Desk Set Sponsored Events
Tomorrow night (12/7) at Biblioball!!!
Don’t forget to bring your dollars! (tickets are 1 for $2, 5 for $5, 15 for $10)
The more you buy, the better your chances, and the more money we raise!
Raffle winners will be called at 12 midnight, you must be present to win!!
By entering the Fancy Pants Raffle, you may win great prizes and help raise money for these awesome organizations:
Check out the prizes you can win below! A big thank you to our generous raffle donors!
Biblioball 2013: Overdue Romance is coming to the Bell House on Saturday, December 7th and we need your help. To make this event a success, we need excited, charming volunteers, like you, before, during and after the event.
If you want to work with a friend, your best bet is Front Door
or Raffle Ticket Booth
duty–we need two people at each of these stations. If you don’t want to miss any of the action give Roving Raffle
or Photo Booth
a try. All Biblioball volunteers will enjoy 50% off ticket admission
and, of course, our undying gratitude and appreciation. What?! That’s right, fill out the Biblioball Volunteer Form
to let us know how you’d like to get involved this year and as a thank you your ticket will cost only $11. If you have questions, feel free to contact Angie Ungaro and ask away.
The Biblioball is a great place to party, meet fellow book lovers, and win raffle prizes, but it’s also a fundraiser for two great causes. This year, we are proud to be supporting the BOOKlyn Shuttle
and LIT: Literacy for Incarcerated Teens
. Both of these are fantastic local charities that are helping to foster literacy and a lifelong love of learning among some of our most vulnerable community members. So make sure you head down to The Bell House this weekend and help out by dancing the night away.
So, you’re still on the fence about whether or not to come to this year’s Biblioball on December 7 at the Bell House. Did you know that besides being a party filled with raffles, live music, and burlesque, that the Biblioball is also a literacy fundraiser extravaganza?! This year, we will be partying for two fantastic local causes – the BOOKlyn Shuttle (featured in last week’s post) and LIT Literacy for Incarcerated Teens.
Founded in 2002, by NYC teacher Rebecca Howlett, LIT is a nonprofit dedicated to providing young people access to books and programming that increase their literacy skills and foster a love of reading. For the detained and incarcerated youth of New York City, these are simple needs that not being met. Each year, the NYC Department of Juvenile Justice receives over 7,000 children between 8 and 16, 96% of whom read two or more years below grade level. LIT recognizes the importance that reading and literacy serve as a way for young people to focus their identities and outlooks positively. “LIT makes it possible for school libraries serving New York’s detained and incarcerated youth to acquire new books and other library media at a rate three times greater than that of school library allocations received from State and City funding.”
In all of their libraries, LIT works with city and state agencies to:
- Order and maintain curriculum-approved books and reading materials for young adult readers from the ages of 8 to 17.
- Coordinate author visits and accompanying peer-directed book discussions. Recent visiting authors include Walter Dean Meyers, Tonya Bolden, Coe Booth, and Torrey Maldonado. The young people receive personal copies of the author’s books.
- Provide literacy programming relevant to young people’s reading level, with the aim of improving literacy and encouraging enthusiasm for reading in young people.
For over 10 years, LIT has worked to make a difference in the lives of some of NYC’s most vulnerable young people. Here are just a few of their accomplishments:
- Introduced the critically acclaimed Artists and Authors series, in which established and upcoming professionals visit the libraries to discuss their work and interact in informal settings with the students.
- Coordinated the visits of authors and artists and the accompanying peer-directed discussions, and purchased individual copies of each author’s book for distribution to the children. In the 2010-2011 program year 17 authors visited and interacted with over 300 students.
- Ordered new books and maintain stock levels of curriculum-approved and other reading materials for children and young adult readers.
- Provided shelves, audio-visual equipment and other resources to create modern, user-oriented libraries.
- Provided literary programming appropriate to the varied reading levels of the youth to develop and sustain enthusiasm for reading.
So come to the Biblioball and support the inspiring work of this fantastic community based organization. Learn more about what LIT is doing by following them @LIT4Teens, checking out their newsfeed, and of course, coming to the Biblioball!
Bibliobeat, Desk Set Sponsored Events
There are plenty of reasons to attend this year’s Biblioball on December 7 - dancing, the fancy pants raffle, burlesque, happy hour,and did I mention dancing? If that’s not enough to get you off your feet and scrambling to find your most literary party outfit, maybe one of the fantastic charities that the Biblioball is supporting this year will. As you know, the Desk Set is committed to promoting literacy and this year’s Biblioball will benefit LIT: Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (more about them next week!) and the Booklyn Shuttle, which I have been volunteering with since January 2012.
Who We Are
The BOOKlyn Shuttle
will be a community book bus that will serve the North Brooklyn community. Through this project, we are looking to inspire, stimulate, and improve literacy among North Brooklyn’s youth. We aim to cultivate a vibrant community of active learners who share a lifelong love of reading, introducing new and exploratory pathways towards success and opportunity.
This BOOKlyn Shuttle is a project of St Nicks Alliance
, a nonprofit dedicated to the revitalization of North Brooklyn. For the past 38 years, SNA has helped meet the needs of low and middle income families . They have developed and preserved affordable housing, provide health care and elder care, workforce and economic development, youth services, and arts classes. read more…
Why the Project is Needed
According to the Citizens’ Committee for Children (CCC) of New York, Community District 1 of Brooklyn (i.e. Greenpoint/Williamsburg) has the highest child poverty rate out of all 59 New York City districts, with 55% of the children in our neighborhood living below the poverty line. New York City’s overall child poverty rate is 30%, by comparison. read more…
Whether rich or poor, residents of the United States or China, illiterate or college graduates, parents who have books in the home increase the level of education their children will attain, according to a 20-year study led by Mariah Evans, University of Nevada, Reno associate professor of sociology and resource economics. read more..
What we are Doing:
We are currently working to raise $100,000 to launch this project in the spring/summer of 2014. We have had local fundraisers, benefits, and are working to raise awareness in the community.
What We Hope to Achieve:
We will provide books to the children of North Brooklyn while helping to foster a lifelong love of reading and learning. With the help of librarians and reading coaches, we have plans to include a variety of programming and parent outreach. With the design of the bus, we hope to have story times, crafts, readers advisory, literacy tips for parents, and more.
For more information and to see how you can get involved, you can see my previous blog post about this project. So get you, your friends, your neighbor, your ex-boyfriend, and the mailman to buy tickets and support the BOOKlyn Shuttle. If you’re interested in making an additional donation, you can visit the BOOKlyn Shuttle page on the St Nicks website.
See you on December 7th!
From Our Guest Bloggers
Thanks to the Port Washington (NY) Public Library for this photo of their book cart drill team in action! Gotta love that library spirit.
Librarians are some of the most passionate people I know. Most of us work multiple nights and weekends, answer any question put to us, and, when asked, dance with bookcarts. Indeed, one trustee in our area recently compared what we do to a religion, and there is some element of a calling to librarianship.
This passion can come at a price, though. The price of getting run down, burned out, or whatever other favorite term you have for just being bone tired and waking up wondering when you’ll be able to get back in bed and pull the covers over your head. I know that I have experienced this, especially in the past three months.
On the morning of July 31, I submitted my final project for my masters in public administration. It was the culmination of two years worth of Saturdays that were spent in class in Manhattan, plus evenings working on assignments, juggled with my work and home responsiblities. On that sunny July day, I finally felt free. For a few hours. I got home from work that night to find my wife lying on the floor in pain. She had fallen down the basement stairs and broken every bone in her ankle. As a bonus, she tore a ligament. She’s been home since and has not been able to walk. Did I mention we have three dogs and a kid who was about to start college?
Yes, it’s been rough. Autumn is an especially busy season for me, with multiple evening meetings. I love what I do, but sometimes the many demands have been hard to balance. I know that my other library friends experience this, too – trying to get all of your personal issues taken care of when you work two nights; trying to keep a smile on your face and provide excellent service when you’ve just been told to expect layoffs; trying to offer great programming without a budget.
So, in consultation with my outreach specialist, Andrea Snyder, and with a tip of the hat to the wonderful people who participate in #libchat on Twitter (Wednesday nights from 8-9:30 EST!), here are a few ways to find your balance and get your library groove back.
1) Take a walk to clear your head. This was mentioned multiple times during last Wednesday’s #libchat. A walk around the building works, but a brief walk outside is even better if you can swing it.
2) Try a deep breathing exercise. While it is hardly scientific evidence, I can attest that if you begin a regular practice of deep breathing for a few minutes every morning and evening, you will be able to go back to that happy place in times of stress.
3) Put the walk and breathing together.
4) Listen to music (if permitted). Whether you like Pandora, Spotify, Songza, or another service, working to a beat you enjoy helps improve your mood.
5) Take a break and learn a bit about the natural world at the same time by watching an animal cam. They’re all here, from honey bees to seals.
6) Librarians love projects! So participate in Project TP. Also, hurling virtual toilet paper is a great stress reliever.
7) Write a magnetic poem.
8) Coffee (Or tea. Or water.). As with the walk, sometimes this is more about getting out of your current environment than it is about the beverage.
10) When all else fails, wine. (Well, when you get home.)
I would love to hear more about your coping mechanisms – the things that help you find your balance.
From Our Guest Bloggers Creativity
My creativity toybox
One of my favorite workshops to present is on Creativity.
Admittedly, the first time I offered this, I was asked if I would be teaching crafts. Umm, not exactly. Crafts are great, but this is focused on creative thought.
I’ve also been met by some skepticism from people who believe that a workshop must be directly related to a library service to be useful; they do not see the connection between playing creativity games and front-line work in a public library. I would argue that the best library staff members, who provide the best service, are the most creative! It takes some out of the box thinking to help someone with a prickly reference question, find a novel for that person who seems to have read everything, or work with a patron who arrives wearing a tinfoil hat.
I came up with the concept for the workshop after I read Daniel Pink’s book, A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. Pink describes six essential abilities – his Six Senses – for success in the future:
Design: The ability to create something that is not just useful, but beautiful.
Story: The ability to create a compelling narrative.
Symphony: The ability to see the big picture and put everything together.
Empathy: The ability to understand others and nuture relationships.
Play: Because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Meaning: Dedication to a higher purpose, beyond the daily grind.
Pink offers fabulous exercises at the end of each chapter, and I highly recommend that you read his book. I am always recommending this book! But I also thought there would be value in bringing people together to explore their own creative process and learn from others (also, some people just aren’t going to read the book – but maybe I can change their minds about that). In the workshop, I set up six stations – one for each of the Six Senses – with activities available at each station that relate to the sense.
Some (but not all) of the toys and activities include:
Thinkpac: A Brainstorming Card Deck. I put this out with a copy of Michalko’s Thinkertoys.
IDEO Method Cards. A deck to inspire design.
Rory’s Story Cubes. Can you create a story that links all 9 images?
Creative Whack Pack. A deck of strategies to help you think more creatively. I put this out with a copy of Roger von Oech’s A Whack on the Side of the Head and the Ball of Whacks.
Yamodo! Create drawings and definitions for made-up words.
Disruptus. This is a recent addition to my toybox. The idea behind the game is to disrupt your usual thought patterns and arrive at new solutions.
Do you have any games or exercises that you have seen unleash your staff’s creativity? Share them in the comments!
From Our Guest Bloggers
Here I am eating lobster at a conference! Thanks to Susie Brown for this photo.
Hi! I’m Elizabeth Olesh and I’ll be your Guest Blogger this month. I’m the Assistant Director at Nassau Library System, on Long Island.
I have many, many interests. Some say too many. In addition to my MLS, I have degrees in English, Photography, and an MPA (that’s a Master of Public Administration, if you’re wondering). I’ve worked as an adult programmer, young adult librarian, reference librarian, and outreach specialist. I recently served as chair of the ALA Notable Books Council, but I’ve also been president of the New York Library Association’s Ethnic Services Roundtable.
In other words, I’m not the librarian who is going to spend an entire month guest blogging about the best way to catalog 19th century dinner napkins. I’m just not that specialized. I could probably spend the month blogging about books, but I already do that elsewhere.
After a lot of thought and a few discussions with my muse, I have decided to focus the month on you, Dear Reader. Yes, it’s going to be Professional Development month at The Desk Set. Don’t worry – I’m not planning to read to you from PowerPoint slides and we won’t have any embarrassing role plays (well, probably not). I’m really passionate about helping people finding the best in themselves, so it is my intent to pass along some resources that might take you – and me – in new directions.
Really – you should!
So, grab your coffee, take a few doughnut holes, and get ready for our adventure. Before we start, take a look at a poster I have in my office. —>
Try to keep this in mind during the month. Because it’s true.
From Our Guest Bloggers technology, user experience, website
As an Emerging Technologies Librarian, I spend a lot of time refining and building out my library’s web presence. Some of that is exploring social media and other online venues, but quite a lot of my work takes place right on our homepage. We librarians come from an information science background, so we spend energy and time on making sure our websites are well-organized, usable, and get patrons to their resources quickly—and that should be a top priority. But I really believe that to be leaders in the information ecosystem, our websites must look and feel like we are.
As the designer Charles Eames said, “The details are not details. They make the product.” A great user experience means allocating time to the small stuff. And knowing which small stuff to attend to means observing UX trends and shifts. Here are a few things I’ve incorporated into my library’s website (and my own projects, too).
Responsive websites arrange their content dynamically based on the viewing device using smart CSS. Instead of having to maintain a separate mobile website, your website detects the user’s screen width and displays the page accordingly. A beautiful example of this is the library catalog page at the University of Technology Sydney. Make your browser window skinny and wide—see how things change subtly?
The seminal article about responsive design was written in 2010 by Ethan Marcotte. Since then, just about every major website has adopted this UX philosophy.
Flat design iconography
If you updated to iOS7 this week, you’ll notice that the heavy-gradient, photorealistic look of iOS is gone, replaced visually by a flat, poppy look. This flat design look is a recent UX trend and looks pretty fly, if you ask me. I coopted some flat design icons offered for free by Pixeden to spice up our services page and give some visual oomph.
Locally, METRO held a recent Iconathon with the Noun Project to develop free-to-use, GLAM-friendly icons. They’re clever, extremely useful, and free to use.
Any other useful resources, web-savvy readers?
Thanks for hosting me as your September Guest Blogger! If you feel like you’ll miss me, I also write an Emerging Tech in Libraries blog, post occasionally on my personal blog, and am constantly on Twitter.
From Our Guest Bloggers fun, makerspace, New York City
Happy Friday, librarians! As we get closer to a lovely autumnal weekend, I thought I’d present a small collection of cool places and spaces around NYC. Having been here for a year, I still feel like a relative newbie. Here are some things I’ve come across and liked.
Note: I work in Manhattan and live in Brooklyn, so these are mostly limited to those boroughs. Please comment with other recommendations!
NYC Resistor Class (Photo by Zack Hoeken)
Hackerspaces & makerspaces
NYC Resistor: offers classes, throws an incredible party, and is open to the public on Thursdays nights (Boerum Hill)
Hack Manhattan: offers classes and workshops; open to the public Tuesday nights (Lower Manhattan)
Alpha One Labs: offers classes and workshops, many kid-friendly; open to the public Tuesday nights (Greenpoint)
There are also many other kinds of creative spaces around, like 3rd Ward in Brooklyn (which offers classes) and NYU’s ITP (academic program that puts on events).
Note: like to make things? Come by Maker Faire this weekend! I’ll be volunteering on Saturday afternoon in the Hardware Hacking Area at the Learn to Solder tent. Say hi!
“Anaglyph” from a stereograph in the NYPL collection. Cumberland House, New York. 1859?-1896.
Organizations doing cool things
NYPL Labs: Obviously. Recent cool things: Stereogranimator. Upcoming cool thing: Old New York.
Rhizome: They do lots of digital preservation work for digital art, especially with the New Museum. Keep an eye out for interesting panels.
CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative: I know a lot of librarians who are exploring DH. CUNY DHI is growing and puts on events and talks (some open to the public, some limited to CUNY). Theorizing the Web was a great conference that DHI put on last spring.
Unnameable Books: My favorite NYC bookstore. It’s in Prospect Heights.
Tender Buttons: If you’re looking for an interesting collection and highly specific metadata/organization schema, this button store on the UES is incredible. (If you’re looking for buttons: equally incredible.)
Nerd York City: A digital place of inspiration—the site aggregates the coolest (nerdiest) goings-on.
Where else should we go, readers?
From Our Guest Bloggers academic libraries, digital literacy, library instruction
Information literacy & digital literacy
For years, we’ve stressed internet information literacy in the academic library. Overall, we do a fairly good job. We academic librarians have taught many cohorts of students what a reliable web resource looks like. We’ve made a multitude of guides to finding articles and journals, and our students can generally describe what a database is. They get what they need and get on with their papers.
But many of our teaching resources don’t yet reflect how drastically and quickly the information field has changed. And I don’t just mean the data deluge or information overload.
Understanding search engines
Most of our information-finding is facilitated by search engines combing through enormous indexes, usually Google or academic options like EBSCOhost. We perform these searches on a daily basis, often not understanding the black box of the search engine. Moreover, we may not recognize that the search engine itself changes on a daily basis—its algorithms are constantly updated to better serve the user and the company. These invisible tweaks are determined by data- and opinion-based judgements, such as ranking eHow content lower or ranking an oft-cited article higher in search results.
A library instruction activity that intrigues me is asking students to talk through how a search engine works. How would they build and maintain a search service? What makes one resource more relevant than another?
In library school, a course assignment I enjoyed was writing a simple tf*idf script to classify documents as relevant or not relevant based on keyword. It was extremely helpful to have a hands-on understanding of simple document indexes. Librarians who program at least minimally, or who teach students who code, I highly recommend this exercise.
We have seen search engine algorithms get smarter, however. They know your personal traits and trends. As we know, by default, when you’re signed into Google, the search results will be “tailored” to you—affected by factors including the links you tend to click on. Even when you’re not signed in, results may still differ based on your location and other data points (including, for some companies, your operating system). This creates a filter bubble, which at best can deliver what you’re looking for immediately and at worst enables an echo chamber in which only one opinion or worldview is apparent.
Eli Pariser’s 2011 TED talk on filter bubbles is short but essential viewing:
Eli Pariser: Beware Online Filter Bubbles
One danger of these rapidly-evolving algorithms is that they change invisibly, frictionlessly. Things “just work,” though we don’t know what is changing or what we’re not seeing. That’s a serious amount of trust we place in an information-finding service we use daily and even hourly. During this summer of surveillance leaks, “serious amount of trust” in a tech company has to be a red flag.
As Pariser demonstrated, it is interesting to compare two sets of search results from two different individuals signed into Google. Ask students with active Google accounts to sign in and compare the same search term to someone else’s results. Specific current topics like “NYC mayor” or products like “smartphone” will probably net some differences, particularly in a diverse group. Mention to students that when signed into Google, they can compare their personalized search results to “global” results, which are ostensibly neutralized of any personalized filters.
Filter bubbles in academia
If you’re not worried about filter bubbles yet, watch this short promotional video about Primo ScholarRank from Ex Libris. (Primo is a popular discovery solution for libraries that utilizes a one-search-box entry point and faceted searching. ScholarRank is their personalization feature.)
Primo ScholarRank plain and simple (link)
To a large extent, any discovery service for any index is made in the image of its creators and will reflect certain biases, intentional or not. But I have to confess that I felt a special library-flavored horror watching this condescending presentation. The use of stick figures and dumbed-down dialogue hints that Ex Libris is trying hard to mask the worrisome yet vague nature of ScholarRank. If I have trouble understanding what my academic search engine is serving up to me, how will I explain it to my non-technologist colleagues? And then to our students?
Revising information literacy materials
ACRL’s Information Literacy Standard No. 3.2 reads, “The information literate student articulates and applies initial criteria for evaluating both the information and its sources.” As we revisit our information literacy materials in my library, I hope we’ll be talking about how to teach students to evaluate their information sources—and the sources of those sources. Part of me thinks that may be too high-level for students who just want to find an article, any article, for their assigned bibliography. But it’s essential that we teach students—and ourselves—to evaluate not just web pages or journal articles, but every level of the information ecosystem.
Barbara Fister, a librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, recently penned an excellent column in Library Journal, Practicing Freedom in the Digital Library. A choice quote:
In these days of mass surveillance and the massive transfer of public goods into private hands, citizens need to know much more about how information works. They need to understand the moral, economic, and political context of knowledge. They need to know how to create their own, so that they make the world a better, more just place. I’ve long believed that libraries are important for personal growth and enlightenment, but since the National Security Agency revelations, I’ve begun to think we need to do more to help students explore the ways that information functions in our complicated, troubled world, so that they will be aware of what’s at stake and empowered to change it for the better.
This blog post was inspired by a spring 2013 presentation at CUNY by Kate Peterson (Information Literacy Librarian at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities) and Paul Zenke (DesignLab/Digital Humanities Initiative Project Assistant at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) entitled “Hats, Farms, and Bubbles: How Emerging Marketing & Content Production Models are Making Research More Difficult (And What You and Your Students Can Do About It)” (slides PDF—mostly keywords and examples). Maura Smale, the Information Literacy Librarian at NYC College of Technology, wrote a great write-up of the event.
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