Why Libraries Rock

3835642932_1981254635In order to raise awareness not only of the plight of the Louisville Free Public Library but libraries everywhere I decided to participate in the Blogathon that Andy Woodworth got started.

So why are libraries awesome or rock or kick butt?   All libraries rock because they allow free access to all information (be it print, audio, visual or world wide webable).   We do a lot more than that but since each library focuses on different aspects of their community I thought I’d blog about why MY library rocks!

My library rocks starting at the top and it works it’s way down through every staff member.

  • Our Library Board is very supportive of what we do and sees that our mission & vision stays current and provides our customer base with what they expect.
  • Our Executive Director and CEO has seen that we are not only aligned with  but synonymous with education.  Education is the corner stone of what we do.  We educate all the time – whether it is a story time class, book promotion, or customer service staff helping a customer log into their account.  Each interaction is based in educating, in training.  This is just one of the many initiatives she has implemented since coming to Howard County.
  • Our Public Relations department that produces an outstanding newsletter every quarter that highlights our classes, events, and seminars.  They have created the Howard County Library brand and oversee everything from our flyers, to our signs, to our social web presence making sure  we are consistently presenting the correct image and wording.
  • Our Information Technology department which not only supports over 300 computers (and more coming)  for our public to use (using a Linux operating system which allows us to save our tax payers money while providing a stable, secure environment on which to work) but also the staff desktops (in Linux, Mac and Windows).  We also maintain the web site, catalogs, and databases so our customers may  self-direct their education.
  • Our Children’s & Teen Curriculum – what can I say about all the wonderful classes our children’s services provide?  I’ve been privy to many (taking photos or just walking by) – the amount of energy, time, thought and fun (while learning) that goes into these classes is second to none.  These instructors really have  a calling and put our youngest customers on the path to lifelong learning.  The teen events are no less spectacular.  Making purses from old jeans,  “Hogwarts Summer School” to celebrate the latest Harry Potter movie, Duct Tape flip-flops and gaming nights give our teens a safe environment to socialize, learn and interact.
  • Our Events and Seminars – the learning and fun isn’t just for our children and teens.  Author visits, book club discussions, classes on technology, health, finances or travel and recreation are just some of the great offerings our adult customers can enjoy.
  • Our Passport facility.  Our East Columbia Branch is now an official Passport Acceptance Facility.  Another great service for our customers.  They can use all the wonders of the library while applying for their passports.
  • Community Education and Partnerships.  No library is an island, we are very  much a part of the community.  Our partnerships – Howard County Public School system, Howard Community College, Lincoln Technical Institute, Leadership Howard County, Choose Civility, Horizon Foundation, Howard County Autism Society, Lazarus Foundation – (PCs4Kids), HC DrugFree, Inc., Girl Scouts, Ubuntu Maryland Local Community Team – are just some of the ways we are out in the community interacting, engaging, and educating our customers.
  • Our Collection.   It’s not just the outstanding materials our selectors purchase but the hard working individuals that catalog, process and circulate these materials so that our customers can get what they want when they want it (whether it’s an in house visit or via our web site and catalogs).
  • Our Customer Service.  We pride ourselves on not only meeting but exceeding our customer’s ideas of what good customer service looks like.  This comes in all shapes and forms – from helping someone at our Information or Customer Services desks, to recommended a book/dvd/cd/or event via our blog Highly Recommended, to answering a customer’s concern via email, to talking to a teen who just needs someone to listen – we believe in going that extra step, that extra degree.

There are many more aspects and departments that I didn’t mention.  They too help to give our customers what they want or support our staff so they can give our customer what they need.  We need ALL the parts of this well oiled machine to make our library rock and to rank first in the nation among great public libraries according to Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings 2008.

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25 Things About Lil Ol Me

There has been a Facebook/Friendfeed and probably elsewhere Meme going around (although folks aren’t really tagging people they [like me] are just jumping on the bandwagon).  Well to not be left out (actual I thought it might be interesting to see what I could come up with) here are 25 Things you may or may not know about me:

  1. I’ve had a total of 3 years of voice training from 2 very talented voice teachers (one of them recently found me on Facebook).
  2. I sang for many years in a church choir as a first soprano.
  3. My favorite choral piece to sing is Daniel Pinkham’s Christmas Cantata (with brass quintet).
  4. Music has always been a big part of my life (flute, organ and voice lessons).  I’m always with music (XM radio in car, Grooveshark-Finetune-Pandora-LastFm on computer, iPod when mowing the lawn, etc.)
  5. I’ve worked basically for the same place of employment since I was 16 years old.  Started on Feb. 1, 1980 and only left for 1 year before coming back.
  6. Other library positions I’ve held outside of my current POW – periodicals and acquisitions depts. at Catsonville Community College.
  7. I’ve done my fair share in the retail arena as well – Roy Rogers (fast food), Musicland (record store), Gantos (clothes store) and Target.
  8. I had never been on a plane until 1998 and then I flew to Hawaii for my first airplane ride.
  9. I’ve been to Paris, Spain (Andulacia region), England and Australia (New Zealand too if you count layover in the airport).
  10. I’m an only child and the mother of an only child but my Mother is 1 of 12.
  11. I’m very particular about color.  One of my favorite books from childhood is “The Color Kittens” by Margaret Wise Brown.  Colors if not right really bother me (be it paint, web sites, etc.)
  12. Humor is very important to me.  Guess that explains why I use it as a defense mechanism.  Favorite comedians include Eddie Izzard, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Robert Klein, and all time fav George Carlin.
  13. I have had an Oscar night party for 8 out of the last 10 years.  Complete with evening dress, champagne, voting (sometimes prizes), and decorations.  It is being requested that I do it again this year so I will host once more for the 81st Academy Awards.
  14. I can often be a Johnny-come-lately when something becomes TOO popular.  E.G. Harry Potter and LOST – both I finally gave into after most everyone were on board.  Now HUGE fan of both.
  15. If I had to pick a sport that is my favorite it would be baseball.  I think my love of it comes from my Dad who used to play softball (he played shortstop) and took me to many a Baltimore Orioles game (even got my picture taken with Mark Balengar who played shortstop for the O’s).
  16. I’m highly allergic to cats, somewhat to horses and guinea pigs but not dogs.  Thankfully since I have had 4 dogs in my lifetime so far – currently own a Lab Mix [Dani] and an English Springer Spaniel [Maddie].
  17. I’ve had the honor of seeing Raul Julia & Kevin Kline (Arms and the Man), Yul Brynner (The King and I), Ben Vereen (Pippin), and Carol Channing (Hello Dolly) perform live.
  18. I was half of the lead couple that did the Virginia Reel as part of Ellicott City’s bicentennial celebration at my elementary school which has now been turned into condos.
  19. I’m married to a Englishman who came here in 2001 (right after 9/11).
  20. If I hadn’t wound up working at the library I could have been a caterer who designs interiors while being a secretary for lawyers.
  21. My first computer was an Atari – I’ve used Windows, Mac and now Linux – I’ll take the Linux thank you very much (it’s on my desktop and laptop at home and main work machine).
  22. One game I’ve not played that everyone else seems to is World of Warcraft.  Now if they only made a Linux version.
  23. I like mowing the grass.  We have 2 acres and it’s my time to zone out, crank my tunes and have some alone time.  Besides I take pride in doing a nice job getting around the trees my husband hates to deal with.
  24. I wrote poetry for a brief time (probably influenced by the poet I was dating at the time).  Once we broke up I have not written poetry since but it helped at the time.
  25. I believe everyone enters your life for a reason.  Some are there for a short time while others stay longer – everyone is there to teach you a lesson.

Television Leads to Reading

Previously on Lost…

Every week my favorite television show started with those words. Many die hard Lost fans have notice a fair amount of nods to literature over the seasons of this compellingly and addictive show. But now there is an official Lost Book Club on ABC.com. Some may see this as ploy to keep the fans hooked on the show but if so they will be more enriched for reading the books.

Some of the titles:

  • Slaughter House Five
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Stranger in a Strange Land
  • Carrie
  • Of Mice and Men
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Turn of the Screw
  • The Brothers Karamazov
  • Watership Down
  • Bonjour, Babar
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Lord of the Flies

You can see it’s a mix of classics and contemporary novels as well as a few children’s titles thrown in. Think I’ll go back and re-read some of these to see if I can pick up on any clues for Season 5. Wondering if any libraries will use this to help draw in adult readers to their Summer Reading Clubs?