Thursday, June 25, 2009


I was really impressed with the library best practices wiki. It's a true treasurehouse of library how-tos, information, links, and resouces. Just the list of library schools in the US, Canada, and elsewhere--with links to every school and a comment on its ALA accreditation status--is reason enough to bookmark this site. Drexel's Sacramento MLIS program isn't yet listed, but it can be accessed through the Drexel Philadelphia link.

I confess that I was somewhat disappointed in the Sacramento wiki. The information seemed kind of scattershot and there were rather large gaps in content. Interestingly, some of the geographic information about the city itself was arranged by city council district--not the way I'd organize it, since district lines are redrawn following every census. I was gratified to see that under places to eat Poor Red's in El Dorado was at the top of the list. (Some hazy details are coming back to me now...a couple of visits in my post-college days...a dimly-lit bar with a row of seats along one side, murals on the wall, always crowded and waiting an hour outside in a winter freeze to get in...tasty ribs in a small dining room in the back...and those killer Golden Cadillacs...)

Library 2.0, 2009: San Jose Way

I was asked if the Ironwood Branch (Richmond PL, BC) was continuing to keep on the cutting edge of library innovation. Admittedly, I haven't checked into what's been going on with Ironwood; I do remember all of the publicity and enthusiasm that Ironwood generated in the library community when it opened more than 10 years ago.

San Jose PL has also created a customer-centered service philosophy that has been extremely successful. More than 15 million items circulate at SJPL annually, and at least one branch (Santa Teresa) has a circulation in excess of 1.2 million per year.

Check out the San Jose Way at:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Library 2.0, circa 1998: Ironwood Branch

Rick Anderson's essay got me to thinking about one of the first times I encountered a radical shift in the way libraries did business. It was an SPL training day in 1998, and one of the workshops was presented by one of the heads of the Richmond PL, in suburban Vancouver, BC, regarding their brand-new Ironwood Branch, which had become internationally famous overnight as a model of the "library of the future." The 12,000 square foot branch occupied an upper story in a neighborhood shopping center and had been designed to bring the library's collection to the patrons. Materials were displayed face out for immediate visibility, there was an entire room devoted to public-access computers (a novel concept in the late 1990's), and self-check machines handled over 90% of the astonishing 750,000 annual circulation. At the time, SPL's busiest branch circulated 1/2 of that.

A year or so later, I attended similar workshop at the 2000 PLA conference in Charlotte, NC. And I walked away from it, asking myself, "Why can't we do that??"

By this time I was enrolled in library school at San Jose State, and in my studies I encountered such radical thinkers as Charlie Robinson and Jean-Berry Molz of Baltimore County PL, whose "Show 'em what you've got" theory of library management was a revolutionary concept in its day, widely criticized yet successfully adapted by Brooklyn PL in the 1980's. I also picked up the book Why We Buy, by Paco Underhill, whose studies of customer behavior in retail environments really got me thinking about how to market the library's collection. No longer was it sufficient for patrons to come to the library and shuffle down endless rows of 84-inch shelving, past thousands of books placed spine out so that they all blurred together in a mind-numbing haze. We had to change. We had to bring the collection to the customer.

Now we're taking the library's resources into realms that Robinson & Molz probably never dreamed of: Library Facebook and MySpace pages, RSS feeds, lists of hot titles e-mailed to patrons, downloadable audio and video, place-it-yourself holds, and so on. For me, though, Library 2.0 started on that training day in October, 1998, and the "library of the future."

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rollyo -- Part 2

Here's a Rollyo for searching Nintendo games. I've included a few general review sites (such as AllGame and CNet) and commercial sites (such as Nintendo and GamePro). You can look up both Wii and DS games.

Rollyo -- Part 2

Monday, June 1, 2009


I'm something of a weather and climate fan, and like to learn about the unusual stuff in weather history. Did you know that in October, 1921 an F-2 tornado sliced through midtown Sacramento? That it's gone below zero in Florida? Or the near-hurricane that hit Long Beach in 1939, and that Yuma, Arizona, is the tropical storm capital of the western US, having been struck several times, most recently in 1997?
So I pulled together a selection of commercial (,, etc.) and government research (Desert Research Institute, NOAA, etc.) sites to look up weather forecasts, climate trivia, severe storms, and even the present conditions where my brother works (the Air Products corporate headquarters in Trexlertown, PA).

I can easily envision Rollyo as a quick and easy search tool for online ready reference on just about any subject. I plan on revisiting Rollyo to create a search for senior housing options in Sacramento, as well as another to review Nintendo DS games (maybe then I can figure out what my next step is in "Hotel Dusk: Room 215" for the DS!)


Powered by Rollyo