Sharing new ideas, resources, knowledge and technology to keep abreast of new development in reference service field

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

That Elusive Future - it's still here!

The elusive future of school libraries is not going away. We keep seeing the signs...ebooks, kindles, nooks, learning commons, laptops, wifi, new classification systems, web 2.0 applications, new features on existing applications, etc., etc., etc. It is confusing with so much happening. Yesterday I received a link to this information:

As people rushed to fill their freshly unwrapped e-readers – one of the top-selling gadgets this festive season – the online retailer said sales at its electronic book store quickly overtook orders for physical books. Its own e-reader, the Kindle, is now the most popular gift in Amazon's history.
The full story is at
It makes us wonder what the future holds for school libraries and school librarians...more high school learning commons are appearing over the horizon. So what is the answer, if there is an answer, on the direction we should head in. Here are some thought provoking links to articles - by no means inclusive - on this topic.
An Adminitrators Guide to School Libraries - a good document to have handy as brief but smart guide to school libraries present and possible future.
Facilities of the future. The ideas of Doug Johnson and Rolf Ericson as applied to the future of school libraries and the way people find information.
Research from Library Research Service (LRS). Documents, forms, powerpoint shows, etc. Useful items for different purposes.
A series of New York Times articles on The Future of Reading: The Digital Librarian.
Powerpoint show on future possibel directions for libraries plus related powerpoint shows.
These links underscore some of the changes we face. We are in a state of great change on so many fronts that it seems nearly impossible to keep up with. I would like to hear what others think and feel about this.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

MassAnwers will go away on 12/31/2009

Due to budget constraints, MassAnswers will discontinue its service on December 31, 2009.
Worcester Public Library is planning to continue to offer a chat reference using QuestionPoint which is what MassAnswers has been using. We hope that we will get the new chat reference set up in early January 2010. I will send each library a new url as soon as I receive it.
Please prepare to take down any MassAnswers images and links from your library website or web pages by January 1, 2010.
Email me at if you have any questions.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


via Webmonkey by Scott Gilbertson on 12/17/09

OpenID, the single sign-on solution which allows you to use a unified identity across the web, now boasts one billion potential users. Providers like Google, Yahoo and WordPress have adopted the technology, providing nearly everyone on the web with easy access to an OpenID account.

OpenID lets you log in to your favorite website using only your e-mail address or a URL — your blog’s address, a profile page on a social network or your social network username/password. Using one of those identifiers, you can log in to any website or service where OpenID is welcome, saving you the trouble of having to keep track of dozens of account names and passwords. There are also companion technologies that help you automatically fill out a profile and connect you with your friends once you’re logged in to a new social website.

For a long time, OpenID was a fringe technology, and few large players supported it. In January 2008, Yahoo and AOL were the first major destination sites to host OpenID accounts. 2009 has seen everyone from Microsoft to Facebook to the U.S. Government embracing OpenID. In addition to the one billion accounts coming from OpenID providers, the OpenID foundation says that nearly 9 million websites will allow you to login using your OpenID credentials.

The short story is that OpenID is now well established on the web. But the story doesn’t end there.

Sadly, one billion potential users does not one billion users make. Many people with OpenID accounts remain blissfully unaware of OpenID and what it can do for them. OpenID also faces strong competition from proprietary ID solutions like those of Facebook or Twitter.

OpenID interfaces are another problem we’ve covered before — different sites use vastly different sign-in forms which has creates confusion for less-than-savvy web users. Couple that with Facebook’s far simpler Facebook Connect tools and you begin to see why OpenID doesn’t have one billion actual users.

The good news is that the OpenID Foundation and its partners have been working hard to streamline the login process and improve the usability of OpenID on those 9 million sites that accept OpenID.

We’re excited to see that what began as little more than a grassroots effort to solve the problem of remembering too many usernames and passwords, has turned into a massive, web-wide effort to create better, portable identity tools. So even if OpenID hasn’t seen the widespread adoption of other login systems, it certainly set the ball rolling among the web’s social networking technicians.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

World's Healthiest Foods

The holiday season is not the best time to ponder healthy eating.
However, New Year's resolutions are just around the corner. Diet, exercising, and eating well contribute to a healthy life style.The book complements the material on the website with innovative new ways to maximize the nutritional value of the World's Healthiest Foods and minimize preparation time using quick and easy recipes that anyone can make.There is a weekly newsletter on the web that is a reminder that good food can really be delicious.
Here's to a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Trivia and Confusion

Yule was originally the old Norse celebration of the winter solstice and some of the books published today with Yule in the title, such as

"Yule: a celebration of Light and Warmth" by Dorothy Morrison and

"The Fires of Yule" by Montague Whitsel deal with the pagan celebration instead of or in addition to the Christian holiday.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Early Fires and Fire Fighting in Worcester

This month as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragedy in which six Worcester fire fighters died, I‘d like to share a few words on the early history of firefighting in this city.

In 1675 the Reverend Increase Mather wrote, “’All the houses of Quonsuckamuck were burned to the ground” by native Americans fighting on the side of the great Wampanoag chief, King Philip. Fortunately, all the inhabitants of the infant settlement had long since fled, and there was no loss of life. Eventually, Quinsigamond ( a less distasteful and more common rendering of Worcester’s original name),was resettled and rebuilt. Worcester’s first catastrophic fire was far from its last, however. Throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries fire posed a continuous threat. Worcester appointed fire wardens to patrol the streets and assigned others to inspect potentially defective chimneys. The Worcester Fire Society, a private organization, was founded in 1793 , ostensibly to fight fires, although the social advantages of membership were much enjoyed by the many prominent residents who belonged. Money was allotted for the purchase of a fire engine in 1793, but it was not until 1835 that a publicly-funded full-time fire department was first established in Worcester, with nine engineers, three assistants, six hand engines and one hook and ladder truck. “This was fine equipment for a town of only 6,600 inhabitants” a nineteenth century commentator wrote. They would be needed. According to historian William Lincoln, there were 17 “disastrous” fires between 1836 and 1858, among them the School Street fire which is portrayed in a dramatic engraving available through Digital Treasures. On June 14th 1854, fire struck what was then Worcester’s most important factory complex, the Merrifield Building on Union Street. No lives were lost and construction on a new building commenced the next day. However, financial losses totaled a staggering half million dollars and 1,000 employees (out of a city-wide work force of approximately 10,000) were left without work. By that time, according to writer H.R Williamson, the”Worcester firemen had ceased to be a volunteer militia, and had become a standing army.”

The information above has been extracted from a rich body of material, including standard histories of Worcester by William Lincoln and Margaret Erskine, fire department annual reports, and delightful work entitled Fire Service of Worcester, published in 1887, which contains many illustrations in pen and ink of 19th century fire engines, fire houses, hoses, pumps, uniforms, and other items. All of these materials, while non circulating, are available for perusal at the Worcester Public Library.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The other side of MySpace: Media-based Marketing

Recently I presented the Worcester Public Library MySpace page in a CMRLS workshop dedicated to social networking. I found, in preparing for the workshop, that MySpace is a great way of reaching out to a generation saturated with media, and an unexpected way to train our minds to think outside the book. When we are already providing outreach, entertaining toddlers in storytime and performing over-the-top services for those in our communities who are in need...we need to stop complaining that no one appreciates what we do, and go advocate for ourselves! This is where MySpace can be one of the tools to ease our pain.

How many of you are drowning in flyers? Is this the most effective way to reach our patrons? With Myspace, you can post the exact same flyer where the patrons are: on the Internet. In order to advocate for the heavy use WPL gets, I have posted photographs of the long lines at the Circulation desk and added articles about the value of the library to our blog. Much like a web site, I have an RSS feed (see blog "Getting Your Tech On") to the EventKeeper list that continually updates our calendar of events.

There is plenty of room to incude our contact information, hours and mission statement. We are also using this virtual "real estate" to promote our databases, text reference service, Wi-Fi, new books, and of course programming for our blessed teen population.

We are doing this with design, we are doing this with pictures, slideshows, with video, with links, share clouds, apps, and widgets.

Tomorrow, I will be attending Basic Audio Production with Rick Levine. We will be integrating podcasting in the near future.

The thing about advocating for the library...for *our* libraries, is that no one will do it for you. We need to go forth and advocate! We need to use any tool, any media necessary. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and say, "You go grrl!"

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

There are a number of web 2.0 applications that are becoming common in educational settings. Blogs and wikis are becoming relativley commonplace and at my high school we have collaborated with teachers and students to have some classes create wikis for their reports and they have used other applications such as wordle and animoto to enliven their reports. The following link will open to a very interesting and elcectic list of wikis being used by educators. Take a look!
The following links are for new applications that educators might use.
Maybe some of these can be of use in your wikis or blogs. The students will love them!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Legal Reference Books

During my recent tour of the Worcester Law Library I was introduced to a legal publication house in Massachusetts called Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, Inc. The head librarian at the law library suggested that I consider their publications for a number of reasons. In any event, I went to their homepage and took a look at their offerings.

Two of the most frequently used texts at our library concern divorce law and landlord and tenant law. One of the books that I ordered from MCLE was the Massachusetts Family Law Sourcebook & Citator, 2009. The cost was $125.

The text comes with a CD ROM, subject index, and a table of contents. The table of contents, which is also a subject guide, notes, in addition, the appropriate chapter of the Massachusetts laws, regs, or US Code. While I can't list them all here it should be noted that the text covers all aspects of family law. Some of the more popular subjects include adoption, child support, marriage, divorce, child custody, abuse, desertion, guardian, and the protection and care of children.

The text not only covers Massachusetts law and regulations it also covers federal laws, internal revenue codes, court rules, and case digests. At the back of the text the publishers have inserted the current financial Child Support Guidelines (another frequently asked question). A second insert, at the front of the text, is a list of family and probate courts and the current fees for every kind of petition and application.

MCLE has managed to compile a whole library in one source. Patrons and staff will find this an easy and straightforward resource and I would recommend this text for all public libraries.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Getting your tech on

If you are wanting to stay on top of current technology, here are three sites to check regularly and "get your tech on."


All Tech Considered NPR

It is also fun to send feeds of articles to your own email. This simple video explains the tricky business of setting up an RSS feed.

>Video: RSS in Plain English


I first started using Shelfari while doing research for the Worcester Public Library MySpace page. When I pinched the idea from another library's teen MySpace page, I had no idea how robust the software is. According to the "Welcome to Shelfari" email, you can:

  • Add your favorite books from the Build my Bookshelf page

  • Review and rate your books on your Shelf

  • Add your friends from the My Friends page, and

  • Join or start a group from the My Groups page

Shelfari is easy to use. When you access your "shelf," you simply search for a book by title, author, or both. You can then add the book and choose the book cover. Eventually, the bookshelf visible by the public and your friends will look like this:

Also available, when you click on a book, are P2P (peer-to-peer) reviews and a discussion list. This format is an easy way to share books among friends or market your library's collection on your website. In MySpace you can use the search function of the Apps Gallery to add the Shelfari app. Right now, our teen librarian, Rezarta, is using our Shelfari app to promote new books in our Young Adult collection. Shelfari is a flexible and usable tool. One any librarian can add to her toolbox.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Free Reference Book?

This actually is a database I find very useful. It originated in book form, if you choose to purchase that format. As you browse through the paper edition, you'll discover series that you may not know existed.
How many times have you been asked about the Twilight series and can't remember? You can give the patron a printout of the titles in the order they were written, or photocopy a page for them.
Some authors like James Patterson have multiple series, which gets really confusing.
Not to fear! Each series is listed separately in the order written.
There is also a young adult edition.
Now a patron will never read a series out of order.
That is a big deal for those who must read in an orderly fashion, and not miss a thing.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Learning for Life...L4L

For anyone who isn't entirely clear on a recent development in school libraries it is hoped that the following information will provide a good picture:

National Plan for Implementation of Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media ProgramsThis implementation plan was created to support states, school systems, and individual schools preparing to implement the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.
The plan will also increase awareness and understanding of the learning standards and guidelines and create a committed group of stakeholders with a shared voice.Events NEW!L4L State CoordinatorsDownload the DocumentResourcesGet Involved!For questions about the implementation plan, please contact Jennifer Habley, Manager, Programs and Affiliate Relations, or at (800) 545-2433 x 4383.
AASL’s Learning 4 Life By Rocco Staino -- School Library Journal, 7/10/2008

Perhaps the title “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” wasn’t sexy enough. But the committee in charge of implementing the American Association of School Librarians’ new learning standards have chosen a catchier nickname: Learning 4 Life.
The announcement was unveiled at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Anaheim, CA, last week by Susan Ballard, chair of the committee and director of library media, and technology services at New Hampshire’s Londonderry School District.Standards for the 21st-Century Learner was unveiled in October during the AASL conference in Reno, NV. What exactly are they? They outline "what a student has to know and be able to do, and what a library media program has to look like for the student to achieve that," says Julie Walker, AASL's executive director.
Ballard explains that in order for school librarians to promote the standards to other teachers, administrators, and the broader education community, a new marketing and branding initiative was necessary.

Learning 4 Life was selected as the subtitle for the standards, and the words “learning” and “life” were selected because the standards include skills that are necessary for children to become information literate and productive members of our society, says AASL. The number 4 was purposely selected to represent the four areas identified in the standards, as well as the four subtopics in each area.

AASL, a division of ALA, will also consider including ALA’s longstanding advocacy slogan “@ your library” to the standards’ subtitle making it Leaning 4 Life @ your library.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Resources at the Worcester Law Library

Worcester Law Library
184 Main Street
Worcester, MA 01608

Telephone (508) 831-2525
Hours 8:00-4:30 Monday through Friday

"Ask a Librarian" - from their homepage you can take advantage of the online chat reference service Monday-Friday 8:30-4:30 and Wednesday: 5:00-7:00.

Legal questions can often be difficult and sometimes impossible to answer when library budgets do not allow us to purchase the necessary resources. The Trial Court Law Library here in Worcester has those resources. Patrons throughout Massachusetts can access those materials by walking into the library, calling, emailing, or making use of 24/7 online chat. If you choose to visit the library you will find five floors of easy to access materials and the staff to help.

The library has 11 public access computers, a typewriter, copy machines, and they are wireless. If you bring your own laptop you have the additional advantage of being able to print or email the materials to yourself. Through the Lexis and Westlaw databases you can find state and federal primary laws, the Lexis Mass Practice legal series, case law, family law, Mass Continuing Legal Education Series, primary law from other states, and NOLO online. Unfortunately, the Westlaw and Lexis databases do not have remote access.

Anyone who lives in the state of Massachusetts can obtain a library card, borrow a wide range of materials, and have access to the MLIN database. The loan period is two weeks and you can renew for another two weeks (primary sources are limited to overnight loans). Through their catalog you can also request books and other materials from affiliate libraries. If you are not comfortable using an online database you will find that all of the Massachusetts database materials are backed up in print.

You may find that the answers to your questions are available from their website. If you link to "Massachusetts Law About" the librarians have compiled a long list of frequently requested topics. Once you choose a topic you will find links to the appropriate Massachusetts laws, guidelines, regulations, executive orders, federal laws, federal regulations, and other web sources. The second great advantage is the link to legal forms, unique guidelines on where to file those forms, special applications, and other useful information. The librarians have also compiled a list of frequently asked legal questions that provide the answer and source materials.

The fifth floor of the library has three conference rooms that are available to the public. Two of the conference rooms hold 14 people and the third is suitable for 8 people. In addition, they also have a multi-media room, with a smart board, and long tables that accommodate laptops. The multi-media room holds from 27 to 35 people and is also available for booking. They ask that you try to book any of these rooms at least one month in advance. The only disadvantage is that availability is restricted to the hours of 8am and 4:15pm.

The Trial Court Law Library is a valuable resource that should not be overlooked.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Audiobooks with eBook included

I recently stumbled upon an audiobook edition of “Robinson Crusoe” that had a little “Includes eBook” banner on the cover. As this was something new to me I put the disc in the computer and sure enough a PDF file of the entire book opened up, including a how-to-use-this-book page. I got kind of excited about this feature thinking about all the possibilities.
It had been in the back of my mind to try and find out more about items like this when I saw that Tantor Audio, the producer of this version of “Robinson Crusoe,” had a booth at the recent NELA conference. So I visited the booth and told the rep how much I liked this new product and he handed me a catalog of Audio&eBook Classics with over 200 titles that they produce in this double format. On reviewing the catalog I saw that the PDF file is compatible with eReaders as well as PCs. He also gave me a copy of “David Copperfield” labeled “iPod Ready.” In this case the audiobook is encoded in MP3 format and is said to work with all MP3 players- although it will only play on CD and DVD players or computers that can play MP3 formatted discs. I believe that includes most equipment from the last few years.
The next step was to ascertain the best way to find items like this in CWMARS. If you know you want a classic title with the full audiobook and text the best way to find what’s out there is to start with an Advanced Keyword search and put in e-book as a keyword and choose or from the dropdown and put in ebook as a second keyword. Then choose Spoken CD as your Material Type and search in All Central MA Libraries. There are a few ringers in there, but some good hits. To see a slightly different batch of materials, try doing a similar search but put in PDF as your keyword.
Titles in this format really increase flexibility. Take it with you on your laptop or eReader. Increase the font size and read along while searching for specific words and characters. Or you can simply put it in your car’s CD player and listen as you drive to work!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Alliance Library System and LearningTimes Offer Handheld Librarian 2!

More people than 2000 people attended the first ever Handheld Librarian Conference in July 2009 which featured a wide array of collaboration, learning and networking activities focused on Mobile Library Services! The Handheld Librarian 2 will continue the dialog with a 2-day online conference scheduled for February 17-18, 2010 and is now accepting registrations at The program -- sponsored by Alliance Library System, and LearningTimes -- will include a series of wonderful keynote and featured speakers collection of available resources, discussions boards, and access to the recording of all live events for one year after the conference. More people than ever are using mobile devices for a wide variety of purposes including communication, internet access, text messaging, and entertainment. It is important that libraries provide mobile services as handheld use increases.
The conference will feature three exciting keynote talks:
· Joan K. Lippincott from the Coalition for Networked Information speaking about “Mobilizing Libraries for Today’s Students”
· Joe Murphy from Yale University speaking about “This is Now: The Mobile Library”
· Tom Peters of TAP Information Services, addressing “Morphing with Mobile”
Registration for the conference is $69 per individual or $119 for a group. LIS students can register for $29. LIS students need to contact Lori Bell, Alliance Library System, at for a coupon code to register for the $29.
“With the avalanche of new mobile devices and applications, the Handheld Librarian 2 online conference will be a golden opportunity for library land to cost effectively learn how to reach a whole new audience,” said Kitty Pope, ALS Executive Director.
The Handheld Librarian II will also include the real-life experiences of libraries and information professionals. We are now soliciting presentation proposals highlighting current, evolving and future issues in mobile library services. To submit a proposal for the conference, go to Proposals are due November 15 and you will be notified by January 1, 2010 if your proposal has been accepted.
For more information on the conference, go to the conference site at If you have questions, please contact John Walber at LearningTimes at or Lori Bell at Alliance Library System at

Thursday, October 15, 2009 to answer some concerns

Are you or your patrons concerned about the flu and its many variations -- H1N1, Bird, or seasonal? Your one-stop access to critical and reputable information is the web site

This site, managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has pulled together all the information from the White House, CDC, Homeland security, and the Department of Education, that you and your patrons need to answer any and all questions about the flu.

Whether it is a parents asking, a business person, or a caregiver, there are sections here for everyone, from flu symptoms to guidelines for small businesses, of what to do for the flu and in a pandemic.

Links to the state and local information are also available, such as the State’s Pandemic Plan. (MA: )
The only organization missing from this site is libraries and the specifics as to what libraries could do. However, guidelines as to what libraries across the commonwealth need to do, and prepare in case of a pandemic, are usually part of each community’s planning preparedness.

With webcasts, blogs, and all the 2.0 connections, you will be able to give your patrons this important health information whichever way they would like it.

The site is also available in Spanish, Chinese and Vietnamese.

Addendum: if you would like to get materials to distribute to your patrons, go to Protecting, Preparing, and Caring - for Yourself and Others . There you’ll find order forms. You can also download and print many of the other fact sheets. Note the variety of languages available.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Learning for Life...L4L

For anyone who isn't entirely clear on a recent development in school libraries it is hoped that the following information will provide a good picture:
National Plan for Implementation of Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs
This implementation plan was created to support states, school systems, and individual schools preparing to implement the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner and Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.

The plan will also increase awareness and understanding of the learning standards and guidelines and create a committed group of stakeholders with a shared voice.
Events NEW!
L4L State Coordinators
Download the Document
Get Involved!
For questions about the implementation plan, please contact Jennifer Habley, Manager, Programs and Affiliate Relations, or at (800) 545-2433 x 4383.

AASL’s Learning 4 Life
By Rocco Staino -- School Library Journal, 7/10/2008

Perhaps the title “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner” wasn’t sexy enough. But the committee in charge of implementing the American Association of School Librarians’ new learning standards have chosen a catchier nickname: Learning 4 Life.

The announcement was unveiled at the American Library Association’s (ALA) annual conference in Anaheim, CA, last week by Susan Ballard, chair of the committee and director of library media, and technology services at New Hampshire’s Londonderry School District.
Standards for the 21st-Century Learner was unveiled in October during the AASL conference in Reno, NV. What exactly are they? They outline "what a student has to know and be able to do, and what a library media program has to look like for the student to achieve that," says Julie Walker, AASL's executive director.

Ballard explains that in order for school librarians to promote the standards to other teachers, administrators, and the broader education community, a new marketing and branding initiative was necessary.

Learning 4 Life was selected as the subtitle for the standards, and the words “learning” and “life” were selected because the standards include skills that are necessary for children to become information literate and productive members of our society, says AASL. The number 4 was purposely selected to represent the four areas identified in the standards, as well as the four subtopics in each area.

AASL, a division of ALA, will also consider including ALA’s longstanding advocacy slogan “@ your library” to the standards’ subtitle making it Leaning 4 Life @ your library.

Project Laundry List - The Right to Dry

Using clotheslines and air-drying your clothes saves money and reduces your carbon footprint. Also, your clothes will last many seasons. Dryers use 10-15% of domestic energy in the U.S.

Clothing care symbol guide [electronic resource] /produced by the Federal Trade Commission as part of Project CLEAN.

Mendelson, Cheryl
Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes and Linens C.1999, 2005

This splendid guide to textile care will help you gain new skills.

Friday, October 09, 2009

RUSA Genealogy Workshop in Boston January 15th

As you know, the 2010 ALA Midwinter Meeting will be held Jan. 15-19 in Boston. On Friday the 15th, RUSA will host an all-day genealogy workshop at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. In addition to presenting basic genealogy research techniques, New England-specific resources will also be presented. The event includes lunch, sponsored by ProQuest, and a tour of the beautiful NEHGS facility.

All of the event details are located here:

This event would be perfect for any patrons who are seriously invested in researching their family history in New England ......

Important note: you do not have to register for the Midwinter Meeting in order to attend this genealogy event, and you do not have to be a member! Registration instructions are at

Liz F. Markel, M.A.
The American Library Association // 50 E. Huron Street // Chicago, IL 60611
800-545-2433 // p. 312-280-4398 // f. 312-280-5273 // e.
Find our divisions online at &

Handouts for "Real-Time Digital Reference: Chat and Beyond"

Handouts for "Real-Time Digital Reference: Chat and Beyond" are available online at

Thursday, October 08, 2009

CALL FOR PROPOSALS! Handheld Librarian II Online Conference – February 17 and 18, 2010!

THEME: Alliance Library System and LearningTimes invite librarians, library staff, vendors, graduate students, and developers to submit proposals for programs related to the topic of mobile library services for the online conference. Proposals are due November 1, 2009.

TOPICS: The Handheld Librarian II conference will feature interactive, live online sessions and links to recorded events following the conference. We are interested in a broad range of submissions that highlight current, evolving and future issues in mobile library services. These include but are not limited to the following themes:
· Ebooks and audiobooks
· Managing mobile content: eBooks, Journals, video and more
· Mobilizing the library: web presence, OPACs, databases and other electronic resources
· Promoting mobile services and using mobile devices to promote traditional library services
· Information security on mobile devices
· Access to and licensing of databases on mobile devices
· Mobile products and services in the medical library
· Text Message reference service
· Vendor development
· iPhone applications

PROPOSAL SUBMISSIONS: This conference accepts proposals for presentations delivered in several online formats:
· A featured 45 minute presentation
· Panel discussion with others (10 minutes of presentation)
· Virtual Roundtable discussions on selected topics
· Virtual poster presentation
Submit proposals by November 1 to:
You will be notified by December 15 if your proposal has been accepted.

· Conduct an online session using Adobe Connect
· Provide a photo, bio and program description for the conference website by December 31, 2009
· Respond to questions from attendees
· Attend an online 30-60 minute training on Adobe Connect prior to the conference
Thank you for considering a submission for conference participation. If you have questions, please contact:
· Lori Bell, Alliance Library System,
· John Walber, LearningTimes,
· Tom Peters, TAP Information Services,

This inexpensive reference book will come in handy when those cyber-savvy students begin their college search via the Internet. It lists a ton of useful websites related to college education. It alerts you to pages you should bookmark as a favorite, and provides warnings about sites with heavy graphics.

The booklet starts with web resources on how to gather information about colleges, and goes on to list links for college rankings, campus tours, financial aid, scholarships and E-campus bookstores. There is also a section on standardized tests, online applications, online schools, essays and interviews. It even lists sites on campus safety, college news, and distance education. This book would be a useful tool to those Internet savvy students who spend a lot of time online.

Check out at the Worcester Public Library!
ISBN: 9781575091273 (pbk.)
Cost: $12.00

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Share this!

Share This Blog

Sunday, September 27, 2009, Brad Stone wrote in the New York Times about how sharing has gone amuk over the Internet:

What was interesting to me was his graphic (shown left) that tapped into this sharing frenzy. I think a number are tongue-in-cheek. My question to you is: how many of these do you know? and can we use these links to our advantage?

The "links":

Tweet this / Share on Facebook / Share on AOL Mail / Share on Backflip / Share on Linkninja / Share on Evernote / Share on / Share on Arto / Share on LinkaGoGo / Share on Designmoo / Mixx this / YiGG this / Share on Jumptags / Share on Polladium / Share on Virb / Share on Wordpress / Share on Bleetbox / Share on MyLinkVault / Share on BlinkList / Share on Amazon / Share on Brainify / Share on Diigo / Share on FriendFeed / Share on Yardbarker / Share on Gacetilla / Save to Delicious / Tell Obama / Share on Fresqui / Tumblr this / Share on Viadeo / Share on Plaxo / Save on StumbleUpon / Share on Meneame / Send to Gmail / Share on BallHype / Share on bizSugar / Share on Blogmarks / Share on CiteULike / Share on SodaHead / Share on BuddyMarks / Multiply this / Share on Hyves / Share on Posterous / Send to Y!Mail / Share on Care2 / Share on Fark / Share on Connotea / Yoolink this / Share on AmenMe / Share on Gravee

I know I've got my homework cut out for me!

Keepin' it real


Monday, September 28, 2009

Digital Bookmobile

In March I wrote about the Special Library Association’s 23 Things Initiative proposing you spend 15 minutes a day or an hour a week exploring and learning about new technologies. While I haven’t quite done that, I have made an effort to pay attention to mentions of various, relevant, technologies in order to keep current. The recent visit of the Overdrive Digital Bookmobile to the Auburn Public Library was a great opportunity for librarians and the public to learn more about some of the digital resources available to CWMARs cardholders. The digital collection of e-books, e-audiobook and videos is a great resource, but difficult to market due to its abstract nature and variety of formats. While actually downloading materials at the Digital Bookmobile was not an option, there were a variety of electronic devices on display with helpful staff available to answer questions. I recommend visiting the Digital Bookmobile if it comes around again. In the meantime, according to this article you can link to, it looks as if we might be able to go to the nearest Best Buy to experiment with a few of these devices.

The Green Guide

It's not easy being green.
That goes for frogs as well as humans.
That is why I choose The Green Guide for the reference book of the month.
It is published by National Geographic. With the current price of $21.95 retail, it's worth purchasing a circulating copy for the collection also.
Check their website for an online guide.

Cushing Academy's decision to make the transition to a completely digital library...

Cushing Academy's decision to make the transition to a completely digital library has created quite a stir in the school library world. The following are two letters in response to that decision and an article on whether school libraries are needed at all...what do you think?

Septembr 21, 2009

A school without books is one in which fewer students will be reading, andthose of us who work with students every day in the libraries of ournation’s schools have no doubt that access to the traditionally printedword is an essential component of a successful education. Urban planning theorist Jane Jacobs postulated that a healthycommunity—one that is economically, socially, politically, andenvironmentally vibrant—is designed and built based on the activities,values, and concerns of the full range of its constituents. Diversity isits hallmark. The same can be said of libraries: if they are monolithic,adherents to a single format and inflexible, they outlive theirusefulness. The library that James Tracy envisions for Cushing Academy,the independent school that he leads in Ashburnham, Massachusetts, willunfortunately be such a place after the planned removal of its entireprinted book collection, and his actions are cause for great concern inour profession.Dr. Tracy has argued the opposite; he believes that by discarding 20,000books and choosing to deliver information to all his students in digitalformat he is a trailblazer who has placed Cushing "in the forefront of apedagogical and technological shift" (“Letter to Cushing Academy Alumni,”September 2009). However, his drastic act ignores certain fundamentaltruths.First of all, individual libraries are built intentionally, over time, bytrained professionals, and resources are selected with the needs of thecommunity that the library serves in mind. Such collections are vibrantentities that continually expand and contract. Many resources areavailable electronically but many are not and may never be. In addition,books go out of print quickly, databases stop archiving material withoutnotice, and e-book collections are compiled by corporations that do notdifferentiate one school from another. Once a library has purchased andhas on its shelf a book that perfectly meets the need of a group of usersand has the potential for continued relevance, what does an institutiongain by discarding that book? More to the point, what does it lose? Secondly, a school library's most important goals are to support theacademic curriculum, to teach information literacy and to foster a love ofreading. None of these goals can be reached completely without theinclusion of printed books. The last 500 years have proven that printedbooks are a uniquely successful information-delivery system and, when theyare organized in a library and used in conjunction with information in avariety of other media, offer multiple and repeated opportunities forlearning. The removal of printed books impoverishes an entire learningmodality and dismisses outright the value of books' physical attributes,in and of themselves and as conduits for browsing and serendipity, and thecontributions of that physicality to a student’s reading experience.Finally, consider the facts. Years of research on reading have provenconclusively that students who read improve not only their vocabulariesbut also their abilities to reason and discriminate. However, as JohnAustin points out in his excellent review of Marc Bauerlein’s book TheDumbest Generation Ever (Independent School, Winter 2009), in spite of theexponential increase in the amount of information being digitized, youngpeople are reading less and less of it. In addition, reading online, bothbecause of the physical demands of the medium and because of multipleopportunities for distraction, does not result in the same focusedengagement with the text that is possible with a printed book. Commonsense suggests that we should be doing everything in our power toencourage students to read and engage with the printed page more, notless. We also do our students a disservice if we do not teach them how touse all the sources of information which they will encounter at thecollege and university level. Not surprisingly, the use of printed booksis still very much in vogue in higher education.Every librarian we know is in the vanguard of technology use at his or herschool and a passionate reader and user of printed books. To suggest thatthe two are mutually exclusive is regressive and reveals a lack ofknowledge both of the way digital information is created, sold and used,and of the value of appropriate printed materials to many users.Responsible collection development is not driven by a one-size-fits-allmentality or by access to unlimited funds. Between us, we have 73 years of experience as librarians in bothindependent and public schools. Though many of the skills we teach are thesame as they were when we first began working in the field, our 2009toolkit is vastly different from the one with which we started out, and weare glad of it. However, that is no reason for us to jettison our richcollections of printed books.

Sincerely,Liz GrayPresidentAssociation of Independent School Librarians

As a possible corrective to his grave error in judgment regarding the jettisoning of the Cushing Library, I would strongly suggest that Dr. Tracy do the heretical and spend some time reading Chris Hedges' new book, EMPIRE OF ILLUSION: THE END OF LITERACY AND THE TRIUMPH OF SPECTACLE. As a former independent school library director of many years (who fondly recalls his visit to the Cushing library) and as a classroom teacher, and now as a college instructor as well as a public librarian, I know firsthand the decline in reading skills we are witnessing as a society. It is dangerous in all political settings, and no less so in a democracy, that the people who are the recipients of their government's actions, know how to discern and to judge. An avalanche of data, often half-digested at best by those who post it, and far too often skewed by ideologies, is no substitute for the more focused experience of a book or a good journal. Nor can one find the removal from the world's frenzy and the repair that is often needed, emotionally and spiritually, that a good book -- and a good library -- can offer. I suspect that if Dr. Tracy does not realize his mistake during the years that remain to him at Cushing, his successor will. The error should become evident within a short time.

Ralph Melnick,
PhDAssistant Director
Westfield Atheneaum
Westfield, MA

Article link:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

1953 Tornado Slideshow

Tucked away in an obscure corner of the City of Worcester home page you will find a collection of 108 slides of the damage caused by the 1953 tornado in Worcester. To find the slides go first to the City Clerk's link and then look under History, Trivia, Vital Stats and more.
The slides were taken by former City Assessor Howard T. Rourke and his wife Dorothy. While some of the slides are a bit blurry and there sometimes seem to be a great many views of a single house, you come away from the presentation with a greater appreciation of how this horrendous storm disrupted the lives of ordinary people.

OCLC and

Most of us are now familiar with the FirstSearch database WorldCat. This is a powerful database that includes over 100 million records from libraries across the United States. You can search for books, music CDs, videos, journals, digital content and more. These resources are also available in many languages.

While FirstSearch is a subscription database there is also a web based version that can be accessed at You can use the database without creating a user name and password. However, doing so allows you to create a profile, make lists, and receive email updates. In addition, has some distinct advantages over FirstSearch. The initial search in both databases is exactly the same: either a basic or advanced query with all the same choices in fields to help narrow the search.

Each result displays basic bibliographic data: author,title, publisher, standard numbers, and so forth. Each record also has a link for all editions and formats plus book jackets when available. The libraries that own the item are arranged by state with those closest to your zip code appearing first. While FirstSearch only shows those states closest to your zip code has a comprehensive list (this feature is useful for practitioners of 24/7 reference). Both databases have hot links that will bring you directly to a particular library catalog for holdings information.

Other unique features of are the hot links to booksellers if don't wish to ILL the item or travel to the library, the option or reading or writing reviews, and a link to information about the author that also includes audience level and book classification numbers. If you happen to be using Google Books to find an item the reverse is also true. Google has a hot link to if you do not wish to purchase (though there are links for that as well).

Another great advantage in using is the option of searching for journal articles (the FirstSearch version only allows a search for journals and not articles). The results list for journal articles includes a full bibliographic record. Attached to the record is a list of those libraries that own that particular journal. For those patrons that are members of libraries that subscribe to journal databases has a second feature. By clicking on "Check for Electronic Resources" you are linked directly to your libraries journal databases.

Statistics have shown that most patrons do not know how to go from the local catalog to wider and wider resources. This is made even more difficult when the catalog is not linked to those wider resources. alleviates some of the pain.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hispanic Heritage Month Books

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from mid-September through mid-October commemorating the anniversary of the independence of various Latin American and South American nations. Appreciate the unique literary contribution of the following works written by and about Hispanic Americans. Selected by the librarians of the Worcester Public Library. Click here to see the books.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Learning Commons...should we move in that direction?

Hi, I'm sure you have all heard about Valerie Diggs and the Chelmsford High Learning Commons. I am actively trying to promote that concept at my high school, Uxbridge High, and am hoping to get some practical dialog going with people who might be interested in moving in this direction with their facility or even some aspects of the Learning Commons concept. I have created a wiki whose link is and hope that we can create some ideas for each other to help promote the concept to administrators, staff, students, and the educational communities in which we all work.

If you have questions email me at or
Thank you!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

TXT 4 Answers offered by WPL

Worcester Public Library has just started to offer TXT 4 Answers service, as a participant of InfoQuest TXT 4 Answers cooperative.

Please encourage your patrons to use the service. Here are the instructions:

Text 309-222-7740
Step 1: Enter WPL
Step 2: TXT your question

The service is free of charge, but standard text messaging rates do apply. Staffed by librarians from around the country, answers are sent to cell phones by librarians in 320 characters or less, or the equivalent of two 160-character text messages.

Feel fee to contact Ping at if you have any question.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Central Register

For those of you who have questions about The Central Register and Goods & Services Bulletin now being available only online; we here at Worcester have been printing out copies of each as they are released. We have made access available on our "job search" computers; staff need to enter user name and password each time someone uses one of them.
The State Bookstore is working on IP authentication for libraries. There is no definite time when this will be available.
If you are trying to obtain access for your library, your library director has to send a e-mail request to for a user name and password to be e-mailed to your library.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Hospital Compare

As the name suggests, this website provides information on level of patient care provided by different hospitals. It allows people to compare some of the most common conditions (heart attacks, pneumonia, etc.), surgical procedures, mortality rates, and the quality of medical care that hospital patients receive. You can review the performance of hospitals in your state, gather information about other hospitals or compare the services of hospitals near you.

Created through the efforts of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), along with the Hospital Quality Alliance (HQA), this website is intended to make things easier for the consumer while making informed health care decisions. The Hospital Compare website is updated on a quarterly basis and covers information obtained from over 4,000 U.S hospitals.

It is recommended that consumers use multiple sources when choosing a hospital and Hospital Compare can be one such tool to gather information. Patients can then discuss with their health care provider about what this information means and how it can be used to make informed health care decisions.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Wikipedia to Color Code Untrustworthy Text

Wired, August 30th, 2009

Starting this fall, you’ll have a new reason to trust the information you find on Wikipedia: An optional feature called “WikiTrust” will color code every word of the encyclopedia based on the reliability of its author and the length of time it has persisted on the page.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Workforce Central

More and more patrons are searching this site for job postings.
Many think they must establish an e-mail account and/or give a social security number. Both are false.
I called the Worcester branch office and asked what is the easiest way to see available positions.
There are five simple steps:

2.Click JobQuest-bottom right hand corner of the page.
3.Click JobQuest again-top right hand corner of the page.
4.Enter a zip code.
5.Scroll down to view job listings.

New positions are posted every Monday.
The majority of those seeking employment just want to see what kinds of jobs are out there.
I find this to be the least frustrating approach for those who have so much to contend with.
Walk the job seeker through it. Believe me, they are the most grateful of patrons.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

How about renting Textbooks?

Due to the rotten economy, more and more students are unable to afford the rising cost of textbooks. The number of library customers looking to borrow textbooks for their course work is mounting. Unfortunately as libraries, we are unable to invest in textbooks for various reasons. To name a few, they disappear from the shelves at an amazing rate, customers who need them tend to hoard them selfishly till the end of the semester and before you know it the current edition gets outdated.

Still, don’t despair yet - your customers do have other options! Online companies that rent textbooks have sprouted up recently. Books can be obtained for a fraction of the price! Different kinds of rental plans are available to students who might be interested in the book for a month, a semester or more. Encourage your students to rent a book, save some cash and better yet - save a tree!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Code of Massachusetts Regulations

"The Massachusetts regulations include every rule, regulation, standard or requirement... adopted by an agency to implement or interpret the law enforced or administered by it..."

So what does this mean for librarians and how can we make better use of the "regs"?

Say, for instance, that a patron came to your library and wanted to know what was required in order for him or her to teach adults basic education in Massachusetts. Most of us are tempted to go right to the Massachusetts general laws to find the answer. If we do that however, we are provided with a scant one and a half pages that give us a few general facts. First, Massachusetts has by law a system for providing certain adults basic education and literacy services. Second, the state will provide professional instructors and monitor service delivery. And lastly, the board of education will determine the methods of instruction and grant certification to teachers who possess the qualifications prescribed by the board (General laws 69:1H).

This information is useful but it does not answer the patrons question of what, specifically, does he or she need to teach adult education. For an answer to this question we must turn to the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. The Worcester Public Library subscribes to the print version of the Code and we have a separate subscription (published privately) to the index. This makes our task relatively simple and painless. However, for those of you who rely on the online version I will walk you through the process.

Access to the online index to the Code can be found at

  • We know that the board of education is the governing agency so we scroll down to the words Education, Department of 603 CMR.
  • When we click on the citation number 603 CMR we are given a list of sections. Since you don't know what you're looking for you must read the title of each section. At the bottom of the list is the section title Licensure of Adult Basic Education Teachers and Preparation Program Approval.

The patron now has 15 pages of definitions, standards and specific requirements and components for licensure in all fields of adult education and literacy.

One drawback to using the online version of the regs is that they are not the "official" version. The official version is only published in hard copy. The state is in the process of transitioning to an official online version but they haven't done so yet. To make sure that you have comprehensive and up-to-date information you can always call the Worcester Public Library and ask us to match the online to the print source.

In any event, the Code of Massachusetts Regulations contains a wealth of information (often overlooked) that could save you and your patron time and effort.

Friday, August 14, 2009

That Most Dreaded Chore

Recently I've been engaged in that most dreaded chore of trying to weed my collection and ; it occurred to me that it might be useful to describe my method and invite others to comment on it or contribute their own methods.

I start by setting a date about 3 or 4 years ago and say that anything that hasn't circulated since then is in jeopardy. I check barcodes in milcirc to get the last circulation date and see if anyone else owns the book.

If I own the only copy of a book in milcirc and it hasn't gone out in my specified time period , I next check the union catalog. If mine is still the only copy in captivity, I conclude that I had better hold on to it. Books that I keep no matter what are those by local authors or on local subjects ( I usually stretch local to include all of New England), classics and books by notable authors. Every now and then there is a book that meets all my criterion for weeding that I just can't make myself part with, when i pardon one of those books I put a little question mark next to the label. That way the next time I weed I can either say it's already had its second chance or congratulate myself on keeping it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gale Literature Criticism Online (LCO) and Literature Resource Center (LRC) available at WPL

Remote access to a suite of literature databases from Gale is now available to Worcester Library card holders. The new databases include:

Literature Criticism Online (LCO) is the platform that hosts 10 Gale’s comprehensive literary criticism series. Worcester Public Library has purchased the complete

  • Contemporary Literary Criticism (CLC),
  • Short Story Criticism (SSC),
  • Something about the Author (SATA),
  • Children's Literature Review (CLR).
All those literary series can be cross searched and access remotely.

Literature Resource Center (LRC) is a subscription database that offers literary criticisms, articles, work overviews, and author biographies. Rich in biographical, bibliographical, and critical content. Excellent resource for information on literary figures from all time periods and writings in such genres as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, history, journalism, and more. It delivers most of the content from Dictionary of Literary Biography, most of the content from Contemporary Authors & New Revision, and roughly 60% of CLC, TCLC, NCLC from 1998 forward.

To access:
Go to
Click on Online Databases in the left column
Then select Literature
Access from this blog
Look under WPL Remote Databases in the right column of this blog

If you have any questions, feel free to contact Ping at

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Book of the Month

As a new feature to our blog, I would like to introduce a new reference book each month.
My criteria are as follows:
3.Suitable for both small and large libraries
4.Worth the shelf space
5.I find it interesting

I welcome your comments and suggestions for other reference resources.
My choice this month is listed below.

One down....eleven to go!

Michael Allaby, Robert Coenraads, Stephen Hutchinson, Karen McGhee, John O'Byrne and Ken Rubin
The Encyclopedia of Earth
A Complete Visual Guide

$39.95, hardcover
Available Now
608 pages, 10 1/2 x 9 1/4 inches, 1700 color illustrations, 200 line illustrations, 1000 mapsSeptember 2008, Only available in North America, US and TerritoriesAlso in: Atlases & Encyclopedias
Author Bio
This sumptuously illustrated, beautifully written encyclopedia, the best book available on the topic, presents the most up-to-date information about planet Earth in a style and format that will appeal to an extremely wide range of readers. With thousands of photographs, illustrations, diagrams, and maps and a text written by a team of international experts, it presents an impressive overview of our globe—beginning with the history of the universe and ending with today's conservation issues. A truly spectacular reference, The Encyclopedia of Earth offers new visual interpretations of many ideas, concepts, and facts, painting a fascinating picture of Earth today and across the ages. The encyclopedia is divided into six sections that are designed for either browsing or in-depth study. Birth gives an overview of Earth's 4.6-billion-year history, including the evolution of life. Fire explains the inner workings of our dynamic planet, its structure, and the tectonic forces that have molded its landscape. Land surveys rocks, minerals, and habitats. Air covers weather, including extreme weather events such as tornadoes and hurricanes. Water tours the oceans, rivers, and lakes of the world. The final section, Humans, provides a compelling portrait of our relationship with Earth, and of how the natural world has shaped social and political developments. Copub: Weldon Owen Publishing

Thursday, July 16, 2009

WATS for Reference

In an effort to expedite response to WATS calls, WPL's e-mail reference team will be checking the Regional Reference toll-free phone several times a day to be sure no question is delayed in being answered.
Our e-mail reference (left side of our webpage "Ask a Librarian") is always available to all libraries and their patrons. We find e-mail to be the most efficient method because there is less chance of error in understanding when the request is in writing, and you can make the message as long as you like. We strive for quick turn around on e-mail requests.
For libraries in our calling area, our TIS line (508-799-1655, option #3) is the quickest way to reach our reference staff.
24/7 is a national reference service, and except for the ten hours per week when WPL is online (usually 4-7 P.M. but not always), you are likely to be communicating with a librarian in another state. They will assist whomever contacts them (just as we do here) but local questions create a problem.

Monday, June 22, 2009

A New Kind of Radio Station

I just posted a blog this morning, but I couldn't wait to share this with music lovers.

My neice showed me how this site works in a matter of minutes.

" Everyone knows about it, and my friends all use it."

Dinosaur that I am, it's all new to me.

Pandora is to music as "if you like this book" is to Amazon.

By creating your own stations, it chooses like songs and artists.

You can accept or reject a particular song or artist at any time.

You can build up several of your own stations, and an extensive faq's page guides you along.

You may already have enjoyed Pandora, but for someone who used to carry around a transistor radio,this is HUGE!

Summer Savings in Massachusetts.

Believe it or not,summer is here.
The sun will come out...maybe not tomorrow, but soon.
With that in mind,take advantage of what Massachusetts has to offer in the way of discounts to many places of interest, hotels, restaurants, and activities.
There are good deals throughtout the state.
Choose a region you plan to visit,and see what is available each week,since the deals are for a limited time.

May the rest of your summer be filled only with warm, sunny days.
After all...we can only hope!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


One unexpected highlight for those of us charged with manning the registration table at the recent two-day Genealogy Conference, held at Worcester Public Library, was watching the steady and eclectic flow of library users stream past on their way through the building. Many stopped out of curiosity, to share a bit family history, or to warmly greet retired staff members who had agreed to participate in the event. A long-time patron proudly showed us a copy of a letter she had written to a local newspaper in support of funding for libraries. A young woman who had recently immigrated from Jamaica studied a list of upcoming programs. Families with young children walked out laden with towering stacks of picture books and DVDs. A member of a Sudbury fife and drum corps in full regalia hurried past on his way to use an express internet station, and several members of our YA Anime Wings Club dug deep into the pockets of their faded black denims to donate a few coins to the Gaudette Fund which supports the genealogy collections at WPL. It was all a moving reminder to me of just how integral the public library is to the communities we serve. I can't help but wish we'd had a video camera!

Friday, June 05, 2009

When “going green” or “recycle” is what your patrons want to do to be a conscientious human being, could help them achieve their goals. It is a one-stop shop for all your recycling needs with over 100,000 recycling locations from across the country. You can recycle hundreds of products from packing peanuts to computers with information provided by local governments, organizations and everyday consumers. Topics include reuse, recycling, hazardous waste disposal, composting, local agencies, state and local programs and environmental groups among others. There’s also a glossary, “green" shopping tips and community-specific environmental information.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

CMRLS Regional Reference Center is on Twitter

Worcester Public Library, CMRLS Regional Reference Center, would like to invite all librarians in the region to follow us @WPLREF.

Worcester Public Library intends to use Twitter
· To share updates from WPL, reference Q&As, database and internet search strategies and reference tips
· To post all Regional Reference Center Blog entries
· To keep you updated with new technologies and new developments in the information field, and share with you how the WPL uses those tools to improve reference services
· To provide an easy communication platform to enable librarians in the region to exchange ideas and share experiences

Getting started:
· If you don’t have a Twitter account and just want to watch or listen:

Please go to or (look for Twitter updates in the right column) or follow @WPLREF via RSS on Twitter

· If you have a Twitter account, please follow us @WPLREF

· If you don’t have a Twitter account and wish to start one, please sign up at, and then use Search tool at the bottom of your Twitter page to find wplref and then follow us.

We’re looking for suggestions on how you’d like to use the regional reference center Twitter and blog. We’re also interested in having you to write and post on something that you are particularly knowledgeable about or curious about. If you have any questions or after you follow us, you would like us to follow you, please contact Pingsheng Chen at

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Many patrons are seeking work, in Massachusetts, and elsewhere.

Time was when the only current resource we had to offer were want ads in newspapers of major cities.

Worcester's Workforce Central is recommending this cite in a flyer I saw recently.

This is only for the listing of available work, not an application, or direct contact with the company.

It will list the website of that company. It is up to the job seeker to make contact.

Please check out the FAQ's section on the site, for any questions.

It is easy to use, informative, and timely.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I recently gave a workshop on the accessibility of public records in Massachusetts. My primary goal was to reference hard to find, or normally not accessible information, about everyday individuals. In any event, a small amount of the material included genealogy.

One of the websites that I literally fell over was Obitfinder, a website maintained by The database archives obituaries dating back to 1930 from newspapers all across North America. I counted them - 744 newspapers. Granted, indexing will be uneven but what a gem. You no longer have to tell your patrons that you can't get that information because you only subscribe to newspapers in a finite geographic area.

The information given includes the full name of the deceased; place and date of death; relations; and the date and name of the newspaper it appeared in. There is a small hook. If you want the full obituary, photograph and guest book (if they are available) these are provided at a charge of $2.95. The website URL is

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Twitter Travel

Twitter has become a Web phenomenon lately, partially due to celebrity use. But a recent article in points out the practical side of Twitter's networking capabilities, especially in relation to making travel plans. Author Everett Potter gives the example of a business woman who used advice from friends on Twitter for recommendations on which airport to use, where to stay and what are the best local restaurants. Potter also mentions that Twitter is a good resource for travel deals, saying hotel chains, food critics and bloggers not found on conventional travel sites have Twitter profiles as well. Browsing Twitter groups such as @travelpeople or @WeJustGotBack can be used in addition to Twitter's powerful search engine to find obscure information such as rafting companies in Central America.

The nature of Twitter is to be informal, conversational and immediate which appeals to a lot of people. It can be local or worldwide in scope as well. Try it for planning your summer vacation, you might be surprised at the amount of information you find. Happy tweeting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fox Revises Rental Policy

Due to Overwhelming Library Response. Over the past week, many of our customers have advocated via email and on list-serves for a reversal of Fox's rental policy. We are very pleased to announce that in response to this vocal and persuasive outcry from the library community, Fox has decided to amend their policy.
Beginning in June, all of Fox's titles will be available to library customers in the original retail edition. These titles will contain the full menu of extras and bonus features at no additional cost to the library.
We appreciate Fox's quick and responsive reaction to our customer's concerns in this matter.
Please feel free to call our customer service department with any concerns (1 800 875-2785) about Fox titles shipped in the upcoming weeks.
Again, we would like to thank everyone who sent emails and spoke up on the list-serves; this policy change is directly due to your advocacy and concern.
Midwest Tape The Librarian's #1 Media Source 800-875-2785

CMRLS Regional Reference Center, Worcester Public Library, 3 Salem Sq, Worcester MA 01608