Saturday, March 30, 2013

Overdrive 2.0 aka Overdrive Next Generation

So we're rolling out a new version of Overdrive soon.  I've taken a peak at the video of the new and enhanced features, and I've gotta say, I like what I see.

For one, the in-browser reading sounds like an amazing idea.  For someone who doesn't want to download a book, or can't figure out how to for whatever reason, being able to read the book in-browser would be really helpful.

I also really like being able to go from device to device.  I don't always read on my smartphone (Samsung Galaxy S3 for those interested), but I also read on my laptop, on my husband's tablet and probably three or four other places.  Just being able to go from my phone to my laptop would be really nice, especially since it (apparently) remembers where you are in the book.

Copy available or all checked out?  One of the best features.  The book symbol in the upper righthand corner of the cover is such a good way to show that a copy is available or not.  With just a quick glance, it's easy to see if you need to put a book on hold.

And finally, one-step-checkout.  This will make a lot of patrons very happy, I think.  The multiple steps to check out books sometimes confused patrons, particularly those who had never used a tablet for this (or any, sometimes) purpose.

Overall, I'm really looking forward to Overdrive 2.0 (just my name for it!) being implemented in my library.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A specific CD with a specific song.

I had a patron today looking for the song 'Morning' by Edward Grieg, on the CD Solitudes by Dan Gibson.

I searched for a good five minutes before I could track it down.  It wasn't under 'Gibson, Dan' at all, like the other CDs in the Solitudes series.  It was under a completely different name.  Luckily, it had the Grieg song on it, so we were able to positively identify the CD based on the song.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I love making someone's day! (Aka tracking down a birth certificate)

I had a patron call in, needing to know how he could get a copy of his birth certificate from a certain southern state.  He had a thick accent, but once I understood what he wanted (by confirming the state and city he needed it from), I was able to understand him rather easily.

I was able to get onto that state's vital records website, find the application for getting a replacement/certified copy, the mailing address, the fees required and what information he needed to provide.

The elation in his voice when he was thanking me made my day better than anything else could have.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What I'm Reading

I've got a stack of books to read, but the one I'm on currently is on bullying (the topic of choice for right now.)  I just finished "Stick and Stones", and now I'm on to "Odd Girl Out".

I'm listening to Kim Harrison's "White Witch, Black Curse".  I'm playing "Skyrim" after finishing "Final Fantasy XIII" (still need to finish XIII-2, but I'm about 20 hours in.  I just needed something a bit...lighter, maybe?)

I just made someone's day!

He was looking for the movie "Slaughterhouse-five".  Only one library in the area had it.  Sometimes, libraries in that area don't lend them.  This one did.  He was so excited that I could order it for him!

I love my job!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


We've been get a lot of students needing information about certain countries.

For up to date information, I steer them away from books, which are usually outdated by the time they're published, and towards one of my favorite websites.

It's a database, to us, provided by the Michigan Electronic Library.  CultureGrams is an amazing resource for any person, student or just curious web-surfer.  It has up to date information about different countries, states and more.

Monday, March 18, 2013

I'm looking for a movie...

"I returned a cd today.  I meant to write down the title, since it was from a movie so I could watch the movie, but I forgot to.  Can you pull it up on my account?"

Hmmm...  "Let me, it's already been returned so there's no record of it."

*very sad face*  "It looked like a good movie.  It was an older movie, I think with Tom Cruise..."

"Let me see what I can do.  So you don't remember what movie it was?"

*head shake*

"What about any song titles?"

"Hoochie Coochie Man, I think..."

*searches*  "Was it 'Stand Up Men'?"


*big smile*  "It's a newer movie, just out last year.  I can reserve it for you if you want."


I love it when I can reverse-search something like that!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Reference Interview - my style!

It usually starts out with me saying "Hi, how can I help you?" to a patron that's either standing/walking around awkwardly, or someone who's just come up to my desk.

When they tell me what they're looking for, let's say, in this instance, they're looking for books on psychology.

I ask if it's for homework or just for personal reading as I search to keep the conversation going.  I also repeat their request at least once, sometimes several times.  Not only to make sure I heard them right and that they requested it right, but also to keep it in my mind.

As we make small talk, I'm searching the catalog for books that will work for them.  I write down the call number and author, with the title underneath.  Between each book, I draw a line to differentiate the different entries.

From there, I hand them the paper, tell them about where the book is located and then ask if they need anything else.

If they don't, they go about their merry business, sometimes coming back up (maybe 1/4 of the time) when they can't find it.  Usually, it's on the shelf where it's supposed to be.  Sometimes, it's just a little off.  Sometimes, it's not there at all.  Either another patron has it, it's on a cart somewhere or it's just plain missing.

In those cases, I ask the patron if they'd like me to order it.  If they brush it off like it's a big step, I laugh and say it's no problem.  Usually, maybe 8/10 times, they'll have me order it for them.

If they weren't done when I asked if they needed something else, rinse and repeat.

Sometimes, I end up ordering everything from another library.  Either through our Consortium, or through MeL (the Michigan Electronic Library).  While MeL is an extra step, since I have to do another search, and if I find the book, put the patron's name and library card into the website, it's no problem.  I've done it (probably) hundreds of times for myself, and to do it for another patron is no problem.

If no library has it, I ask if they'd like me to request to purchase it.  I explain that the request doesn't mean that it will be purchased, since it's up to someone else, but if it is purchased, we can reserve it for them.

Some of the more popular stuff, like the next season of Downton Abbey, or the new Stephen King, will be purchased but it's too early to order it.  I keep the forms for the things I'm requested to purchase, order them when I can, and reserve them when they're ordered.

Overall, I make sure my reference interview has the main steps (from Wikipedia, but also what I learned during my MLIS):

  1. Welcoming
  2. Gathering general information from the user and getting an overview of the problem
  3. Confirming the exact question
  4. Intervention, such as giving information, advice or instructions
  5. Finishing, including feedback and summary

Problems with your Kindle? No problem!

Thankfully, I can walk a patron through most problems with the Kindle and Overdrive.  The steps are all the same, it's just getting to the point of when do the steps and in what order.  And knowing (which means asking the right questions) where the patron missed a step.

Usually, they don't realize you have to go to the Amazon website to get the book.  That's the biggest miss.  The other isn't a miss so much as it is never having used a Kindle before.

While I can walk you through over the phone, it's a lot easier to get you started in person!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Yes, I can get that number for you!

Generally speaking, I can get any phone or address for a person.  I say generally, because although I'd love it to be, not every number is online.

If I can't google it (or it), and it's not in my area of Michigan, I'll tell the person to call the library nearest the person/place they're trying to reach.  They'll generally have a Polk city directory and be able to look it up much better than I can, since I only have 2 counties worth of Polk city directories.

A senator/representative is sometimes much harder to get a phone number from. Some of them seem to be only through e-mail, which for someone who doesn't have a computer or access to a computer is very limiting.  So I do my best, and give them the best information I can.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Are you a psychic?

Then no, I'm sorry, but you don't know that those prints are yours.  There are forty-some other computers hooked up to the same printer as yours, and most of them are occupied.  While most people don't print anything, there are, say, one out of every four people that do print.

Which makes it unlikely that you know that those prints are yours.  As in impossible for them to belong to anyone else.

Please, sir.  And no, I won't leave fingerprints on them.  Not visible ones, at least.  I touch the edges of the pages, not the center.  And I haven't been playing with graphite.  So, no, no visible prints from this librarian.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I don't mean to be offensive or anything...

but can I ask you a question?

That was my most interesting question of the day.

The rest of the question was "Can you get me a list of all of the gay bars in MyCity?"

I couldn't find any, actually.  Not in MyCity, at least.  There's a bunch more in Michigan, but none nearby.

And, no, I wasn't offended.

Tax booklets yet?

Yes, yes we do!

For the last two months, we've been getting non-stop question about whether we have certain tax booklets.  Mostly centering on the 1040.  We finally got them in last week.

So I can finally tell the patrons, yes, yes we do have them!

The only thing we don't have in paper are the odd forms that we can print right off of the IRS website!

Magazines, magazines everywhere...

So, in the last year or so, we've found parts of magazines all around the library.  By parts, I mean the back cover.  Which has the barcode.  Sometimes, only the barcode.

So there's a thief (or thieves) in the library, stealing magazines.  It's usually the popular ones.  Cosmo, people, US weekly...ones like that.  Sometimes, there's an odd one.  Dog Fancy, Dolls etc.

But considering our hours (we're usually open for 10 hours a day, except on Fridays and Saturdays), there's no real reason to steal one of the magazines.  At least, no good reason I can think of.