2015 Goals – Mid-year Update

It’s Oct. 21 – time for another progress report.

Here are my personal and/or library goals for 2015:

  • Replace the HVAC using our Keystone grant of $33,900, with the Township.
    Update: Install date in 4-6 weeks.  Now, we just need to figure out how to fix the Community Room HVAC!
  • Work with the Township and Board on our new lease.
    Update: Lease is done! Passed!  Working on the 2016 budget to see how we will manage this great space!
  • Support the growth of our Teen programs – work with the team to find new opportunities for programs, services, and collections for this important group.  They gave us really great ideas during the forums (like test-prep programs) and it’s now on us to make them happen!  The Teen Reading Lounge grant and program from the PHC that Jessica secured for us is a great start.
    Update: The Teen Reading Lounge grant has been extended through the end of the year with another $500 attached, so they will be doing some ceramic sculpting!  Jessica is our new Youth Services Associate, an expanded position.  Diane left us to teach, but I hope she may return for a 2016 Library Lab!
  • Launch an ESL Conversation Class and order/catalog the Foreign Fiction Collection, sponsored by the Friends.
    Update: The foreign fiction free lending library is still popular.  Abington Library has a strong literacy program and I am content to utilize their program.
  • Work with the Board to complete the Strategic Plan and then start using it to make decisions.
    Update: We are working on the Action Plan.
  • Raise Funds while having Fun – We have Lisa Scottoline booked, V. P. almost booked and have ideas for other fundraisers, like a beer tasting or olive oil tasting.  It’s time to secure sponsors.
    Update:  Lisa, Olive Lucy and the fall Appeal comes out later this month. We have Valerie Plame scheduled for our next author brunch at Philmont on Sunday, April 10.
  • Library Card Sign-up Month – this is a goal of Pam’s, which I support and want to help organize.
    Update: We have five business partners and represented the library at EVERY back to school night.
  • Sunday Hours – is it possible?  Can we get the necessary funds through sponsors?  Will anyone actually want to work on a Sunday afternoon?
    Update: Added this to the 2016 Budget, which we presented to the Township Oct. 6.  I hope my arguments were compelling enough to garner the extra financial support needed to make this strategic goal a reality.
  • Monthly Collection Development – review and order regularly.  Weed non-fiction and find quality replacements so there’s at least one book published after 2010 on the shelf.
    Update: Standing orders guarantee best-sellers arrive regularly.
  • Programming – book, promote, repeat.
    Update: Almost done with Fall.  If it’s a program the folks want, they show up!  I’m happy with our variety and breadth of programming.  Any more and we’ll face burn out.
  • Digitization and Archive project (this is a dream, but I’m putting it up here as are minder).  We should apply to participate in the Access PA Digital Repository, scan our old photos and provide access to them online before carefully storing them in accordance with accepted archiving practices.
    Update: We now have a small flatbed scanner out in the public as a ‘scanning station’ and discussed this dream at the Budget presentation – there are some history-loving Commissioners…
  • Develop Staff Tech Competencies CE program using the Ephrata model.  We’re good, but can always learn more about technology.
    Update: Pam created a fun true/false quiz that will help us assess staff knowledge at this point and should help with a training plan.
  • Staff want to have the Finch Program – a fun robotics program for grade-schoolers.
    Update: Asked the Friends for a Learning Lab with laptops and iPads for 2016!
  • EITC Grant for Summer Reading Program in 2016.  Hatboro has done very well with this grant and now that I know about it, I want to see if we can benefit, as well.
    Update: Still on my radar.


  • Move Web site to a Content Management System so staff can keep it up-to-date and merge the News Blog with the Web site.
    Update: We picked WordPress and this is on the calendar for winter break.
  • MCLINC Strategic Planning Committee.
    Update: I’ve enjoyed this process and getting to know some of the other librarians in the county better.
  • Improve the Browse-ability of the Collection.
    Update: Still need new signage.
  • Enhance the Friends Media Room (formerly called the multi-purpose or storytime room).
    Update: The Board voted to rename the room in honor of the Friends at the May Board meeting.  The new AV equipment will be installed in November.
  • Taste of Culture Fall Event, possibly with an Asian focus and feature a tasting of soups.
    Update: May have to postpone.

Who Archives the Web?

Full illustration by Peter Arkle seen at technologyreview.com article.

Laura sent us a long, but interesting, article today from MIT’s Technology Review about Jason Scott and the Archive Team – “Fire in the Library.” According to the article, “Scott is the top-hat-wearing impresario of the Archive Team, a loosely organized band of digital raiders who leap aboard failing websites just as they are about to go under and salvage whatever they can.”  So far, they’ve worked on poetry.com and GeoCities, and they list Splinder, MobileMe and FanFiction.net as active projects.   Anyway, the point to remember is that putting your stuff (photos, stories, diary entries, and documents) in the cloud means you are trusting that the Web site stays alive forever.  Obviously, that’s not the case.  Poetry.com and GeoCities both died, taking all that content with them.  The Archive team also has a new, loose connection to the Internet Archive, who is responsible for the awesome Way Back machine.  This wonderful site let’s me peek at the Tonganoxie Public Library Web site circa 2007, when I was still the director.

I used to upload photos and such to MySpace, but abandoned it for Facebook.  I tried to archive what I’d written, but it was so difficult that I gave up.  “When Google launched its social-networking service Google+ last June, it introduced a new feature called Takeout that would combine users’ posts and export the files for them.”  That is cool.  You can do this with Facebook, too:

  Remember in January 2010 when KLOW was hacked and we lost documents, photos, posts and such from most of our sites?  We learned. We back-up much better now…and make sure that the new Kete digital library is backed up, our file server is backed up and while it is uncertain if Google Docs will be around forever, we utilize that service and store stuff up there, too.  I do my best to have a PDF version of important G-docs on our file server, as well.  Redundancy is a good thing.  I learned that one the hard way when my first NEKLS Macbook was stolen in June 2010.

I know we preach the Joys of Cloud Computing and after my stolen laptop debacle, I was singing the praises of Facebook, Flickr and MySpace for saving my stuff.  However, if I put on my librarian hat and think like an archivist, I realize that we are ultimately responsible for our own data.  At NEKLS, we’re responsible for our stuff, plus a whole lot of other library’s stuff.  It’s weighty.  I’m glad that we host Northeast Kansas History and that it can be a redundant site for some of the cool stuff the Historical Society has on Kansas Memory.  A thought-provoking article and I must say I’m glad they’re out there taking risks, archiving sites and pushing the boundaries of Fair Use.

Depressing Thoughts on Digitization

We had our Copyright workshop today – Copyright Basics with Chris LeBeau, Assistant Teaching Professor for the University of Missouri’s School of Information Science and Learning Technologies – and we certainly learned A LOT.  Unfortunately as regards digital content, we mostly learned about what we can’t and shouldn’t do.

As one participant said, we were “depressed.”  But, rather than give up, it’s time to do what I do when I’m fuzzy about a topic.   Research, study, learn and do.

When some may say…’um, why didn’t you get your ducks in a row before jumping in with both feet?’…I say, where’s the fun in that?  I’m more of a cannonball and see where the ducks end up after the big splash kind of person.

So, in an effort to be a duck-arranger, I am making a list:

Step one – contact the fine folks in Nebraska who spoke at the Digitizing Hidden Collections Webinar and see if they’d be open to an informal Q & A session over Elluminate.  Their project – Nebraska Memories – is more like Kansas Memory in that they require primary source (high quality) materials.  Our project isn’t quite as, um…fussy (we are all about low quality, medium quality,  whatever-you-pull-out-of-that-shoebox quality).  I would still be interested in hearing how they tackled some of the issues we will tackle, as related to copyright and release forms, etc.

Step two – Set up a Google doc where we can share questions, concerns, ideas, and gripes.

Step three – Set up a Kete History Hipster’s mailing list.

Step four – Find, review, beg, borrow and steal (jk) release forms and participation agreements and whatever other legal bits of paper we need to cover our collective butts.

  • Also need to make sure that participants are reading through the Terms and Conditions, House Rules and everything else you can get to from the Kete’s About page.

Step five – See what’s already been added that may need to be removed.  This is one of those depressing bits.

Five easy steps, cake!

Digitizing Hidden Collections: Success Stories from Small and Medium-sized Digitization Projects

Webinar Archive | Original Nov. 2, 2011 | Based on OITP Perspectives paper “Digitizing Hidden Collections in Public Libraries, (pdf)” | Webinar and PPTs available Online

First Speaker – Erin Kinney, Wyoming State Library, discusses the Wyoming Newspaper Project (.pptx or .pdf)

  • Digitize all newspapers published in Wyoming from 1849-1922 and make the “easily accessible on the Internet.”
  • 8 million clippings and Master microfilm reels from the State Archive, got $940,000 from State gov in 2007.
  • Metadata workers provided by the State Historical society (hired 70 remote workers, $15/hr)
  • Use Archivalware by PTFS
  • Search terms help overcome some challenges of OCR text.
  • Huge storage requirements – 10 Tb server.
  • Looking for Orphan papers from dead towns and other hard-to-find papers.
Second Speaker – Larry Carey, Tompkins County Public Library, discusses the library’s local-history digitization initiative (.pptx or .pdf)
  • Local history collection one of the most-often used collections in the library.  2,400 items.  Heritage Quest and Ithaca Journal on microfilm – most used database.
  • Needed to learn about copyright law “Copyright in cultural institutions” (243 pages, but very good!)
  • Reviewed the collection and selected un-copyrighted books and post-1923 copyrighted books to find releases.  Obtained for 3 local publications…and 50 more from historical society.  Directories – also needed to copyright releases.
  • Cost to digitize themselves – too expensive.  Outsourced to a local business (90 minutes away).
  • Organizing the information – purchased Adobe software.  Also did their own Web site.
  • Four librarians required!
  • Digitized: Atlases, biographies, Birth/death records, Directories, narratives & memoirs, etc.
  • City Directories – very important, so went through the process of getting copyright releases.  Year-long search to obtain the releases!  Just trying to determine who owns the copyright took much investigating.  72 year old son of the last publisher “Manning Company” – learned that fire burned all the records. Happy to grant permission!
  • 230 books = 250,000 digitized pages, including 1864-1986 City Directories
  • Access has increased – 1,500 page views per month
  • Labor-intensive and technically difficult project.
  • Little libraries need to be set free of the technical challenges and expense.
  • Outsourcing?  Would universities and colleges take the lead?
Third Speaker – Beth Goble and Devra Dragos, Nebraska Library Commission, discusses The Nebraska Memories Project that provides access to important collections held by libraries and historical societies in Nebraska (.pptx or.pdf)
  • No one person can handle the project – Share the Work!
  • 5 people in 2 departments help with this project!
  • Background – Western Trails grant-funded digitization project.  Several workshops throughout the state, with continued popularity.  How do you make those digitized photos available to the public??
  • 2004 Shannon White – arranged a state-wide license to ContentDM software. Server maintained at Library Commission.  LSTA priority to digitization projects for a few years.
  • No newspapers for this project, but postcards and photos
  • Need Flexibility – ContentDM customized so much that the new version isn’t usable yet.
  • Great browsable topics and Locations map that cross collections – Our Kete Users Group needs to look at this.
  • Polley Music Library – grants helped pay staff time for digitizing. Learning opportunity
    • Scores and concert programs digitized as PDFs, but not OCR’d
    • Great for students and local history researchers
  • Partnership with Phelps County Historical Society – worked with local library
    • 1880’s to 1950’s photos
    • Metadata standards, with some customization
    • Rights Statement – and all participants have to prove copyright
  • Cheyenne County Historical Society and Museum –
    • Staff with a mobile scanning unit will scan 50 items for free
    • Cheyenne took advantage of this option
    • Created an Easy Metadata Form (GET A COPY)
    • Sometimes the form wasn’t filled out, but instead there was an interview, leading to interesting historical notes.
    • Write down the stories as soon as possible!
  • Be clear to share HOW long it takes to gather information and then digitize the item.
  • Butler County Gallery
    • Volunteers went above and beyond to gather additional information:
      • Rad local histories, census searches, Visited cemeteries, and interviewed older people of the community
      • Added these historical notes to the metadata
    • Promote their collection at Family reunions in the area!
    • Collection went up in 2005, still get emails with corrections and additional information after Family reunions.
  • Ongoing Promotion – conferences, webinars, reach out to librarians, Postcard take-aways
  • Weekly blog post highlighting something found in the archive
  • Work with teachers – 3rd and 4th graders have local history units.  Include lesson plans!
  • Includes  a short survey
  • Also used by reference librarians
  • Copyright, best practices, etc. on their About page and Background info and how-tos available, too.  The EZ metadata form is great!
Fourth speaker – Natalie Milbrodt, Project Manager for Queens Memory Project, discusses her recent work on a collaborative digitization project (.pptx or .pdf)
  • Tags or Comments? – Nebraska will add that feature when they upgrade ContentDM
  • Copyright Release form?  Larry drafted a personal letter rather than use a standard form.
  • Outsourcing v. In house?  Erin said their Wyoming project was so large that they outsourced from the start.  Devra – some libraries outsourced large maps, for example.  Up to the individual participants.  Natalie has an inhouse digitization lab – only 300 records and 1/2 were ‘born digital’.  They use the library’s digitization team of two.
  • Funding? – Thompkins uses their Library Foundation to locate additional money.
  • Mobile Lab – Scanabago…HP Laptop, HP ScanJet 8300, 1 Tb external harddrive, HP software built into the scanner, the files are brought back to the library commission and manipulated with Adobe Photoshop and converted to JPEG/PDF.
  • Metadata – who does it?  Nebraska recognizes that volunteers aren’t catalogers.  Ask for the basic information and then they make the data fit their standards.  Queens is creating skeleton records and using crowdsourcing to draw out additional information (Comments).
  • Standards – Federal Agency Digitization Guidelines Initiative

New posts and such

We’ve uploaded presentations/slides/notes for every event from Tech Day on the NEKLS blog, as of this morning. Check it out.  Watch a few of Dr. Wesch’s videos. I even posted my ‘raw’ notes for the kete presentation I gave.  Dan wrote a nice wrap-up post, too.  Can you tell he had fun playing with the featured image?  I did not live-blog the keynote. I was too busy listening.  I did blog Janet’s podcasting session and Brenda’s Google Fiber discussion.

Evaluations of Tech Day have been overwhelmingly positive and affirming.  Dr. Wesch was a huge hit and the breakout sessions were well-received, too.  Teri worked with catering to get a second lunch line set up, so even that part of the day got good reviews!  (Usually we have a slew of food complaints, but not this year!)  Thanks to Brenda for playing emcee for the day, so I could just stand there and try not to slouch 😉

This week, we also had an unexpected upgrade to Koha 3.5.006 (or whatever master is at now)…and I scrambled today to put together an overview.  One our librarians called in a panic about the missing “clear screen” button…which had been replaced by Mr. Owen Leonard with a much nicer “X” button box thingy.  Good work, Owen.  Mickey and I got to the bottom of it and hopefully, future upgrades won’t catch us by surprise!   Proud to say that three of the bug fixes/new features came straight from Liz and Heather reviewing and improving the Cataloging module.  I’m quite lucky to work with such a smart team.

Let’s get some digital policies

Liz has been busy setting up our Kete this week.  Working title: Northeast Kansas History.  (Thank you Joann and the Horowhenua Library Trust for working with  Katipo Communications, Ltd. to create Kete in the first place!)   Liz has been busy removing the New Zealand-specific language from the boiler plate policies and documentation.  Though, I love the ‘House Rules‘ and want to maintain the spirit of them, even if we add a few z’s and Americanize the spelling.  What works great for Kete Horowhenua may not work for a hodge-podge of libraries in NE Kansas.  With that in mind, I’m researching and in the process finding some great resources to help us develop policies, best practices and guides!

After some discussion, Liz and I compromised and decided to have two options for Creative Common Licensing of images/materials added to our NEKLS Kete project.  She favored complete open access and I wanted to provide an option that would be more welcome to artists and photographers who want to contribute to the digitization project.
Update on Rossville / KansasMemory grant:Adrienne and I managed to cobble together the grant application and get it delivered by the deadline.  We just need to wait and see if the fine folks at the Kansas Humanities Council like what we wrote and give us some money.  Then, Jaclyn can scan, describe and archive to her heart’s content.  We had to change around the voice of the application to be from Rossville – and Adrienne was great at sending all the moving prose I could hope to have!

Get Down and Digital

Have you seen this month’s Computers in Libraries? – it’s all about digitization.  While I have not yet read it cover-to-cover, I will.  Especially Jane Monson’s article, “What to Expect When You’re Digitizing: A primer for the solo digital librarian.”

  • Lesson 1: Accept Your Limitations
  • Lesson 2: Free Software Isn’t Really Free
  • Lesson 3: Seek Outside Funding Sources
  • Lesson 4: Start Small and Simple
  • Lesson 5: Learn to Juggle, and Establish a Backlog
  • Lesson 6: Get Creative About Collaboration
  • Lesson 7: Realize That Progress Will Be Slower Than You Expect

We are still discussing the best possible solution for our libraries – some who want a database of cemetery headstones (genealogy), others who want a no-frills database (to scan copies AND original photos), and some who are most interested in the user interface and having a local brand.  I’m toying with the idea of a parallel approach.  Work with the Kansas Historical Society and kansasmemory.org to preserve ‘unique’ and ‘fragile’ artifacts and also use one our spare servers to host a ‘knowledge basket’ like Joanne’s kete.  I envision everything and the dog photos going into a regional (or local or county-wide?) kete, with the really cool stuff going into kansamemory.org.  There are more hoops to jump with kansasmemory, but if a library has some artifacts of interest to a state-wide audience, I think the hassle would be justified.  Plus, Liz would get to learn about installing kete, an open source software developed by our friends at <katipo> over in New Zealand.  Have a look at Orlando Public’s “Orlando Memory” project.

Adrienne at the Rossville Community Library spent some time with me on Friday digging through her storage room, where we found the perfect set of original photos to use for a pilot.  She even has an HP scanner that has high enough resolution to work with either solution we end up using.  I’m also working with Tonganoxie, Lyndon and Atchison to get something going.  The hope/goal is to apply for a 2011 Heritage Grant from the Kansas Humanities Council.

Kete and Digital content

That’s Joann Ransom, Head of Libraries, Horowhenua Library Trust (read her blog).  I found her 7 minute interview with Kathryn Greenhill Inspiring AND right on track with what I heard from the IL keynote and Joan Frye Williams.  I love the part about the quilts and quilters and the story of the gentleman who knew all about farm equipment, but not computers, but still sat down and added detailed descriptions to Kete Horowhenua.

Kete Horowhenua – “A knowledge basket of images, audio, video and documents which are collected and catalogued by the community.”

Kete – Open Source software developed by Katipo, Communications

DigitalNZ – “DigitalNZ is an initiative that aims to make New Zealand digital content easy to find, share and use.”

Horowhenua Library Trust developed Koha and their shiny, new 3.2 Catalog is beautiful AND they have seamlessly integrated their Koha OPAC with the the Library’s Web page.  We’ll have to ask Chris Cormack more about that, he’s the developer at Catalyst IT (formerly with <katipo>).

Let’s get Digital

Notice my header – those are my “K-State Daisies” (Osteospermum) – they seem to like the fall weather, along with the sedum and marigolds.  Petunias like all seasons, except maybe winter.

I was late to a meeting with Michael Church on Thursday because I was listening to Nancy Pickard at Fall Assembly talk about how Kansas geography and monuments (Flint Hills/Castle Rock) inspire her stories – her newest was inspired by what’s UNDER Kansas in the Southeast corner — coal.  I had a friend from Pittsburg in High School and swam in her beloved ‘pits’ as a teen…she swears they cured acne.

Back to the meeting – I think it went well and I’m very exited about Kansas Memory.  I learned that I need to split Local history from Genealogy – they do local history and let Ancestry.com manage genealogy.  Also learned that librarians are well-suited for a digitization project with all that cataloging and assigning of ‘controlled vocabularies’ to images – we’re anal retentive like that.  Michael presented me with three pages of questions that I need to sit down and thoughtfully answer (and get help from my libraries to answer) before we proceed.  Do my librarians know about Kansas Memory?  Do they also confuse Local history and Genealogy?  Are they up to the challenge of scanning and describing hundreds of pictures and unique documents (aka ‘primary sources’)?  I hope so, but I should probably ask 😉

Article by Category

I renewed my Certification with the State Library and needed to prove that I complete at least 45 hours of continuing education.  Thank the Lord Above that I had this site, with copious notes for every CE-related event I’d been to since 2008 Internet Librarian.  So, I did some organizing and labeled all of my notes as “Conf Notes” and then nested the different event categories under that…including handheld librarian, IL, KLA, PLS fall retreat and various webinars.  What kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t have my web site cataloged?

Coming tomorrow: Fall Assembly with keynote Joan Frye-Williams.  Twitterpation.

Also meeting with Michael A. Church, Digital Initiatives Coordinator, at the Kansas Historical Society about a possible collaborative digitization project.  The KHS has Kansas Memories, a CMS they developed 5 years ago with grant funding.  I want to have our libraries add their old pictures, maps, headstones, etc. to that existing state-wide repository…and maybe help put some additional grant money towards a face-lift, while the KHS provides expertise and assistance with project planning.  There are some 2011 Heritage Grants from the Kansas Humanities Council that look promising (and that this kind of collaborative project would qualify for…especially if we focus on something specific, like digitizing cemetery records for Libraries X, Y and Z).  I’m stoked – I hope this works out for us.