Change is in the air for RILA! The newly formed RILA Communications Committee is proud to unveil this new incarnation of the RILA Bulletin. Beginning with this introductory issue, RILA members will receive the Bulletin via Email on a bimonthly basis. We hope you find this issue an enjoyable way to keep informed of happenings in the Rhode Island library world.
Publishing the RILA Bulletin is just one way the Communications Committee is working to keep our members connected and informed. Are you on Facebook? The RILA Facebook page has nearly 200 fans, and is a fun, convenient way to keep in touch with your fellow Rhode Island library staff. If you haven't already, dip a toe in the social media waters and join us.
The Communications Committee may be brand new, but we have big plans - and we need your input, advice, and ideas. Help us improve the visibility, accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness of library and information services throughout Rhode Island. Send your tips, news, suggestions, criticism, and declarations of RILA love to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for new Communications Committee members to assist with publishing the RILA Bulletin and updating our Facebook and Twitter pages, too!
We look forward to hearing from you soon. We hope you enjoy the new and improved RILA Bulletin!
Andria Tieman and Corrie MacDonald
Communications Committee Co-Chairs
The Rhode Island Teen Book Award:
Letting Teens Pick the Winner
By Aaron J. Coutu
Young Adult Librarian, Greenville Public Library
It is that time of year when teens across Rhode Island have an opportunity to share their thoughts about which book is the best one written specifically for them. From January 1 through February 12, schools and libraries across RI make ballots available so middle school and high school students who have read 3 books from a selected list of titles may vote for their favorite.
Rhode Island was on the forefront of having a statewide book award for teens. Thanks to some cutting edge teachers and library media specialists connected with the Rhode Island Education Media Association (RIEMA), work to start such an award began in 1998. Over the course of two years, the group expanded to include some local young adult librarians from public libraries. The first chairperson of the RITBA committee was Joe Light, one of the media specialists at Westerly High School at the time.
The first thing the initial award committee needed to do was design a series of goals and criteria to use to narrow the selection of titles for a nominee list. It was clear from the beginning the committee did not want to just select a title on its own. Instead, it would compile a list of nominees tweens and teens could read and judge. They opted to focus on timeliness, requiring the nominees to be printed within two years of the list's announcement.
In 2001, the team, under Light's leadership, produced a list of 20 books blending a mixture of quality writing and reading interest. In fact, these two characteristics are a part of the award's primary goal since there was great concern that many award-winning selections on the national scale are extremely well written, but languish on the shelves due to lack of a strong readership among tweens or teens.
The first election was scheduled to take place in January 2002. With some help from their peers in RIEMA and marketing through the Young Adult Round Table, organized at that time by Frank Iacono at the Office of Library and Information Services, the award committee was able to have a number of schools and libraries collect votes from more than 300 young adults. They selected Give a Boy a Gun by Todd Strasser.
One of the methods of getting the word out about the award was to have a statewide contest to design a logo. Schools and libraries from all over Rhode Island encouraged students in middle and high school to submit logo designs. The winner, which was selected in 2001 to coincide with the announcement of the first book choice, was a 10th grade student at LaSalle Academy named Hillary J. Matoian.
Since that first year, the list has grown and prospered. The Rhode Island Library Association joined RIEMA in sponsoring the award in 2002. Every year, the number of participating voters and school/library sites increases. This year, almost 1000 young adults voted on the winner with more than 25 schools and public libraries providing votes. They selected The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott.
The RI Teen Book Award has been deemed such a success that librarians and school library media specialists from the Bay State utilized it as a model for their own award, which will have its first winner this year. The Massachusetts Teen Choice Book Award is sponsored by the Massachusetts Library Association Youth Services Section and the Massachusetts School Library Association.
The RITBA Committee welcomes any school or library that would like to participate in the election. Those interested can find a sample ballot and instructions for voting at the award's website. Visitors to the website will also find a complete list of all the winners, lists of previous nominees, promotional ideas and materials, and supporting discussion modules for all the nominees since 2006 and all of the award winners.
The committee also welcomes new participants in the nominee selection process. While this year's nominee list is almost finalized, interested members can contact the current committee chairperson, Aaron Coutu, at 949-3630 x103 or email@example.com.
This year's winner will be selected by the end of February so keep year ears and eyes open for the announcement!
|The Rhode Island Children's Book Award
By Meagan Lenihan
Library Media Specialist, The Lincoln School
This year marks the twentieth year the Rhode Island Children's Book Award (RICBA) has been promoting reading to third through sixth graders across the state.
Created as a collaboration between the Rhode Island State Council of the International Reading Association (RISC/IRA), the Rhode Island Library Association (RILA), and the Rhode Island Educational Media Association (RIEMA), today the award is under the guidance of the Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS). The Award's objective is twofold: to encourage reading and to allow students to think critically about their reading choices.
We are successfully achieving those goals! To date, close to 100 Rhode Island schools and countless students participate in this interactive reading program.
The Rhode Island Children's Book Award committee is made up of three representatives from each of the founding divisions. A member's term lasts for three years with three new members joining each year. OLIS representative Cheryl Space oversees the committee on a yearly basis.
This past year our committee read over 200 books in order to create the 2009-2010 book list. The books we read are sent from publishers, chosen from great reviews or suggested by lovers of great books. The criteria for book selection is as follows: they must have been published within the last two years and the author must be living in the United States. All of the books are read and critiqued until we can find what we feel is the best list to fit our audience.
You can browse the 2010 nominations online at: http://ricba2010.blogspot.com . Enjoy this year's selections!
Ten Fiction Must Reads for 2009By Lexi Henshel
Fiction Librarian, North Kingstown Free Library
Every year, it is impossible, no matter how we may try, to read everything we want to. But, for all the books I wish there'd been time to read, I did find some stunning fiction this year. Some of these titles made more of a splash than others, but all are rewarding reading, and books your patrons may love too.
Misconception, by Ryan Boudinot
In this debut novel by literary wunderkind Ryan Boudinot, the truth is lost somewhere between Kat's and Cedar's memories of one summer of love. Boudinot's slick wordplay elevates this plot from cliché, and introduces by two of the most unreliable narrators I've seen in fiction. (2009)
Dream House, by Valerie Laken
A reflection on race, class, materialism and personal identity, Dream House is a haunting vision of what happens when worlds collide, and an unsettling look at what the American Dream might mean now. Based on Laken's own experience renovating a home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it forces the reader to examine what home really is. (2009)
Spoiled, by Caitlin Macy
This collection of short stories was written with knifelike precision about class tension in modern Manhattan. Standout gems include the title story, Spoiledabout teenage Leigh and her riding instructor, The Red Coat, about insecure Trish and her cleaning lady Evgenia, and Christie, where a chance encounter leads to major life changes. (2009)
How to Sell, by Clancy Martin
In this powerful first novel, Bobby Clark leaves Canada at 16 to go work with his brother at a jewelry store in Dallas, and the process by which he learns to sell (watches, jewelry, his integrity) was painful and fascinating to read. (2009)
One D.O.A., One on the Way, by Mary Robison
This beautifully written book about life in post-Katrina New Orleans featured achingly perfect use of language. The dry, astonishing, interspersed lists and facts about the city and its loss didn't distract from the melancholy Southern Gothic love triangle that was the heart of the story. (2009)
The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
In this fantastic, disturbing near-future sci-fi, gene mutations and spread of genetically modified food that bears diseases that taint 'natural' crops has left the world in a famine, while rising sea levels have destroyed most coastal cities. The windup girl of the title, Emiko, is a Japanese creation abandoned after her owner left her in the city, and her 'life' has become a nightmare. Questions of civil rights for artificial life are hard to look at in a novel where humans suffer this much, but amazingly, Emiko's struggles are as agonizing, if not more so, as the humans she was created to obey. (2009)
Genesis, by Bernard Beckett
Individuals vs. community, artificial intelligence and rights, natural selection and evolution- all in a heady mix of words, so well written that the whole dizzying philosophical sci-fi experience clocked in at a mere 160 pages. (2009)
The Rapture, by Liz Jenson
This was an apocalyptic near-future environmental-disaster psychological thriller, with well-developed and memorable characters, and incredibly good writing - impossible to put down, and haunting. (2009)
The Millennium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson
Each of the Scandinavian noir thrillers in late author Larsson's Millennium Trilogy transcends the limitations and expectations of the genre. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2008), The Girl Who Played With Fire (2009), and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2010) include broad looks at Swedish history, unique and startlingly real characterization, complex and intricate plotting, and a wonderful sense of place and time.
Important artifacts and personal property from the collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, including books, street fashion, and jewelry, by Leanne Shapton
This is a story of a relationship, presented in the form of an auction-house catalog. It's material culture as all, it's the objects of life standing for the feelings, it's the culmination of our consumer society that a love story, with tingles and kisses and tears can be told, perfectly, through a collection of toast racks and pajamas and that the debris of life can tell a story as haunting as a traditional narrative. (2009)
Rhode Island Center for the Book Announces 2010 Selection
Escape to the Channel Islands with Reading Across Rhode Island and the 2010 selection for Rhode Island's statewide read, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
This year's honorary co-chairs are Rhode Island Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts and Robin Kall, host of WHJJ's "Reading with Robin" talk show. Kall has been involved with Reading Across Rhode Island since its inception in 2003. "Imagine my delight when I learned that this year's Reading Across Rhode Island book selection was on my personal must read list," said Roberts.
Written with warmth and humor, the novel begins in 1946 beneath the cloud of departed German troops who had occupied the island of Guernsey, one of the UK Channel Islands, during WWII. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society affirms the power of books and their ability to sustain people in difficult times. It also pays homage to the lost art of letter writing, empowered by deeply human characters who literally leap out from the pages as they contrast a dark period in history with wit and wisdom, demonstrating the power of the human spirit as they do so.
Mary Ann Shaffer, a librarian and editor, nurtured the tale about Guernsey for 20 years before committing pen to paper. Sadly, Ms. Shaffer passed away in February 2008, before the final edits to the manuscript were complete. She asked her niece, Annie Barrows, to complete the revisions -- and the story is now ours to share with all Rhode Islanders. Annie Barrows, author of the popular children's series Ivy & Bean and The Magic Half (nominated for the 2010 Rhode Island Children's Book Award) has agreed to come to Rhode Island for the project's finale in May. Barrows will also be joining readers at the annual RARI May Breakfast at Rhodes-on-the-Pawtuxet on May 1, 2010 and will present to students around the state at the annual student videoconference on April 30. Since Annie Barrows is also a noted children's author, she will be at the Warwick Public Library on April 30 at 4 pm to discuss her work.
Teachers, librarians and book group leaders are invited to attend the RARI Kick-off Conference at Bryant University on Saturday, January 30, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. Designed to give book group leaders an introduction to the novel and the resources and materials to develop an interesting discussion, conference attendees will meet workshop presenters ready to link the themes of the book to Rhode Island-based activities. Presenters include Dr. Judy Litoff, author of Since You Went Away: Letters from the Homefront during WWII; Dr. Jim Brosnan, who will reflect on the literary aspects of the novel; and Miriam Hospital's Mary Flynn will speak about economical eating. The cast of Living Literature will close the day with a Reader's Theater adaption of the novel. The conference registration fee and breakfast tickets are both $25. Registration forms are available on the Reading Across Rhode Island web site: www.readingacrossri.org.
Reading Across Rhode Island is a project of the Rhode Island Center for the Book at Providence Public Library. The 2010 project is sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Dial Press/Random House, Reading with Robin, Newport Federal, RI Network for Educational Technology and Bryant University.
Show Your Support for Rhode Island Libraries
RILA is sponsoring a Legislative Day February 9 on the second floor of the State Capital building from 1:30 - 4 pm. We are asking librarians to participate in several advocacy issues during the week of February 8-14.
- Spread the word. Invite your state representatives and senators to visit the displays and enjoy refreshments on February 9. The more constituents our lawmakers hear from, the more likely they are to participate! Find contact information for your representatives here.
- Volunteer to personally greet your state representatives and senators at the Capital the afternoon of February 9.
- Plan an event at your library during the week to showcase the unique investment libraries make in your community.
- Attend the 25th anniversary celebration of the Coalition of Library Advocates on February 8 from 4:30 - 7 p.m. in the Governor's Room of the State House. (it's free and there will be refreshments!)
- Send digital photos of the varied activities happening at your library for the Snapshot project described below.
SnapshotA Day in the Life of Rhode Island's Libraries
RILA is looking for photos of a day in the life of your library for a Library Awareness campaign we are sponsoring the week of February 8-12.
These photos will be used to create a slideshow illustrating the variety and wealth of resources, services, programs, and activities Rhode Island libraries offer. The slideshow will be presented to members of the Rhode Island legislature on February 9.
We are emphasizing that libraries are more than the traditional impressions that many people have. We're looking for digital photos of programs, classes, and patrons in your library...dynamic, "out-of-the-box" pictures to illustrate that today's library is our community's third place. For ideas and inspiration, check out the results of a similar program conducted by Wisconsin libraries: Wisconsin Libraries Say Cheese
Please send your digital pictures to Cindy Lunghofer at: firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb.1, 2010.
Open Source ILS at RedwoodBy Robert Kelly
Collection Development Librarian, Redwood Library
The use of open source integrated library systems (ILS) is a growing trend in libraries, and one to watch carefully as it grows. The term "open source" refers to software that can be used freely without having to pay license fees to its developers. Although most libraries still use a commercial ILS such as Millenium, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport is in the process of migrating to the Koha open source ILS. We asked Robert Kelly to share some insight into the Redwood's decision to adopt this new technology.
The Redwood Library and Athenaeum is Rhode Island's first lending library, and the oldest lending library in continuous use in the country. Redwood acquired its first ILS system, Winnebago Spectrum, in 1996. Over the last fifteen years, the Redwood has outgrown its first ILS and the Redwood community recognized that it was time for a systems change.
An administrative team led by Executive Director Cheryl Helms began the process of investigating a new ILS in 2007, after a lengthy rehabilitation and expansion that began after part of the ceiling collapsed in late 2003. At the time, the RI Historical Society library had just secured funding for their migration to the MINISIS system. Initially, all indication was that Redwood would follow suit. After exploring other alternatives, however, we determined that the MINISIS system was not the best system for the Redwood. A major concern was the MINISIS system's lack of a then-workable circulation module. In fact, many MINISIS institutions are stand-alone archives, museums and historical societies with little to no need for circulation modules - a less than ideal situation for the country's oldest, continuous circulation library.
We decided to continue reviewing systems. Around the same time, I attended a session at the 2008 RILA conference on the Evergreen open-source ILS given by Tim Daniels, project manager of the Georgia PINES Consortium. Two particular aspects of the Evergreen system attracted our attention: its scalability and costs. However, we were not sure if open source would be a perfect fit, because the Redwood does not belong to any formal statewide ILS consortium or have any software developers on staff able to adapt the product for our specific needs. We were heading into unknown territory in many ways, and a search of the literature regarding open source ILS resulted in few scholarly articles. But we were persistent and patient. We spent many hours investigating, researching, asking questions, and debating among ourselves.
In the summer of 2008, a team was assembled to explore potential open source systems. The team members' initial task was to each develop a wish list detailing needs, wants and non-essential "niceties" We integrated the individual lists into a master needs list which would be used to analyze any system brought to the table. We provided bimonthly updates to the Redwood Library committee for feedback and further stakeholder approval, and also solicited feedback from the company that provides some network IT assistance. Some suggestions indicated unfamiliarity with library automation software, but others, such as investigating all possibilities thoroughly before committing to a system, have proved good ideas. Vendors were invited to give presentations either in person or via web conference, and five systems were examined closely: Equinox-Evergreen; LibLime-Koha; Innovative Interfaces-Millennium; TLC-Library Solution and MINISIS-MINT.
Each ILS addressed most of the basic needs of the Redwood community. The differences were few between ILS components. In looking at out-of-the box systems, some (such as TLC) provided a more robust search mechanism across types of formats; others, (such as Innovative Interfaces- Millennium) had user friendly reports modules that were familiar to staff who had worked in either RI public or academic libraries in the past five years. These staff members also knew the inherent flaws - and expense - of trying to integrate multiple ILS versions. Most of these vendor systems had standard circulation modules; all offered an acquisitions module, usually entailing an added cost; each offered a multi-year service contract. Evergreen did not have an acquisitions module at the time, and is still testing the acquisitions module that has been implemented.
We reviewed two open source systems, and decided to begin the process in dialogue with the product support vendors: LibLime for Koha and Equinox for Evergreen. Both offered robust, scalable ILS solutions for libraries; large, committed communities of developers; and both patron friendly OPACs and standard circulation modules. Evergreen, on the whole, had more sophisticated reporting mechanisms geared towards multi-branched facilities working in a larger consortium-based environment. Indeed, this was the biggest difference. Koha is generally geared to the stand-alone library or small consortium (less than 25 locations), and Evergreen is geared to larger consortiums or academic libraries, although this hasn't kept larger network groups such as MassCat, with over 100 libraries, from utilizing Koha as an ILS solution.
An open-source ILS solution for libraries, if implemented correctly and with appropriate institutional support, is not, as some detractors have claimed, a "shot-in-the-dark-flavor-of-the-month" solution; but rather a real alternative to absolute vendor controlled products and services that are tied to steep yearly fees. To claim otherwise would be to ignore evidence to the contrary. Service companies have evolved in the last five years to assist with the transition to open-source platforms for libraries that do not have large IT departments with in-house developers. Although the basic product offered by an open source ILS is free, additional services such as migration assistance, hosting, training and technical support are bundled together in various sized service packages. In our research, these bundles were dramatically more cost effective (upwards of 75%), than the vendor "out-of-box solutions".
In the end, the Redwood Library has decided to join the Koha community via LibLime. The Redwood staff was confident in LibLime's balanced commitment to both the ideal of open source code while also addressing the needs of their clients. Migration is set to begin in early 2010, assisted by a generous grant from The Champlin Foundations. The first component of our three phase plan is the migration of the Redwood holdings and transition to the Koha ILS for the Redwood staff and member community. Phases two and three will depend on grant funding for building a federated OPAC capable of searching across multi-type formats, including digitized realia, in conjunction with a possible local consortium of historical societies, museums and libraries interested in joining a Rhode Island open source ILS community.
|News from the Field
Cranston Public Library Information Access Librarian Ed Garcia has been named to the American Library Association Emerging Leaders 2010 program.
The ALA Emerging Leaders program is a leadership development program which enables newer library workers from across the country to participate in problem solving work groups, network with peers, gain an inside look into ALA structure, and have an opportunity to serve the profession in a leadership capacity.
The Emerging Leaders program kicks off at the 2010 ALA Midwinter Conference in Boston. Following the kickoff session, it will grow and develop in an online learning and networking environment for six months, culminating with a poster session showcasing the results of the project planning work at the 2010 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. Ed is hoping to recreate Laura Bush's 21st Century Librarian program.
Ed received an MLIS from the University of Rhode Island in May 2008. He joined the Cranston Public Library in December 2008 after a stint as Assistant Library Director at Central Falls Free Public Library. Ed was appointed by Governor Carcieri to serve on the Library Board of Rhode Island, and received a congratulatory citation from Cranston's Mayor Fung.
Comings and Goings
On July 1, 2009, the nine branches of Providence Public Library opened under the control of the new Providence Community Library. The staff and administration are still adapting, but the branches and new organization are thriving.
Allison Dimbleby, a summer graduate from the URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies accepted a position at Coventry Public Library in YA and Youth Services. She's trying to lure teens into the library with the new Wii and lots of snacks.
Cheryl Space has joined the staff at OLIS as their new Youth Services Program Specialist. Cheryl was previously the Children's Services Coordinator for the Providence Public Library.
Paul Lefebure, Assistant Director for Young Readers Services, retired in October after 28 years on the staff.
Susan Berman, Assistant Director for Adult Services, retired in March after 36 years on the staff.
Susan Moreland, who has been on staff for 11 years, is now the library's Deputy Director.
Shannon Darowski, who has been on staff for six years, is now the Young Readers and Teen Services Coordinator.
Linda Caisse, who has been on staff for 22 years, has become the Adult Non Fiction and Reference Services Coordinator.
Elizabeth Donovan, who has been on staff for 26 years, is now the Outreach Coordinator.
Lexi Henshel, who joined the staff in June 2008, is now the Fiction Librarian.
Evan Barta, who joined the staff in October of 2008, is now the Technology Librarian. Cranston:
John Fox Cory retired as Assistant Director of Cranston Public Library in August after 33 years of service.
Ann Osbon was appointed the Assistant Director of Cranston Public Library. She previously served as the Assistant Director of the Bridgeport (CT) Public Library.
Megan Weeden, a December 2009 GSLIS graduate, was appointed Youth Services Librarian at the Cranston Public Library William Hall branch in November.
Laura Marlane is now Deputy Director of Providence Community Library. She was previously the Director of the Central Falls Public Library.
Maria Cotto is the Children's Librarian at Providence Community Library's Knight Memorial Library.
Cheryl Abdullah resigned her position as the Director of the Tiverton Library and accepted a position as Director of the Dover (MA) Public Library.
Ann Grealish-Rust has been appointed Director of Tiverton Library Services. She was the director of the Dighton (MA) Library for 14 years. Her experience includes library planning and fundraising. She is looking forward to the construction of a new energy-efficient library that will not only provide enough room for materials, but also space for meetings, for seniors, and rooms for children and teens. She sees sharing a preserving local history as a central role of the library.
Corrie MacDonald accepted a position as a Reference Librarian at Warwick Public Library after seven years as the Youth Services Librarian at the William Hall Branch of the Cranston Public Library.
Andria Tieman, a spring graduate of URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, accepted a position as a Reference Librarian at Warwick Public Library. She is getting a lot of exercise in that huge building, and meeting many quirky characters.
Jenna Hecker, a spring graduate of URI Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, accepted a position as technology and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, MA (Minuteman system). Despite the job in Massachusetts, Jenna is remaining a Rhode Islander, and loading up on audiobooks for the drive.
Moses Brown School:
Judith Lewis retired from her position as the Director of Library Services of the Walter Jones Library at Moses Brown School after 36 years of service.
Introduce your library to the state!RILA Bulletin wants to know more about your library! Rhode Island is a state with many beautiful libraries, talented professionals, and support staff. Why shouldn't we celebrate ourselves and share with our colleagues a little bit about each unique population of library users and how we meet their needs? We hope to feature a different library in each issue of the Bulletin, so talk yourself up!
Please address any and all of the following, or whatever else you can think of.
Tell us a bit about the history of your library--year built, major renovations, changes over time, interesting details. What is it like now?
What do you do well? Do you have a unique population whose needs you've met creatively? Do you have any wildly successful programs you're proud of?
Who are your users? Despite it's dimunitive size, Rhode Island is chock full of diversity. Tell us about your community.
What is something that people may not know about your library?
Please send all responses and pictures to email@example.com
The RILA Bulletin is produced by the RILA Communications Committee. The RILA Communications Committee is responsible for publicizing and supporting Rhode Island Library Association activities using a variety of communication tools. Responsibilities including publishing the RILA Bulletin, managing social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, managing the RILA blog, and exploring other mediums as needed. The Communications Committee may cooperate with the publicity efforts of the Public Relations Committee to promote library services statewide.
Rhode Island Library Association members can contribute content to the RILA Bulletin by emailing the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org