Gina Millsap is Running for ALA President!

Gina Millsap, my library’s Executive Director, is a candidate for ALA president for 2013-14! Sweet!

Below is a little info about her from the ALA press release. Before that though  … I LOVE working for Gina. She really knows her stuff, she knows technology, and she knows libraries. And I think she’d make a great ALA president that would actually move the organization forward. Then again, I might be a tad bit biased, too :-)

OK … and now for the press release stuff from ALA:

“Millsap is the Chief Executive Officer of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library in Topeka, Kan. She is nationally known for presenting on cutting edge issues, including 21st century librarianship, process improvement, the use of market segmentation to grow and develop library services and the changes necessary for libraries to thrive in the 21st century.

Millsap has been a continuous member of ALA since 1995 serving as the 2009-2010 president of the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA). She has served on several committees within LLAMA. She also served on ALA’s Advocacy Coordinating Group, 2007-08 and as chair of the Elizabeth J. Futas Catalyst for Change Award Jury, 2002.

She served as president of the Iowa Library Association (2002) and has held leadership positions in the Kansas Library Association (Secretary 2007-2008), the Missouri Library Association (Secretary 1985-1986), the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce, the Ames (Iowa) Chamber of Commerce, and the Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau. From 2004-2009, she participated in the American Bulgarian Library Exchange. She has been a Rotarian for 15 years and a United Way volunteer in both Ames and Topeka. Current community leadership includes serving on the United Way On-Grade Achievement Council and as the co-chair of Heartland Visioning, a community-wide strategic planning process for Topeka and Shawnee County.

Millsap’s honors include Library Journal Mover and Shaker (2007); Zonta Club, Topeka Chapter, honoree for International Women’s Day (2007); and the State of Iowa Governor’s Volunteer Award (2000).

She has a B.A. in library science from the University of Missouri (1976), and an M.A. in library science also from the University of Missouri (1977).

“ALA will be relevant to all generations of librarians by making value to its members its top priority,” Millsap said. “The bottom line is – to create a 21st century library we need 21st century librarians.”

Get the rest of the press release, and info about Barbara Stripling (the other candidate) here. To be fair, Barbara sounds great, too …should be a fun election time!

More Chat in the Catalog

Remember my post on TSCPL’s Meebo chat widget embedded in our library catalog? Since then, we have stopped using the Meebo Me widget. It was great – it helped us start our IM reference service, and it was easy to embed pretty much wherever we wanted. But we grew out of it!

We discovered a few shortcomings, like not being able to send hotlinks through it, and our public services staff really wanted the ability to send an IM to someone else. So now, we’re using Libraryh3lp for our IM reference service. Libraryh3lp gives us those added benefits and more.

And we’re doing a few different things with the catalog embed, too. Here’s a pic of the keyword, No Records Found search:

New version of the Chat Reference service in the catalog

We’re trying to make instructions clear, friendly and attractive. If you click the Ask Now button, you get a tiny IM widget pop-up page. Why pop-up? With our Meebo widget, we discovered that a lot of people would start asking a question, then click something … and they’d be gone, because they had clicked away from the page with the embedded IM widget. Bumer! With our new pop-up version, that problem is solved. Users can click away all they want … and still interact with us.

But even cooler than that – Michael, our web designer (one of his many hats) discovered a way to embed a similar thing on the Search Results page:

Search Results page - Chat added!

This provides more opportunities for patrons to ask questions when they get stuck on a search – even if they’re finding things. Basically, they have access to us ON EVERY SEARCH they do.

And not just IM access – that’s provided via the Ask Now button. But we also include our phone number and a link to our email Ask a Librarian form.

We’re excited about this – should be fun to see if we get more catalog-related questions.

Facebook Catalog App

app on my profileMy way cool web team recently built a Facebook app for our library catalog! If you’re interested in trying it out, simply search for tscpl catalog in Facebook and our app will appear.

Not necessarily a new thing (do an app search in Facebook for library catalog and you’ll find quite a few) … but very useful, nonetheless.

Why haven’t we built an iPhone app like the DC Public Library? Our big goal is to focus on our local community, and build for them. I’m guessing that DCPL has quite a few iPhone users already (or at least potential library users that are also iPhone owners). Topeka? Not so much. I’ve been watching our web stats – last month, we had 63 iphone visits … about .18% of our total web visits. Not enough to design for (yet).

But Facebook use in Topeka? Judging by a quick walkthrough of our building (and peeking at what patrons are doing) – huge.

More Facebook app screenshots:


23 Things Summit notes

Today, I participated in the 23 Things Summit, a webinar focused on exploring and improving Learning 2.0/23 Things programs put on by Webjunction, MaintainIT, TechSoup, and Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. For my tiny part of the summit, I interviewed Helene Blowers and Michael Sauers. Here are notes on other people I listened to:

Twitter hashtag – #23smt

I interviewed Helene Blowers – here are my questions:

  • The concept of a Learning 2.0 or a 23 Things program originated with you, I believe. Can you share where this idea came from? Why did you start it? What was going on?
  • How did you start the program? Was it considered employee training? Did everyone at the library have to participate? Was there some impetus from admin to go through the program?
  • You did the first one – How did it go for your library?
  • If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change and why?
  • Was there any resistance with staff, lower or upper level?
  • It’s now global – how did it start taking off? Where is it now?

Jen Maney

They did 13 things – put them on a wiki

ended up doing a program for the whole state of arizona

2 goals:

  1. encourage exploration of 2.0 tools
  2. provide staff with new tools to better support the role of libraries as places of discovery

3 rules:

  1. give yourself permission to play
  2. make time for discovery
  3. have fun!

what we did right: included things relevant to area libraries, like online gaming, digital downloads – nice.

cool outcomes included: connections between people, rural library participation, early and late beginners, people did it at home, dial up didn’t stop them!, empowerment, not just for young people anymore!

Needed more communication!

Needed more local facilitation, have “a buddy” to help them

more incentives

13% completion rate – numbers weren’t the goal – people are still working on it

Ann Walker Smalley, Ruth Solie

From Minnesota

used blog as delivery method –

tried to avoid things that were downloadable because of public lbirary policies

wow – some libraries actually unblocked things that were blocked just for this program – very cool

1600 registered participants! Wow. 600 finished, 38% finish rate. They received a USB flash drive. Nice.


Next up, me interviewing Michael Sauers

He presented, then I asked two questions:

  • How do you set up getting CE Credits for this? Great idea
  • Has anything come of your program yet, like new services, new blogs, etc?


Bobbi Newman

Missouri River Regional Library – first in the USA to do this after Charlotte’s original program

added MySpace because MySpace was getting bad press, but users were using it so they wanted staff to be familiar with it

Their program ran a full year

Lifelong learning was important

(sorry, I missed stuff here! My bad)


Shirley Biladeau

[aside – our twitter hashtag, #23smt, has trended – it’s #9 right now]

Their program info is here

They encouraged library directors to encourage their staff. Nice.


Q & A

Facilitated by Stephanie Gerding

Q: How do you get buy-in? How to sell this to management? How do you champion the concept of 2.0 to a 1.0 team?

A: Jen – it takes time. Admin has to hear about this stuff more than once.

Q: How do you encourage play?

A: Have peers do the coaching/mentoring

Q: How much time per week is needed for this program?

A: One hour

A: Michael – the answer is: it varies widely person to person. Some people spent 15 minutes, some spent 6 hours, etc.

A: Bobbi – they originally thought 2 hours a week, but participants told them they needed much more time than that

Q: For those running the program – how much time?

A: Bobbi – round 1 took a lot of time! At night, on her own time… Round 2 – comments were left on the official blog rather than on everyone’s blogs

A: Jen had a student working 20 hours a week on this

Q: incentives

A: Michael – used donations

A: Vendors

A: Certificate of completion, mp3 players

A: library association funds!

A: CE certificate credit

A: Bobbi – their team paid for completion gifts out of their own pocket because they believed in it so much – cool

Q: How did you measure participation and completion?

A: spreadsheet – someone used Google spreadsheet

A: Used SurveyMonkey to do a survey about what got answered

Q: DId you use an online community or CMS?

A: Ning, Drupal, wetpaint, Blogger, etc – a variety

Q: Replicating?

A: school librarians DID participate, but had to do it from home because most of the tools used were blocked

Q: did small libraries participate?

A: yes – many one-person-staff libraries did

Q: How did it change your styles as coordinator?

A: converted people to the “go play with it” style

A: remember that people learn in many different styles

Q: Has anyone done a 23 things styled program for patrons?

A: great idea

A: Metronet in MN is doing one with highschool students

Q: How do you deal with people who say they don’t have time?

A: Michael – make it continuous, flexible

A: no time is good for everyone, so provide options

A: make it relevant to their lives

Q: Did anyone use Second Life as a thing to learn?

A: No…

A: Michael mentioned that SL has an extra download component, and many sites can’t or don’t want to install extra software…

Q: Impact on community

A: help patrons with the tools they’re using

A: Bobbi – Outreach tools

I missed a lot! Thankfully, the archive is here.

Watching Local News go Viral

screenshot of twitter reactionWe live in a new world. A world in which local decisions made by very small groups can go viral, can be spread by a variety of social media tools, and can even reach global and unintended audiences. We are no longer private or anonymous! I watched just this thing unfold last Thursday at my library’s Board of Trustees meeting.

We Went Viral

By now, some of you have probably heard about the decision my library’s Board of Trustees made last Thursday regarding restricting access to four books in our collection. By the end of the evening, our very local library board meeting was the 7th hottest “trend” in Twitter.

I had decided to tweet the board meeting – I posted play-by-play public comments made by people in the community and the deliberations of the board on a hot topic. I used #tscpl as a hashtag, since I wanted to provide an easy way for people to follow the meeting as it progressed.

Camera Crews Getting Set UpAnd I started tweeting. I took photos of the local TV news vehicles lined up outside the library and a few pics of the meeting, and posted them to Twitter via the TwitPic service (a service that lets you easily share photos on Twitter). Jim Ogle, general manager at a local TV station (and cool tweep at @jimogle), was also present and tweeting at the meeting, as were a few other Twitter users.

Who followed the conversation? Local Topekans who weren’t at the meeting were following. Library staff that worked the evening shift were following along, too. Since I have my tweets linked to my Facebook status, Facebook friends were also following and participating by making comments and asking questions. Other librarians were following the meeting, as well.

In other news, I trended in twitterAt some point in the evening, our hashtag, #tscpl,”trended” on Twitter. What’s trending? “Trending topics on Twitter are keywords that happen to be popping up in a whole bunch of tweets. We measure these topics and adjust them in real-time throughout the day. It’s a great way of finding out what’s happening right now.” – from Twitter’s blog.

And like I said, we were the 7th hottest trend for a while – sure wish I had a screenshot of that! The screenshot I DID get is from my iPhone, capturing some Twitter Trend-watching services that noticed our hashtag was trending.

We Went Global

The next day, the conversation continued, and it went global. People continued tweeting about the meeting and the decision, and I posted news stories as I found them. An AP reporter was at the Thursday meeting, so we made the AP newswire… and we quickly made the USAToday, the International Herald Tribune, and the Taipei Times, of all places. And of course the usual libraryrelated news sites noticed.

Some unintended but interesting sites: two adult industry news sites (found via twitter searches for tscpl and topeka), some book industry news sites, and a children’s rights group. With some of these, I’m guessing they follow a combination of keyword searches and RSS feeds – they primarily picked up the AP story.

The conversation on those sites is continuing, since many of them allow comments on each article! It’s actually quite interesting to compare the local comments on the Topeka newspaper story to the comments on the USAToday story (98 comments so far).

We’re No Longer Private

What’s this all mean? That Twitter works great as a real-time information spreader and conversation starter. That people are interested even in seemingly local stuff. That … yes … even your small library board meeting is no longer private.

The WORLD is watching.