PM Volunteer  management takes the largest amount of time.

3:11:29 PM They have a partnership with Delta Gamma Sorority, who volunteer every year.

3:12:40 PM His days are different depending on whether school is in or out of session.

3:14:33 PM BARD – Braille and Audio Reading Download – patrons can access this 24/7 and download their own books!  A lot of patrons they serve have insomnia so it’s good they are available at 3am.

3:17:15 PM They want to RFID tag their books in the future.

3:19:01 PM WIPO has a treaty that’s going to share resources for the blind and visually impaired with other countries.

3:24:21 PM Turner Masland is up. He’s the Resource Sharing Supervisor at PSU Millar Library.

3:27:36 PM In charge of ILL, Summit, Local Paging (a sort of holds system), Faculty Delivery, and soon starting a Document Delivery (electronic delivery of document that haven’t been scanned).

3:30:40 PM Wow, their door count is over 1,000,000.

3:34:13 PM They page twice a day. Lots of packaging and shipping, too.

3:35:03 PM Turner usually deals with frustrated patrons – they move so many materials things get lost occasionally. He enjoys turning the frustration into satisfaction.

3:37:53 PM Electronic materials are only kept in the library for 30 days because of copyright issues, so it would not be

3:38:57 PM Kate Winsor, Operations Assistant (Do-er Of All) in Hood River Library.

3:43:42 PM It’s a live-action skit!

3:41:11 PM Two courier systems. External is Sage, and internal. They also serve the high school.

3:52:09 PM The skit was not live-bloggable, but so entertaining!

SSD 2013 Conference - Playing Well With Others

OLA SSD 2013 Conference
Session 2 – Playing Well with Others – Leigh Anne Jasheway

1:19:43 PM You create situations by how you communicate. Using a “humor moment” can create a better experience both for you and the other person.

1:21:21 PM Game: Three people say one word each to complete a sentence: What is the meaning of life?: The meaning of life is 42, but for the majority that is too simple, therefore, most agree that many diverse universal options are available.

1:23:49 PM How do you paint the Sistine Chapel?: Two thousand years ago flat paint was insufficient, therefore we creatively selected and bulbous multituted(?) paint so when the ceiling was painted, creatively, of course, Leonardo D. could not decide how He would choose what color so therefore he splattered paint texture crookedly, abstractedly, artistically, divinely, upon the bulbous multitutive, ceiling.

1:29:22 PM What does this teach us? Things don’t always go the way we want. There’s a lot of unspoken communication.

1:31:47 PM We believe things will go the way we expect, but there is misdirection. The graph looks like this: _/ Then we experience surprise, discomfort, stress, denial, impatience.

1:33:32 PM This is also the way jokes work - setup and punchline/misdirecton. Hmm…

1:39:39 PM 60% of things you worry about never happen.

1:40:37 PM Want to change the turning point of the graph that normally creates negative emotions into a comedy point.

1:46:48 PM Jasheway has a ton of funny stories! Pantyhose in skirts, spray tans on the elderly.

1:48:52 PM Another game, this one called World’s Worst. World’s Worst Ballerina. Wow! World’s Worst Astronaut. World’s Worst Plumber.  World’s Worst Dogwalker. World’s Worst Rap Band. Okay, that was *funny*!

1:54:02 PM That game is a really good highlight for how much perfectionism and expectations affect your life.

1:56:55 PM Choose to do something you’ll know you suck at.

1:58:59 PM You cannot take risks and achieve anything without failing along the way.

2:00:37 PM Next game: Two and Ten. One person talks in ten word sentences and the other person uses two. This is a hard game!

2:07:59 PM People have different styles of communication.

2:08:21 PM Next game: Poet From a Different Land. One person speaks complete gibberish, another interprets, the last person does an interpretive dance.

2:12:25 PM Make up your own gibberish words!

2:12:43 PM The point of that game was: Communication is not just what comes out of our mouths.

2:14:58 PM Next game: Telling a story one sentence at a time:

2:16:26 PM BRB!

2:25:08 PM This is great example of how life takes twists and turns that you can’t predict.

2:25:48 PM We either make ourselves happy or make ourselves miserable. The amount of work is the same. – Carlos Castaneda

SSD 2013 Conference - Book mending

1:55 PM 7/19/2013 19th Gateways Conference, Mountain View Room at the Hood River Inn

Carolee Harrison of Portland State University  has everyone  learning  to use an archival enclosure called the Kyle wrapper to preserve books that cannot be repaired.

Across the hall Carrie Rasmussen, Hood River County Deputy D.A. is walking us through the intricacies of the Mandatory Reporting laws.

It's always smooth sailing here in windy Hood River.  The journey continues for Support Staff...stay tuned.

SSD 2013 Conference - Becoming Better at Your Job

The first session of the day is Becoming Better at Your Job with Leigh Ann Jasheway. And yes, I felt really ironic live-blogging during this session.  - Rebecca

10:25:20 AM She’s the type of teen that lied about going to the library and told her parents she was actually going to a party. She’s one of us. ☺

10:28:20 AM And interesting story about the OLA conference in Bend 10 years ago, it involves bark falling out of pants, haha.

10:31:07 AM Male brains and female brains, boxes and bundle of copper wire. But! 10-15% of us have the opposite sex brain.

10:32:29 AM Female brain - every time you have a thought, you have an emotion. Male brain does not.

10:34:30 AM In addition to everything already in our brain, we now have to deal with technology.

10:39:57 AM Exercise: Turn to the person next to you and give two compliments and receive one. Laughing is natural because of the laughter/play response we humans have.

10:40:08 AM Or not - google “rats laughing”?

10:41:31 AM Sense of humor releases pressure. Letting off pressure allows you to relax and adapt.

10:43:47 AM 9 years ago, no facebook, 32 years ago, first personal computer. 45 years ago, partyline telephones. But somehow we’ve convinced ourselves technology is crucial.

10:45:55 AM Leigh Anne has some hilarious stories! They mostly involve bathrooms.

10:47:04 AM Haha, a description of cellphones à la 50 Shades of Grey - dominant and submissive contract.

10:47:46 AM Ack! Now we are exchanging cell phones! What! How uncomfortable are you. And now those people are giving phones to someone else. What is your anxiety level? AAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

10:49:48 AM Etch-A-Sketch texting!

10:50:22 AM More technology is better? Doesn’t work with cherries, either.

10:50:59 AM 55% of high school students spend less than 1 hr studying and more than 9 texting.

10:51:42 AM Emergency rooms now have code for walking and texting accidents.

10:52:43 AM Group juggling… brb!

11:03:15 AM That was completely chaotic – groups of 8 people juggling 5 scrunchies –you can’t choose which ball you drop in life.

11:04:43 AM People who thing they are the best at multi-tasking are the worst. Ie, texting and driving.

11:05:24 AM And who’s responsible for dropped scrunchies? You or the other person?

11:06:11 AM There’s a difference between amount of tasks you’re comfortable doing and capable of doing.

11:10:52 AM The more scrunchies to juggle, the faster it went. Slow down!

11:13:26 AM Lots of laughter when scrunchies are dropped. How often do we use laugh in our jobs when there’s failure?

11:14:37 AM Now we are singing!

11:17:11 AM The tongue-twister song occupied all of our brain. NO ONE was thinking about their stress.

11:18:51 AM Engage in something challenging that you can’t succeed at that is silly!

11:22:28 AM Laughing, jogging, standing on your head are best ways to get blood to your brain.

11:24:43 AM We lose REM sleep because we are thinking about technology?

11:25:03 AM Documentary “Crackberry’d”? 73% did not remember seeing a clown.
11:26:19 AM Our memories are getting worse. Our thinking is getting shallower. We’re less intelligent – email interruptions are more damaging than pot. Compassion and empathy decreasing.

OLA SSD 2013 Conference
11:29:10 AM Plus now the NSA is watching. With special NSA eyeball hat.

11:29:22 AM 67% people on dates check their cellphones.

11:30:35 AM How to turn off your brain. There’s 10, but here are a few:

11:30:46 AM Give your cellphone a time out. Did anything vitally important happen that you missed?

11:32:32 AM Pretend you’re on “That 70s Show” – only use that technology.

11:35:23 AM Get out in nature.

11:37:17 AM Don’t sleep with your cellphone.

11:38:26 AM Express your joy.

11:38:47 AM Go out with real friends once a week. (minus technology!)

11:39:08 AM Take improv class – makes you be present in the moment.

11:40:21 AM Instead of LOL, acutally laugh out loud.

11:45:42 AM Despite this topic, she does have a facebook page:

SSD 2013 Conference - Keynote

OLA SSD 2013 ConferenceThis year, we have Mary Kay Dahlgreen, the State (and stately) Librarian, as our keynote speaker...

9:08 AM And now for Mary Kay Dahlgreen.  One of her favorite events of the year. Ours, too. ☺

9:11 AM A reminder that the State Library exists! Established in 1905. It’s a beautiful library – go visit it. Mary has a very “modest” office on the 2nd floor.

9:12 AM She practices her stern and stately State Librarian look every morning.

9:15 AM Library Link of the Day is one of Mary Kay’s favorite site. Site was bemoaning the loss of quiet libraries. We are not quiet anymore. What does that look like?

9:16 AM Full service to self service.

9:18 AM Really moving from full service to providing options.

9:19 AM Libraries of Oregon is accessible by anyone in Oregon. So people who don’t have local library access now have it!

9:21 AM Intentional participation in and support of education systems. In last 20 years, we finally have evidence-based support of early learning benefits.

9:24 AM Dispersed impact vs. collective impact. Big advantages to working together and providing services to everybody.
9:26 AM Library2Go has been around 10 years?

9:29 AM Paper-based/physical vs. digital/virtual. Paper-based will be around for a while. But we have great digitization projects and Answerland

9:31 AM Traveling to library and fuzzy slipper service. Do both!

9:31 AM Modern reality.  People have a really traditional image of what’s available at libraries – including legislators. We’re not a bunch of old gals in long skirts shushing people. We have the responsibility to change that image.

9:33 AM Pew internet study of library usage?

9:39 AM Getting on the Colbert report is the pinnacle of success for libraries.

9:42 AM Biggest threat to libraries is the past, not the future.

9:42 AM Community gathering space vs. … community gathering space.

9:43 AM Libraries used to bring people to the world, now libraries bring communities to the world.

9:46 AM Closing remarks – libraries have never been more important. Be nimble!

9:49 AM What other libraries are doing similar to Deschutes who just added reciprocal counties? Some libraries have adopted Evergreen, Sage in Eastern Oregon.

9:52 AM Old courier systems: garbage trucks and bank couriers.

9:53 AM Will Passport system ever be adopted on state-wide basis? MK believes we can do that, but as opposed to early adopters, we would have to change a lot of systems, and overcome local politics.

10:01 AM A plea from Rea - PLEASE VOLUNTEER FOR OLA SSD! It’s really super simple to participate. Talk to anyone with Mardi Gras beads.

ETA: The last slide of Mary Kay's presentation was a little hard to read, so if you missed it, here it is:
"The mission is timeless. Some of the tools we use to execute the mission are evolving. If we honor the mission and embrace the tools, we'll be serving lifelong learning and American democracy for a long time." - Patrick Duke, Library Director, Wilsonville Public Library

SSD 2013 Conference - Opening remarks

8:55 AM Margaret’s up! Are we there yet? We’re here. Oops, session rooms left out of program. Day in the Life – Columbia Room. Tech Age – Riverview. Archival Enclosures - Mountain Room.

8:58 AM SSD staff is wearing Mardi Gras beads. No, not like that!

9:02 AM Buzzy closed all HR libraries so the entire staff could attend! Awesome!           

9:06 AM Hood River’s Mayor Arthur Belitz. Welcoming us to the 2nd 100 years of HR libraries.

9:07 AM He’s thrilled to have their library back - so are we!

SSD 2013 Conference - Opening

9:15 AM 7/19/2013 Hood River, Oregon 19th Gateways Conference “Are we there yet?”
It is a beautiful day  here in the Columbia Gorge with Keynote speaker MaryKay Dahlgreen State Librarian, speaking about the journey for libraries and library staff, including from full service to self-service...

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 SSD Conference on Friday!

Beach Library, Albena Resort, Bulgaria
Our summer conference is just days away.  Stay tuned here for live blogging of our conference.  Watch twitter for the hashtag #SSD2013 (Since this is the same tag as Senior Skip Day and Salatiga Slaughter Day(!), it may change. We'll let you know.), and this space for any last minute updates or changes.

We hope to see you there!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Library Technology News

The library mobile app company Boopsie for Libraries introduced multilingual functionality at the end of June. It's an app that public and academic libraries use for their mobile needs and it allows patrons to "search the library's catalog, locate branches, ask a librarian questions, view a calendar of events and check out books on their mobile devices with just the click of a button."

Monday, July 1, 2013

Abandoning Dewey Decimal?

The Kent District Library in Kent County, Michigan has changed their cataloging system from Dewey Decimal to a more bookstore-style classification.   Melissa Wild will be talking about this more at the ALA Annual 2013 today. It sounds like the staff took this in stride, however I'd be curious to know how it affected shelvers/pages and shelving.  Does it slow it down or speed it up?  It seems efficient to keep all the same subjects in the same area, but I assume there was some sort of learning curve.

Did any of you attend ALA and get any more details?

Or have any of you in Oregon changed cataloging systems? How did it go?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strengthening your pinch grip, yea or nay?

Many of the library ergonomics guides tell you to avoid the pinch grip. But some people actually go out of their way to strengthen it! And consider it a distinctive feat of weight-lifting!

So should you use it or avoid it?

All the sources on the web have the exact same exercise for strengthening your pinch grip. Basically, get two of the plate-shaped weights, hold them together smooth sides out in a pinch grip by the rim, and hold for however many seconds.

I guess you could do this with books, but seriously, at the end of the day, I've had about all I can take of lifting books. And I would think that would just be adding to any repetitive stress injury potential you might have.

Have any of you out there tried to strengthen your pinch grip for shelving?

- Rebecca

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oregon Libraries in the News this week

 The Rockwood library, part of Multnomah County Libraries, "with the help of Volunteers of America and Catering for a Cause, ... will be offering hot lunches as part of the federal summer food program" to feed hungry kids. How amazing is that?

Does your library have unusual or innovative programs to help out the community?

Oregon City Library
The Oregon City Library, headed by Maureen Cole (also appearing at our conference this year),  is looking to expand in its current location. This has been an ongoing issue for several years. I think the most interesting thing is the Carnegie library was originally built to accommodate an expansion. What a forward-thinking idea! Let's all keep our fingers crossed for Oregon City.

How many Carnegie libraries are in Oregon? Do you work in one?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Five Tips for Creating Boundaries with Library Patrons

A while ago, I read about the horrible experiences Sarah Houghton has had at some conferences. While this post doesn't deal with anything near what she's dealt with, some of us may sometimes have problems creating boundaries with patrons in our everyday work.  I asked library customer service specialist extraordinaire Jennifer Steward if she had any helpful advice.  She certainly does! (Personally, I've found the "Do you have a library question?" to be really effective.) -Rebecca

 No, thank you/No/Stop

May have your phone number?  
Would you like some eel-eye candy?

Working with in a public library means talking with a large number of people everyday. Most of the time this is great. People ask great questions and we help help them use the library. Yay!

But sometimes the questions aren't so great. They can be personal, invasive and harassing and you just want to hide in the workroom. It is hard to do your job while hiding, so what can you do? 

1. Be prepared.
Instead of avoiding eye contact with everyone, be ready to deal with the small percentage of people who make things difficult. If being assertive is new to you, practice with someone you trust. End your sentences with periods, not question marks. OK? OK.

2. Start with "no, thank you."
"Would you like to see my scar?" "No, thank you." 
"Do you want to go to the movies tonight?" "No, thank you."

You were asked a question and you gave a polite answer. Done. Most people will accept your answer and move on. Yay!

3. Say "no" and mean it.
Sadly, some people won't accept a polite refusal. Boo! Then you have to be clear and redirect the conversation to a professional place.

"Tell me more about where you are from?" "No, thank you."
"Come on, tell me how many languages you speak?" "No. Do you have a library question?"

Someone who doesn't accept a "no, thank you" to personal questions graciously is not respecting standard social boundaries. You need a clear and simple message. "No." Do not apologize, make an excuse, or ask a question. You get to decide the boundaries of this conversation.

4. Say "stop" and get help.
If the person continues to pursue an intrusive conversation, be more direct. "Stop." Move away from this person and find a supervisor or other person to help you. If someone is violating social boundaries to the point where you have to say "stop", be aware and be safe.

"Do you want to go out?" No, thank you."
"Do you know you have pretty eyes?" No. Do you have a library question?"
"Why don't you want to talk to me?" "Stop."

5. Tell someone.
If you have an encounter with a patron who doesn't accept a "no, thank you", be sure to share what happened with your supervisor and co-workers. If this person violates social boundaries with you, it is likely this person is doing the same with other staff members. Supervisors need to know what happened so they can support staff and follow up with patrons.

Two last notes: 

"No, thank you" works great outside of work, too. 
"Would you like to contribute to this fundraiser?" "No, thank you."
"Would you like to sign up for that service?" "No, thank you."

Try. Practice. Master. These are the keys to being good at anything. Try different tones of voice until you find the no-nonsense "no, thank you" that works for you. Practice saying no thank you/no/stop with a friend. Master setting polite and professional boundaries. You will be great!

Friday, May 17, 2013

"Are We There Yet?"

Registration is now open for the annual conference on Friday, July 19th , 7:30-4:30, in beautiful Hood River, Oregon in the Columbia Gorge!

Register before June 20 and save $10 on registration fee!  Registration deadline is July 12, 2013. 
Take advantage of our special offers, such as:  4 attendees for the price of 3.  Or, if you’re traveling over 150 miles one way, apply for a $50 travel assistance scholarship. 

Visit the website for more details. 

Are We There Yet?  Come and find out this July, along with State Librarian, Mary Kay Dahlgreen; renowned presenter Leigh Anne Jasheway; Maureen Cole, Director of Oregon City Library, and exciting sessions presented by Support Staff from around the state!
Register here.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are You Ready?

The annual SSD conference is coming faster than you think - July 19th is only about 2 months away!
From special guest to outstanding Keynote to exciting sessions tailored just for you as support staff this is a definite "don't miss". 
Beautiful Hood River in the Columbia Gorge awaits with its views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams, as well as wineries, brew pubs, shopping, and sailing.
The Hood River Inn is the site for the conference, located on the Columbia River.
Come to learn, with sessions on archival book covers, A Day in the Life of a Library Assistant, Reader's Advisory, and two sessions by renowned comedic presenter Leigh Anne Jasheway;  find out about Mandatory Reporting,  join Maureen Cole in a discussion on Civility, attain wisdom with laughter from State Librarian Mary Kay Dahlgreen.  Come to network with your peers from around the state - it's going to be a blast!

Online Registration opening soon at  Scholarships, discounts, and incentives will be available.  We want all of you there!

Monday, April 29, 2013

World's tiniest books

Joshua Bright for The New York Times

I couldn't resist posting about this. Have you ever seen such adorable books? The books described in this article about a serious collector are: "By definition, miniature books are properly printed and bound, and for the most part no larger than three inches."  I think shelving them would present the average shelver with a whole new set of ergonomic challenges.

The National Medal for Museum and Library service has been announced. Libraries in our northern and southern neighboring states are included in the list of honorees. Congrats!

The 2013 Conference page has been updated!  Check it out. We have a lot of financial incentives again this year.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What We Owe Donetta Sheffold

Donetta Sheffold, founder of SSD, is retiring from her job at Oregon State University at the end of April.  When I read Susan Gilmont's post on the SSD email list yesterday, I remembered an afternoon long ago - in the last century, in fact!

At the 1991 Oregon Library Association conference in Ashland, in a room overcrowded with interested folks, Donetta asked this question:  Should there be a unit of OLA dedicated to the interests of support staff?  The answer was a resounding yes!  The next year, the Library Support Staff Round Table was born, eventually becoming the Support Staff Division.

Through the years, LSSRT and SSD have had many leaders, and Donetta eventually left her job at the OSU library to work in another department.  But I'm pretty sure that, without Donetta's vision and leadership, SSD wouldn't be here today.  It seems obvious now that support staff are a vital part of libraries, and thus of OLA.  It frequently takes someone with vision and drive to notice the obvious and do something about it.  That's what Donetta did for library support staff in Oregon.

My library life has been much richer, not to mention more fun, because of Donetta's vision.  I'm sure that's true for many others.

So hats off, and best wishes for a wonderful retirement, to Donetta!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Library news and ergonomics and slides

This article about crowdfunding is a pretty good answer to the question in one of our previous posts about funding libraries. There are a few other options besides and it's interesting to see what results people got or didn't get.

Here's a great online course from the University System of Georgia all about library ergonomics that gives more information about what happens when you use your body incorrectly, and makes you pay attention with sporadic quizzes throughout.

You've all seen the library slide by now, right?

Monday, April 15, 2013

Four ways to celebrate National Library Workers Day!

Tomorrow, Tuesday April 16th, 2013, is National Library Workers Day!  What is that, you ask?  It's been happening every April since 2003, and the ALA website states: it is "a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers."

Over at ALA website for NLWD, you can:
  1. Find a lovely poster, which conveniently fits on an 8.5"x11" piece of paper
  2. Be inspired by a ton of ideas for celebrations
  3. Submit a star (Oregon is sadly lacking in this department, dear readers!)
  4. Talk about pay equity

So, fellow Oregonian Support Staffers, do you celebration National Library Workers Day? If so, what do you do to observe this spectacular day?

And don't forget to shoot a star at a fellow support staffer!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Associates latest issue and a question

The new "Associates" is out for the first part of 2013.  There are articles about the Library Journal Paraprofessional of the Year Laura Poe, certification in Massachusetts, volunteers in the library, spotlights on a couple paraprofessionals and more. Associates is a worldwide journal for library support staff. Check it out!

 There's a kickstarter project to create libraries in Africa. What do you think of this creative way to finance a library? Do you see this kind of technology/social media changing the way your library is funded in the future?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Hello RDA, Good-bye Dept.

Few things in the library world in recent years are as big a deal is Resource Description and Access, better known as RDA.  It may be of more interest to catalogers at this point than anyone else, but if you use a library catalog, you'll eventually notice RDA. 

One change RDA makes is to eliminate all those abbreviations that bibliographic records are full of.  Earlier cataloging rules required abbreviations in order to fit as much information as possible on a 3" x 5" catalog card. With a few exceptions (and I'm not a cataloger, so I don't remember what they are), RDA records have all words spelled out.

Since I work primarily with government documents, this has a big impact on me.  For all of my gov docs career, I've been happily using "dept." instead of "department".  During a period when I was (1) doing quite a bit of cataloging and (2) didn't have a mortgage, I had to pay some additional taxes at tax time.  I duly made my check payable to "Oregon.  Dept. of Revenue", which at that time was the correct heading. 

I actually think RDA, while it has some confusing aspects, is a long-overdue update to cataloging rules.  It should make our catalogs more user-friendly and thus enhance access to our collections.

At the State Library, where I work, the head of cataloging switched our author and subject headings from "dept." to "department" yesterday.  It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to make the switch myself!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Ten useful stretches for library workers

Yes, it's that time again. Have you been stretching and breathing and drinking water? Good.

Here's another source for "stretches...useful for workers who complete assembly tasks, like library workers". We assemble books on shelves! And other materials, of course. Avengers assemble!

 So the folks at nclpa have an Ergonomic Exercise PDF (originally from UCLA ergonomics) that has upper body stretches starting on page five. Remember also to be careful that you don't stretch beyond what you are capable of. Sharp pain is usually a good indication of that, to state the obvious; stretching pain has been described as a slight "stinging in the muscle".

Monday, March 11, 2013

Libaries in the news this week: What's unique about your collection?

We start off with a beautiful visualization of catalog searches from the entire state of Wyoming.
Filament Mind from yongjulee on Vimeo.

You can read more about this unique installation in the Wired article Massive Fiber-Optic Installation Lights Up Library Queries.

Public libraries around the country are adding some creative check-out options to their collections: Libraries offer weird things to draw new borrowers. I wouldn't necessarily call these "weird", just... new. Multnomah County is one of the libraries in Oregon offering the "Kill-O-Watt" meter to measure energy usage.  What does your library offer that might be considered "weird" by the uninitiated-to-libraries people? Please tell me there is a library in Oregon that checks out seeds.

And finally, a couple congratulations:
First to the folks at the Broad Channel Library, which just reopened after being wrecked by Sandy,
And second to Paralibrarian of the Year 2013: Laura Poe.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Latest Kindle iOS deletes your library

You may have heard by now, but in case you haven't, the Kindle for iOS app update (3.6.1) for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch deletes libraries and saved settings in iThing. 

Amazon issued this statement:
We have identified an issue with the app update that may cause your app to become deregistered. To register, enter your Amazon account e-mail address and password and all your Amazon content will be available in the cloud. We have submitted an update fix for this issue and are working with Apple to release.
And as of today, there's an even newer version of the app (3.6.2), which still doesn't seem to have fixed the above issue, based on user comments

Fortunately, all the information is stored in the Cloud, but restoring massive amounts of books, movies, and TV episodes can be a painful undertaking. 

Pass this along to your patrons with Amazon's Kindle app!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Your Best Customer Service

Today's post comes to us from Patti Vincent at Multnomah County Library. Patti was one-half of the customer service duo presenting "Internal Customer Service - Support Staff Working Together" at our conference last year.


Excellent Service... When it's ALL about YOU:

No doubt, our own personal mindset can make a huge impact on the quality of our service.  That's why excellent customer service starts with taking great care of ourselves.  We can pamper our minds and bodies by getting enough quality sleep, balancing our diet and exercising regularly.

Still, there are moments in the day we all need a little pick-me-up.  Instead of grabbing another cup of coffee or a piece of chocolate, try a refreshing glass of water and a few calm cleansing breaths.  Even better, grab a quick walk outside to get the blood flowing.  You may be surprised how quickly you are feeling back in the swing.

Excellent Service... When it's NOT all about YOU:

Even our best selves can be tripped up by someone having their own bad day.  Check your own behavior, take another calming breath and remember QTIP = Quit Taking it Personally.   

I remember a regular customer who always seemed to be in such an incredibly bad mood all the time.  One day her husband called to ask about a book for himself.  As our conversation closed, he took a moment to thank me and the rest of our staff for being consistently nice to his wife.  "She's been sick and is in chronic pain.  Going to the library is the only trip she makes out of the house. I know she can be difficult, I just wanted you to know why."   

We don't always get the back story.  We can't read minds.  But if we can keep focused on making each transaction positive, we may be making a difference greater than we'll ever know.