Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Must Read: Marin County Free Library Blog

I'm collecting links to really good library blogs lately, and Marin County's is my current favorite, and here's why, so far:
  • I love that they explain for their patrons, in plain English, what a blog is. That's courteous and smart.
  • They put all their electronic contact information directly under the "what's a blog/RSS?" stuff in the right-hand sidebar. This is both cool and appealing to tech-savvy users, who will be the first to catch onto their blog initiative, anyway.
  • They use their blog to showcase services, collections, and electronic tools that their patrons may not be aware of. They also use it to provide mini-tutorials on using their online catalogue. Good marketing without an ounce of bombast.
  • Every single post would make me, as an online patron of MCFL, want to ask a librarian for more follow-up information. That's some good blogging right there.


Must Read: YPulse

YPulse, oh, how I love thee. You've got smart, useful categories like Christian Teen Media, Gaming, Magazines, Music, Radio, TV, and Tweens! Your frequent YPulse Essentials posts are lovely smorgasbords of handy data & interesting stories! Your commercial media links are a spot-on primer to youth culture! You're geared towards "media and marketing professionals," so you may not even realize what a wonderful resource you are for teen librarians! Somehow this makes me love you even more. I think I found you through a PubSub search, but I can't be sure. Regardless of where I found you, I'm so glad I did.

Back in the Saddle Again

In the immortal words of Timbaland, it's been a long time. I shouldn't have left you without a dope beat to step to. Or, failing that (since I don't actually own a drum machine), at least a few posts. Digging out from under the electronic & paper-based detritus that accumulated while I was at ALA Midwinter took considerably longer than I'd anticipated. It was a learning experience, though, and I'm posting my tips & notes to self about handling all that stuff, ahead of time and after the conference.

Before The Conference (or vacation, or whatever away time is coming up):

  • Unsubscribe to all your listservs. If you're a moderator, ask someone on the list to be a temporary moderator in your absence. I love YALSA-BK, but I returned to over 300 messages. After telling myself for days that I would read them, I finally deleted them all. In the meantime, I received a number of "mailbox over the limit" messages from my IT Department. Sorry, guys!
  • Set your e-mail to send out "I'm Out of Town" messages. I didn't do that. I now think that was rude. Your correspondents deserve to know that they won't be hearing from you for a while, and when they can look forward to hearing from you once more. Don't rely on being able to check e-mail while you're out of town -- rely on getting it done when you return.
  • Pack marked envelopes for all receipts. You may think you can keep track of your cab receipts, meal receipts, and snack receipts in your nice, roomy wallet. You would be wrong about this. Use one credit card for all transactions, too -- it'll be so much simpler to track your expenses & reimbursements when the bills come next month.

Upon Your Return

  • File your reimbursement requests immediately. The longer you put it off, the longer you wait to pay off your bill, the more likely you are to forget or lose a receipt. That's no good.
  • File your conference report right away, too! I just received a note from my HR guru about this; no report of my doings at the conference = no reimbursement. Quite a motivator. So is time; the longer I wait to summarize what I did, the more likely I am to forget some part of it.
  • Wait to resubscribe to your listservs. Your professional universe will not come crashing down around you if you miss out on another 3-5 days' worth of discussion. Take the time you need to do the following:
  • Respond to all the e-mail, voicemail, and regular mail that may have piled up in your absence. You may need to be a bit ruthless with this part. Delegate where you can; where you can't, prioritize the order in which you respond to issues, duties, or questions that may have arisen in your absence. If you're on a distribution list for periodicals, pass them on to the next person to give yourself a bit of breathing room -- they'll come back your way in due time.

Other tips? Put 'em in the comments!


PLA Blog Goes Live

The blogger-in-chief, Steven of Library Stuff, has unveiled the URL for PLA's official blog covering this year's ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston, so I'm going to follow suit: voila! RSS feed is here. I'm a member of the team covering the meeting, and am planning to cover the following events:
  • Friday: Author forum with Tom Perotta; Best Books for Young Adults straw poll.
  • Saturday: YALSA all-committee meeting; YA Galley; and PLA's Leadership Development session.
  • Sunday: YALSA Publications committee meeting (I'm on this committee); and either the EBSCO Excellence in Small/Rural Library Services award committee, the HR discussion group, or Serving Young Adults in Large Urban Populations group.
  • Monday: Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults; YALSA Preconference Program Planning for Annual 2005.

I had a much, much larger list of events to cover earlier this week, but was forced to reconcile myself to the notion that I really can only be at one place at one time. Also, getting from meeting to meeting is going to take me longer than I think or hope it will. And even more also, I have to eat meals. I sometimes forget that when I'm making plans.

If you're going to be at the conference, and plan to attend any of the above sessions, please come say hello! I'll be the woman with longish brown hair (most likely in a ponytail) and the silvery, Morpheus-meets-Ursula-Nordstrom glasses.


Tsunami & Disaster Relief

I am shamefully late to post this, I know.

Some resources I've seen elsewhere:
Google Tsunami Relief and CNN's News & Links, both via Saint Joseph's County Public Library blog.

Waterboro Library's blog also has a fairly comprehensive list of charitable organizations & news resources, notable particularly for encouraging donors to check organizations' overhead costs.

The good folks at This Is Not Over have many fine recommendations, as well, including quite a few for non-Americans.

And Jessamyn asks, "If your library home page doesn't change in response to massive world-changing events, doesn't that send a message, however inadvertent, about the responsiveness, and plugged-in-edness of the library itself?" Yeah, I'd say it does.

Edited to add: One more list of links, including one to a blog of the disaster, which includes video, courtesy of ResearchBuzz. There was a nice, brief piece on today's episode of Day to Day on how bloggers' coverage of the disaster has changed peoples' views of what blogs can be.