Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Digital Learning Day is February 6

National Digital Learning Day is February 6 -

This is a day to recognize educators and librarians for all the work that they do to integrate technology into our education system, preparing children and families for the realities of our increasingly digital world.

Here in Huntington Beach we are taking the week after Digital Learning Day to Celebrate Digital Literacy - in our increasingly electronic and digital society, we all need to be familiar with and adept at using new technologies.  The Library offers many resources that can help everyone hone their digital skills. We are planning a week's worth of activities, all tied into the digital content and resources that we now offer.  We will be highlighting our EBooks, our EAudiobooks, our Digital Learning tools and our Digital resources.  It will be a week devoted to Geek Training, and for Valentine's Day the Overdrive Digital Bookmobile will be in town, in front of the Central Library. 

Want to learn more about using the Library from your home computer and how to find things through the Library web site?  Come visit us on Monday, Feb. 11.

Want to find out how to learn something new online, either in the Library or from your home computer?  Come visit us on Tuesday, Feb. 12, where we will be giving demonstrations of Mango Languages (online language learning for all ages), Brainfuse's Help Now (online tutoring service, with skills and writing workshop components) and other Digital learning tools.

Want to learn more about the Library's computer resources?   Or find out about the new Chromebook computers available for check out?  Come visit us on Wednesday February 13.  We'll also be having a Laser show for kids that day.

Want to know more about EBooks, EReaders and other EContent?  Come visit us on Thursday & Friday, February 14 & 15, and visit the Digital Bookmobile where you can test gadgets and find out about the Library's growing EBook and EAudiobook collections.

Learning sessions will be offered throughout the day - a schedule will be posted for the week.  Check our web site for more information. 

It will be a fun week of gadgets, geeks and digital learning!  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Books and Ebooks - Library Service in a Digital Age

The Pew Institute recently published their most recent study on Library services in a digital age.  The results are very interesting - people want more digital services (this was no surprise to me), but they also still value print books and the more traditional library services. 

Based on the results of this recent survey, here in Huntington Beach we are giving people what they want - we still have a large print collection AND we are growing our EBook collection (even with the challenges in the EBook market).  We provide each of the services identified as being of value in the study - and we are doing an especially good job on providing programs and services for Early Childhood Literacy. 

I admit that most of the results of the study were no surprise - libraries reflect their communities, and our community is diverse.  So our range of services is diverse, and it looks like it needs to continue that way for at least the near future.  And things keep changing - new technologies emerge, and then are rapidly replaced or superceded by the next new thing.  Video gave way to DVDs which are now giving way to Streaming video.  Streaming Video and Audio are now available for libraries - not to mention mobile services and Apps that help people use their libraries more effectively.  We just keep adding on, and the challenge is how to balance the new with the old, just as it always has been.  (Am I just getting old?  This doesn't sound like anything new.  Maybe it is just the pace that is changing...) 

The one finding that I do think is interesting - most people (80% of those surveyed)felt that Reference Librarians were a VERY important service for libraries.  Naturally, I do too, but our reference service has changed dramatically in just a few years - most of our professional librarians are working behind the scenes now, managing schedules, developing and delivering training, handling contracts and doing quality control and then, OCCASIONALLY getting to do some real reference work for a member of the public.  But the nature of the questions that come to us has really changed - people really seem to want directional assistance or reader's advisory.  Real, meaty, in depth reference questions are just not being asked all that often. 

So what is it about librarians that people value?  Is it the personal touch?  Many customers seem to prefer taking care of themselves.  But I do see others that really value the personal contact and service that all our librarians and library staff provide.  What do you think? 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Bookless Library?

There has been a lot of buzz in libraryland about the proposed "bookless" Library system starting up in Bexar County, Texas.  A county judge is championing a new county service, BiblioTech. 

The new system is described as a "supplement" to the library services provided by the City of San Antonio and other towns in the county.  "Think like an Apple Store" is the description used for these new county libraries.  Ereaders and Ebooks will be the primary content available at these outlets - customers can check out the readers or download content to their own readers. 

It isn't clear what kind of staffing will be present, but the articles also describe the Biblio Tech outlets as a "low cost" supplement.  Low cost?  Have they looked into the cost of readers, digital content, furniture? 

I am trying not to be judgemental or negative, but I don't know that this really will supplement library service - just smacks of elitism to me.  The judge seems to assume that EVERYONE has an Ereader and/or knows how to use it.  Yes, Ereaders have boomed, and lots of people have them - but it is tied to economic issues and exposure.  I'm all for getting the digital content out to the people, and giving people access to the devices they need.  But if you have a device that you have no clue how to use, you HAVE to have some "geniuses" behind the bar, don't you think?   Just saying...

Does the Biblio Tech really qualify as a Library?  What do you think? 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Books, Butchering, Bowling and more....

Yesterday, January 8, the Wall Street Journal had a great article about libraries - Check these out at the Library: Blacksmithing, Bowling, Butchering. 

Libraries across the country are experiencing a boom in programming and are offering all kinds of "new" services - tool libraries, seed libraries, cooking programs, etc.  You name it, if there is interest libraries are bringing it to their communities.

Here in Orange County, the Newport Beach Library has a regular cooking series, where local chefs come in and do demonstrations.  We've done some of that here at HBPL too, thanks to our amazing Friends of the Library.  And don't forget the Taste of Huntington Beach event that is the primary fundraiser for our Friends of the Children's Library. 

We have seen an increase in our program attendance over the past year, and the demand for our meeting rooms keeps growing.  More groups want/need space to offer programs - we have everything from College planning to Zumba classes going on. 

What would you like to see at your library?  What kind of programs would bring you into the library? 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Calling all EBook readers - use Bilbary and help the Library!

Are you the proud owner of a EReader like a Nook or  a tablet, like an IPad? 

Do you read your books with a digital device?

Did you know that the Library has a growing collection of EBooks?

Well we do.  Our collection is growing thanks to support from our Friends of the Library. 

Did you know that you can use a service called Bilbary to buy EBooks, and if you connect to Bilbary using the Library's link, we get part of the purchase back? 

We just started working with Bilbary and they have a great selection of new EBooks that you can buy and download.  Click on the link on our Support the Library web page, set up an account, buy books and help the Library. 

Publishers are still trying to figure out the whole EBook business model, and have made it difficult for us to get many new titles.  A number of publishers - Simon & Schuster, Penguin, etc. - won't even sell EBooks to libraries.  Our partnership with Bilbary can help us support our electronic collections, and provide you with more titles for your EReader, Smartphone or Tablet.

Give Bilbary a try, and help the Library!  Thanks for your support! 

Monday, October 1, 2012

October and the weather is scorching...

Ah Fall...
In most of the country, leaves are turning color, the days are getting shorter and cooler, and things have the look and feel of Fall.

But not here in Southern California. 

Today it is 91 degrees here in Huntington Beach.  91!!??? Not your typical beach weather, that's for sure.

Even though it is way too hot, the Library continues to provide a cool place for everyone to come and explore.

Here's some highlights of what is going on in the Library this month -

We were able to replace our old and malfunctioning Microfilm Reader/printer.  Our new Scanner/Reader/Printer is a real improvement on the old technology.  With the new unit, you can crop sections of the film, improve the quality of the image, print or send an image via email or save it to a flash drive.  The new machine makes it easier to do research in all our newspapers on film. 

We are about to launch our Chromebooks - we were lucky to receive a grant from the California State Library to provide Chromebooks for checkout.  We plan to have the units available within the next couple of weeks.  The Chromebooks use a WiFi connection and make it easy to check email, search the web and do a wide range of other tasks "in the Cloud".  Keep your eyes open for the announcement on the Chromebooks. 

Our Geek the Library campaign continues - look for us at Surf City Nights, on local bus benches and on yard signs that are now available.  (If you Geek your Library, come on in and get a yard sign. Help us get the word out about all the great things available at your Library.)

October is going to be busy!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Summertime at HB Library - What do you Geek?

Here we are in AUGUST already!  Every summer, time seems to fly by faster and faster.  At the Library, we have 3 weeks of summer reading left, and all of our participants are reading at blazing speed.  We have over 5,000 participants of all ages, and I know that the final 3 weeks will be terrific, with programs, prizes and activity.

This August is going to be extra busy - we will be winding up the Summer Reading programs and then launching our Geek The Library campaign.  We have been doing a strategic "check in" with our patrons and community, and though we have lots of library patrons, lots of programs and events, and most people seem to be happy with what we do, still people don't know all the really great things that their library does.  So we've scrounged some money from various sources, and we will be heading out into the community asking everyone about what they Geek, and how the Library can help you get your Geek on.

I remember when to be a Geek was a bad thing (anyone get teased for being a Geek in Junior High? I know I did...). 
But really, think about it, what makes someone a Geek? 
A love, passion or obsession for something, be it a hobby, a subject, etc. 

Steve Jobs was a Geek.  Silicon Valley is FULL of Geeks. 

I know I'm a Geek.  I geek lots of things - shoes, Ragdoll Cats, College Football, just to name a few.  There are lots of us Geeks out there.  I say be proud - Get your Geek on.

Whatever you Geek, come on into the Library.   We'll help you realize your dreams.