Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Share Your Library Hacks via the Library Success Wiki

After reading the last post, Andrew kindly sent me a suggestion to have a library hacks wiki. I like the idea of sharing information via a wiki that anyone can edit, but am not so keen on idea of creating a brand new wiki that people will most likely ignore. I instantly thought of the Library Success Wiki as a better way to do this.

So I added a section on Library Hacks to the promotions page and it is now ready and waiting for your hacks. This may or may not be the best place on the wiki to place this, if it's not I figure someone will move it, but to me this is classic promotion.

If you have a tip or hack that helps get end users excited and shows the value of library resources please head over to the Library Success Wiki and add it!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Where Are All the Library Hacks?

(just when you thought this blog was officially dead, I’m baaaaaack. Can’t say for how long, I just happen to have a bee in my bonnet again).

After being inspired by meeting conversation, I was on the hunt again today for fun, quick and easy, tips and tricks to share with our end users about OhioLINK resources. Preferably something that tells users how to find cool things in our databases that they don't know about. Things like this Trouble picking the perfect present? blog post which shows how to find consumer reports in EBSCOhost. This should be easy to find at library and vendor Web sites everywhere right? Wrong. Well, maybe I’m not looking in the right place, but they’re not, and not being a librarian, I don’t always know the resources well enough to come up with them. In fact, I’m feeling stumped right now.

I did however find one inspirational blog, Library Hacks, by Duke University Libraries. Inspired by LifeHacker, Library Hacks:

“Library Hacks is a place to find out about tools, resources, services, and ideas that can help make the library more efficient for you. It’s written mostly by librarians, but we’ll also have occasional student and faculty guest bloggers.”

The Cell Phones for Citation post has already given me some ideas. Maybe if I take pictures of my mileage I won't forget it!

It’s good stuff, but shouldn’t there be more tips floating around out there. Help me out, what are your favorite library and library database hacks?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Quality Artwork That Won't Bust Your Budget

Using great images can take your publications (and blogs!) to the next level, but finding affordable images used to be a real challenge. Luckily, today there are many sources you can turn to for free or cheap high-resolution images.

The free stuff
If you do a Web search you'll find list after list of free image resources. I've explored these lists with little success, but here are two sources I actually use:
Now you do need to be proactive and download and build a library of any images that might be of interest, but at this price, it's worth the bit of extra effort.

The cheap stuff
I've used several subscription image services and while they worked well for me and my place of work at the time, I now have access to many more images and spend much less on them thanks to iStockphoto. In addition to photos, iStockphoto has vector images and videos too. It's the best place I've found to find super high-resolution images for $20 or less. Plus, iStockphoto provides some helpful resources for designers including an article library, forums and examples of real designs created with their images. And you definitely don't want to miss the dollar bin.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

One to Watch: Mark Lives in IKEA

As a major IKEA fan (try the Daim chocolate. Go on. It's impossible not to love it.), I have to say that Mark Malkoff is living my dream. This is just brilliant publicity for IKEA, but how many other stores would have said yes to this? (though I can't help wondering if it was really completely Malkoff's idea in the first place. It's just such great publicity!)

I'm not sure spending the night in the library would have the same appeal, but would you say yes if someone wanted to pull a similar stunt in your library? Before you say no to a wild idea, spend some time thinking about why you should say yes. As Seth Godin reminds us, you can't be remarkable without taking risks and trying something new.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Are You Raking In the Compliments?

Since many librarians prefer not to toot their own horns, why not let your customers sing your praises for you? Last week’s Get to the Po!nt e-newsletter was a great reminder that we need to make it easy for happy customers to compliment us. The newsletter referenced a post at Andy Sernovitz’s interesting Damn! I Wish I’d Thought of That! blog (subscribed!) and included Sernvitz’s tips for opening the door to positive feedback:

  • Let customers leave compliments on an "Employee Thank You" wall stocked with paper, pencils and thumbtacks.
  • Ask your customers to vote in the Employee of the Month contest.
  • Put your Web site's feedback form in a prominent location.
  • Invite free-form comments on post-purchase surveys. "You're not going to get praise from a multiple-choice question," writes Sernovitz.

Not only does this let customers easily give you kudos, the testimonials you receive may provide great tools to help you tell your story in newsletters, annual reports, board reports and more. Testimonials also show staff that their good work and service is noticed and appreciated, so be sure to share them.

At OhioLINK, we post stories from our users on our news site as well as our testimonials page. This idea was highly inspired by Google's Press Center. There is also a form to submit stories online and once a year we encourage our member libraries to help us find great testimonials for our annual report. Having these testimonials easily accessible and available to all makes them much more useful for us and our members.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

New OCLC Report: Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World

OCLC just published another must-read report, Sharing, Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World. This report summarizes the findings from an international study on online social spaces, including social networking attitudes and habits of both end users and librarians. It explores social participation and cooperation on the Internet and how it may impact the library’s role, including:
  • The use of social networking, social media, commercial and library services on the Web
  • How and what users and librarians share on the Web and their attitudes toward related privacy issues
  • Opinions on privacy online
  • Libraries’ current and future roles in social networking

One interesting tidbit from the report: Internet activity keeps going up. Search engine use increased from 71% to 90%. E-mail use grew from 73% to 97%. And the use of blogs, went from 16% to 46% in 18 months. While all those activities keep going up, up up, use of library Web sites dropped from 30% in 2005 to 20% in 2007. Sure different populations and even a few different nationalities were surveyed in the two reports, but still that stat is worth some thought.

Privacy and Trust in Our Networked World follows on the heels of another must-read OCLC report, College Students’ Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Use for the Trusty Lemonade Stand

I love this idea. Denison University Library hosts a lemonade stand at their welcome back reception for students and staff. Peggy Rector, from the Denison University Library, was kind enough to share all the details.

This past fall, the event was held on the third day of classes and “went over much better than when it was held on the first day of classes.” Thirty-seven gallons of lemonade and almost 20 dozen cookies were served during the three hour event. Librarians and staff from throughout the library were invited to volunteer to staff the event for 30 minute shifts.

Giveaways included magnets with library hours, ID wallets, water bottles, library newsletters, and the Library 101 information booklet. They also had 300 glow ice cubes which were a BIG hit and there was a drawing at the end of the day for an iPod Shuffle.

To get the word out, a flyer (PDF) was posted around the academic quad and on the campus calendar. They also use a big sidewalk sign out in front of the building to invite students inside.

*photo courtesy of Denison University Library