Are we scared of libraries closing?

People seem to think that librarians are scared of technology, especially middle-aged women librarians with their hair in a bun. (Sound like anyone you know?)

The fear is not of technology but technology alone will not keep people coming to the library. People will have the same technology at home that they can get at the library.

The fear we have is that jobs will be lost. E-books don’t need to be processed, repaired, or shelved, and they don’t go overdue because they are automatically returned. When I first started in the library business, there were more jobs, because we typed and filed catalogue cards on top of everything else that needs to be done in a library.

I already have a problem because my avid readers just go out and buy (paper) books before I can get books shipped and processed. If libraries were completely digital, people would join Amazon Unlimited and just stay home, especially in the winter.

Our hours are cut every year, and then the value of what we do doesn’t show because we don’t have time to do what we SHOULD be doing (Reader’s Advisory, programs, staying current of new publications).

In 50 years, the library will be a server at city hall with a part-time person (or even a volunteer) choosing e-books and downloading them from time to time. We will lose the warmth, the human contact, and a chance to talk to someone “whose job is to read” (ha, ha) to get suggestions. I’m glad I won’t be alive to see that day.

I think we have reason to be afraid

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Now THIS is a true 21st Century Library!

I guess this is the kind of library we should be aiming at. Maybe if our libraries were arranged differently, and books were easier to find, people would borrow more books.

Food for thought.

21st Century Library Blog

The Nieuwe Bibliotheek(New Library) in Almere, Netherlands has built a Library that embodies theideals of the 21st Century library!

“They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users.”

What they found led them to follow a model more relatable to their patrons:

“Guided by patron surveys, administrators tossed out traditional methods of library organization, turning to retail design and merchandising for inspiration. They now group books by areas of interest, combining fiction and nonfiction; they display books face-out to catch the eye of browsers; and they train staff members in marketing and customer service techniques.”

Based on feedback from their community they included a wide variety of services, spaces and programming.

“The library is also a Seats2meet (S2M) location where patrons are empowered to help one another in exchange for free, permanent, coworking space, and they utilize the S2M Serendipity Machine to connect…

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Mon grain de sel sur le rôle d’une bibliothèque

Peut-être suis-je vieux-jeu et on pourrait me dire que j’ai besoin d’évoluer dans mon opinion de ce que c’est qu’une bibliothèque, mais il me semble que la bibliothèque est un endroit où on va pour lire et pour chercher des livres à lire à la maison.

Aujourd’hui, les bibliothèques se déguisent en magasin du vidéo et en arcade. Le monde s’achète ses propres livres électroniques pour lire partout à son rhythm et moi la première. Il faut examiner nos énoncés de mission.

Nous montons des arcades et nous nous félicitons d’avoir augmenter le nombre de visiteurs, mais si ces visiteurs-là partent avec un DVD à 1$ et aucun livre, ou s’ils viennent pour jouer à des jeux vidéo et ils partent les mains vides, nous avons échoué.

N’importe quel magasin qui reçevrait des clients qui viennent voir et qui n’achètent rien s’inquiéterait et changerait vite ses strategies de vente.

Je crois qu’une bibliothèque c’est d’abord et avant tout un endroit pour susciter un amour de la lecture. Les films et les jeux vidéo n’ont pas besoin de promotion. Nous devrions créer un sentiment de communauté en établissant encore d’autres clubs de lecture et en offrant des activités qui donnent aux utilisateurs une occasion de répondre aux livres qu’ils ont bien lu. Ces activités vont alilmenter un intérêt chez d’autres utilisateurs pour lire ces livres-là à leur tour.

Des exemples d’activités seraient: une soirée de sketches basés sur les livres lus ou bien de la poésie inspirée par les livres lus, des événements de même. Bien sûr, les utilisateurs vont être gênés, mais si c’est de l’art visual ou une presentation filmée, les autres utilisateurs ne verront pas leurs erreurs.

Merci de me laisser un commentaire pour me dire si je suis dans les patates ou non.

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Sound-off on what libraries should be

I’m wondering if I’m just old fashioned, and maybe my idea of what a library is needs to evolve, but it seems to me a library is a place where one goes to read or pick up books to read at home.

Now that libraries are turning into an inexpensive video store and gaming room and people are buying their own e-books so that they can read at their own pace, and carry their books around easily, we need to examine our mission statements.

We set up game rooms and congratulate ourselves on increasing the numbers of people coming in, but if they leave with a DVD rented for $1 and no books, or if they come to game and then leave empty handed, we have failed.

Any department store that had customers coming in and looking but not buying would be worried and would be changing their strategies.

I believe that libraries are first and foremost places that promote a love of reading. Video games and movies don’t need promotion. We should be fostering a sense of community by establishing more reading clubs and creative activities that respond to books that patrons have actually read, which will make other patrons want to read those books. Some examples of these activities would be a skit night, sharing poems inspired by books the patron has read, events like that. Of course, certain patrons would be shy to participate, but if it’s visual art that is already prepared, or if it is a filmed presentation, the other patrons wouldn’t see their mistakes.

Please leave a comment to tell me if I’m out in left field or not.

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Je me tiens avec les pros!

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Récemment, j’ai eu le privilège de connaître Kenneth Oppel (un auteur jeunesse Canadien qui est bien connu) alors qu’il est venu à Québec dans le cadre du Performing Arts Festival.

Je n’ai pas été surprise d’apprendre qu’il a des enfants, parce qu’il a parlé avec les enfants qui étaient là de façon très naturelle. Il avait preparé une très belle présentation power point dans laquelle on voit son livre “Fils du ciel” qui flotte dans l’espace, ainsi que des papiers qui montrent les recherches qu’il a faites sur les primates pour son livre “Demi-frère” et même des photos des personnages qu’il a mis sur son train mythique qui figure dans son nouveau livre “The boundless.” (Ce livre-là n’est pas encore traduit en français). L’assistance fut captivée.

Il a été très patient avec les enfants quand ils lui ont demandé (pour la troisième fois) combien de livres il a déjà écrits (31) et, à son tour, il leur a demandé de raconter leurs propres projets de création littéraire.

En tant qu’auteure, j’étais très intéressée par les photos de son bureau à la maison (je rêve d’avoir un bureau semblable un jour) mais surtout j’étais intéressée par tous les brouillons qu’il a faits pour un de ses livres et combien de corrections que ses éditeurs lui ont suggérées. J’ai compris alors que c’est tout à fait normal pour les auteurs de se faire critiquer et je ne me décourage plus pour toutes les corrections qu’il a falu que je fasses en rédigeant la suite à “Ne viens pas ici, Julie!”

J’ai eu l’occasion de lui demander si je dois refaire ma suite ou si je dois publier chaque tôme dans la série de la perspective d’un personnage différent.  Il m’a dit que je devais faire ce qui me convient à moi et que c’est seulement moi qui puisse déterminer ce qui est convenable. J’apprécie beaucoup sa sagesse.

Merci, Ken, pour une présentation très encourageante et nous vous souhaitons tout le meilleur pour votre carrière déjà pleine de belles réussites.

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Hangin’ with the pros!

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I recently had the privilege of meeting Kenneth Oppel, a well-known YA author when he came here to Quebec City as part of the Performing Arts Festival.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that he has kids, because he interacted with them very naturally. He had a very well-done power point presentation that showed his book “Airborn” floating in outer space, some of the research that he did on primates for his book “Half brother” and some of the characters that he put on the mythic train featured in his newest book “The boundless.” The students in attendance were captivated.

He was very patient with the kids when they asked for the third time how many books he has written (31) and asked them about their own writing projects. He must be an awesome father.

As an author, I was very interested in the pictures of his home office (I dream of having one some day) but mostly all the drafts he went through for one of his books, and how many things his editors wanted him to change. I saw that this is just normal for authors, and no longer felt discouraged by all the things I needed to change when writing the sequel to “Don’t come here, Julie!”

I had a chance to talk with him afterwards about whether I should rewrite my sequel or publish each book in the series from a different character’s perspective. He told me that I should do what feels right for me, and that I’m the only person that can determine that. I really appreciated his wisdom.

Thank you, Ken, for a very encouraging time, and all the best in your already successful career.

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Tu auras beaucoup de temps pour écrire

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You’ll have a lot of time to write!

Hi, everyone,

I’m sure you are wondering why I haven’t written in my blog for so long. Lots of things have been happening in my personal life that made it difficult to write.

I broke my foot in Aug 2011, and thought that I would have time to write. However, a lot of my time was spent going to medical appointments, and it took a lot more time that it would normally take to do things like making meals and washing my hair. Dealing with unemployment insurance and such also took up a lot of my time. Normally such a break would take eight to ten weeks to heal, but mine took fifteen weeks to heal. About the time when my foot was close to healed, the Institute of Children’s Literature in Connecticut offered me a place in their advanced program, based on my instructor’s recommendation and a committee’s evaluation of my work in the program that I had just finished. I agreed, because I was eager to continue honing my writing skills.

I was just starting to get my life back on track, when my brother died on the operating table on Nov 30, 2011. I was thankful to still be off work, but instead of reading and writing, I spend my time crying and trying to comprehend what had happened. Of course, working with my family on funeral arrangements long distance took up a lot of time, too.  The wonderful man that I was seeing was very supportive and, before I left, we had a long, romantic supper together and talked about taking an extended trip overseas in a few years. I wasn’t thinking about writing.

I got through the funeral, and came back home in Jan 2012 anxious to get back to work and to spend time with my guy. I was informed by the school board that I was put on leave with pay at one of my schools, because they didn’t want me to do the stairs at that school. This meant that I would have every afternoon off with pay until the end of the school year. I planned to use that time for reading and writing. However, that time got used to think about my brother and cry. Then, a few weeks later, I found out that my elderly mother, the only member of my immediate family that I have left, was diagnosed with cancer. My guy stopped returning my phone messages and text messages, and I couldn’t even consider using my afternoons to write. I had a lot of grieving to do. I’m happy to report that my mother got through her chemo and has been cancer-free for around a year and a half now.

Back to Jan 2013: I trudged along, trying to start writing “Don’t tell Julie!” but I couldn’t concentrate, and was obliged to ask for an extension for every single assignment. I wanted to just forget about my life as a writer completely until I got my personal life back on track, but I had already paid for my online course and I wanted to try to use those assignments as something positive to think about.

I ended up meeting another guy later that month, but it’s been a rocky road, and that turned into yet another distraction. I had to learn to set some limits and boundaries and, when I started doing so, the assignments started getting emailed on time, with no more requests for extensions.

You probably won’t believe me, but in Jan 2014, I broke my leg (at least it’s a change from breaking feet) and, again, I was back to spending my days going to medical appointments and taking care of myself as best I could. However, I did manage to get some writing done this winter, and have finished the rough draft of “Don’t tell Julie!”

It’s hard for women to compartmentalize their lives and think about one thing at a time, and I’m no exception to the rule. When difficult situations drag on, I spend my emotional and mental energy thinking of what I have to do to make the situation I’m obsessed about better. A loved one has a problem that has a big impact on my life, and I dream about solutions rather than letting the person learn to take responsibility for the situation and make things right. Again, my trying to solve this person’s problem drains my energy and it’s hard to concentrate on my writing.

I have always depended heavily on my agenda, but I am learning that I need to schedule work, medical appointments, ESL students, etc. into the agreed upon time slots and then schedule time for cooking and cleaning. This does leave some time slots for writing. Maybe the writing should come first, but I concentrate better in a clean environment. If my keyboard and desk are dusty, and I don’t know what I’m going to have for supper, I think about those things rather than spending the next hour writing. I’m more productive if I take a few minutes to dust and take something out of the freezer that I can throw in the oven. Once I do those things, I can concentrate on writing for the following hour or so.

If I get up at a reasonable time on a Saturday and get my laundry started and my dishes done, along with any other housecleaning, it’s surprising how productive I can be at the keyboard Saturday afternoon. However, If I sleep in till 11: 00, take a shower, have brunch, then do housecleaning all afternoon, my Saturday is shot before I even get started writing. My health may require some extra sleep, but I feel better when I get that extra sleep by going to bed a bit earlier on Friday night.

Fighting for that time dedicated to writing may involve letting the phone ring, writing down a list of things to do in the next few days instead of just doing those things right away, and saying no to certain activities. These are still things I am working out for myself, but I’ve noticed an improvement.

Have you had similar experiences with your personal time management? Do you manage to find time to finish projects that you would like to finish or even start? Do you have any suggestions for me? Please leave a comment in the comments section below.

 

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Standing Tall with Turner Syndrome

I don’t know when exactly I was diagnosed with Turner Syndrome. I remember getting my cheek swabbed when I was 10 or 11, but I wasn’t told why. I didn’t actually hear the term Turner Syndrome until I was 15. Back then, there wasn’t much they could do for me, so I gladly closed my file in the Genetics department of the hospital when I turned 20 or so and went on with my life.

About 25 years later, in Dec 2010, I had this overwhelming urge to do research on this extremely rare condition, even though I had a book signing to prepare for, a trip back to Saskatchewan to spend Christmas with my family for the first time in 3 years, and a lot of other things on my mind. I wanted to wait until Jan, but God was constraining me to do it right away.

I learned that TS can be related to a host of other conditions: Diabetes, hearing loss (check), rheumatoid arthritis (check, although it’s not a high percentage), osteoporosis (check), short stature (check) etc, etc. When I read the Wikipedia article, I thought they were describing me. Except for the Diabetes, they were spot on.

TS results from a missing X chromosome, therefore, it only affects women. Scientists still don’t know why this chromosome is missing, but they say it has nothing to do with heredity. The thing I learned that really blew me away was that 99% of baby girls missing this chromosome end up being miscarried. I had a 1% chance of being born! I am still humbled by the thought.

I found an ad on the Canadian Turner Society’s website that said, “Calling all authors” which invited people to contribute an article telling their TS stories. I sent the editor an email asking if it was too late, and she replied that it wasn’t too late, but she would need my article by the end of the month. Then I understood why it was so pressing that I do the research. I was leaving for SK  soon, and didn’t want my family time to be taken up with writing. I got right on the ball and sent my article the following Monday. 

The editor invited me down to NJ to a Christmas party for TS women and their families. I had never met anyone else with TS, so I drove 20 hours to spend about 20 hours with her and her family, and it was worth every minute of driving and effort. Fortunately, it happened just before I left for SK.

For various reasons, the book wasn’t published right away, but we launched it in Oct. 2013, at a seminar on TS held in Boston. It was closer than NJ, and I had great weather for driving. Thirteen out of eighteen contributors were there, and it was a life-changing experience to meet these amazing women. One came all the way from London, another came from Kansas, so I was by no means the one who travelled the farthest.

The turnout was twice what I was expecting and, after our presentation, people went back to buy a second or even third copy of our book, presumably to give to their doctors.

There were two young mothers there who had recently learned that their very young girls had TS. Since the condition is so little known, these young mothers were frightened, wondering if their daughters would have normal lives, wondering how to meet their special needs, wondering how to avoid making mistakes in raising them. After hearing our stories, they felt better, and I had a chance to remind them that it is not possible to raise children without making mistakes. 

We had two lovely, quiet evenings to get to know each other, and talk without being interrupted. I was struck by how similar my experiences were to the women in my age group, but how different our lives were from the lives of the younger women who grew up receiving Human Growth Hormone injections.

It was very difficult to go back to real life, and I was in a down all the following week. I asked God to give me something to look forward to, and a couple of days later, I got an email from the editor saying that she had been invited to present the book at the Canadian Turner Society national conference, in Montreal, in May. She thought that I should go, too. I wrote back to say that it was too far for me to drive, but she knew I was only joking, (I live in Quebec City). I have now made my arrangements, and am psyched to go.

If you will be in Montreal on the last weekend in May, please contact us through our facebook page to get the coordinates, and come see us at the conference. Even if you won’t be there, please visit our facebook page anyway and see the stories that have been posted there, and the interesting discussions.

I’ll tell you more after the conference.

 

 

 

 

 

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Sheree Fitch, Canadian author / Auteure canadienne

On Fri, April 12th, DDO School had the priviledge of welcoming Sheree Fitch, Canadian author for a recitation.  She gave a very fun, animated presentation of her poetry for children, and we had a good visit after.  Thank you, Sheree!

Le 12 avril, l’École DDO a eu le privilège de recevoir Mme Sheree Fitch, auteure canadienne.  Elle a donné une belle récitation très animé de sa poésie pour enfants et j’ai pu prendre un temps avec elle par après.  Merci, Sheree!

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