RILA Logo 2011 v.4
In This Issue
ALA for Beginners
The Value of Interns
Using Conference Tools
Check Out These Library Blogs!
True Crime at the Library
News From the Field
Rhode Island
Library Association

Happy Summer!  We are right in the middle of the Summer Reading Frenzy, but hopefully all our hard-working librarians are still making time for the beach.  This year's Summer Reading theme is travel, so in this installment of The RILA Bulletin, we'll take you to New Orleans for the ALA National Conference, through the online world of library blogging, and into the realm of True Crime. 

Something for everyone.

The RILA Board would also like to thank our membership for making this year's conference another great one.  We hope you all learned a lot, had some fun, and maybe even walked away with a door prize.

Thanks for Reading,

Andria Tieman & Corrie MacDonald
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs

ALA For Beginners

By Andria Tieman
Reference Librarian Warwick Public Library & Bryant University
ALA 2011I had the pleasure of attending my first ALA Annual Conference this past June in New Orleans.  Of course, I've been to conferences before, but this was The Big One, and I was naturally a bit intimidated and apprehensive.  Added to my apprehension was the fact that I would have to pay my own way, and present as well.  Thankfully, I was presenting on a topic I know well, and RILA saw fit to award me the De Johnson Memorial Scholarship, which helped with airfare and registration fees.

New Orleans is a fascinating and vibrant city, so I was looking forward to exploring as well as meeting new librarians and learning as much as one can cram into a long weekend.  Overall, the experience was as overwhelming as I anticipated, and other librarians that I met assured me that no matter how many conferences I attend, it will always feel overwhelming, so now that that aspect is covered, let's break it down to the good, bad and awesome of ALA Annual.

The Good:
ALA is a bit glamorous.  Library conferences don't typically seem like a glamorous affair, but it seemed like every time I turned around, there was another author to meet, or fancy fete to attend.  All the ALA heavy hitters move among us mere mortals, and you never quite realized who you've just been talking to until a friend says something like, "Do you know who that is?"  I met Sarah Dessen and Laura Lippman and the Unshelved dudes, and one of my roommates spent a whole day collecting autographs from and chatting with various authors.

The location. Though it was 99 degrees one day, it was still fantastic.  We never wanted for excellent music or amazing food, and after a freezing cold day in the convention center, the balmy Louisiana air actually felt good (briefly).  This was my first trip to New Orleans, and I'm already planning what to do when I go back.

The Bad:
The conference sessions.  I went to three conference sessions, each one worse than the one before it.  After weeks of combing through the thousands of listings on ALA Connect, and choosing (I thought) wisely, I wound up in sessions that were nowhere close to what I hoped to learn, and were often about different types of libraries than the description made them seem.  At a smaller conference, like RILA, even when my interests don't match up well with the sessions at a certain time of day, I usually just pick one and am pleasantly surprised.  This time around, I thought I picked well, but was let down each time.  Unfortunately, due to the massive size of the conference, it was hard to find another relevant session within walking distance during the same time when I left sessions early.  My roommates had the same issue, and it left us all a bit frustrated.

In talking to some seasoned ALA conference veterans, they told me that the only way to know for sure what type of library a session is aimed at is to look at who is sponsoring it.  Unfortunately, I didn't get that sage advice until it was too late for this conference, but next time, I'll know!

The Awesome:
Fancy vendor parties and cocktail hours.  I lucked out and managed to go to a number of vender-hosted parties all over the city.  Not only did we get free admission to the museums that some of these parties were hosted in, but there was great live music and a whole bunch of new librarians to meet!  The best part of ALA was just meeting different people from all over the country, and getting to chat with them in a "let your hair down" situation rather than when we are all in buttoned up networking mode.

Getting to present at the national level.  As nerve-wracking as this was, it was a lot of fun too.  I was part of a panel of six, and we each spoke for about fifteen minutes.  We had a good turnout, and had a lot of excellent questions.  A few people came up to me afterward and said that they found my presentation particularly helpful, which was a fantastic feeling, and exactly why I wanted to present in the first place.

Overall, attending ALA Annual was even better than I had hoped.  It's easy to get into a rut professionally, and even though I didn't really learn much in the sessions I attended, the experience was invigorating.  I would like to thank the Rhode Island Library Association for awarding me the De Johnson scholarship.  Without their help, I would not have been able to present at this conference, and this experience will continue to benefit my career for a long time to come.

The Value of Interns:  

Building the Future of the Profession

By Aaron Coutu
Young Adult Librarian, Greenville Public Library
InternIt used to be that the only folks looking to do an internship, or professional field experience, at a library were graduate students, but that is not necessarily the case anymore. As many of RI's school districts shift into a senior project graduation requirement, you may know local teens reaching out to community organizations looking for a placement connected to the future profession. You may have even been approached by such a student who has an interest in becoming a librarian. I know I have, and I have always found the experience to be a positive one, whether it is with a high school or grad school student.

The idea of mentoring an intern might sound something scary or even too much work, but it really can result in a great experience for the intern, the mentor, and the sponsoring library. According to Longwood University's College of Business & Economics:

Internships allow students to enhance their classroom education with real world experiential learning, while adding value to hosting internship companies, by applying their technical and professional skills to projects and assignments. As such, internships are a "win-win" for students and their hosting internship companies, with both gaining valuable benefits.

Obviously, the ultimate goal of the internship is provide the student with an opportunity to get some practical working experience in their field of interest. Hopefully, they will not just work on low-level work, but have specific tasks and projects that they might do once they are a professional in the field. For librarians, this can include the creation of pathfinders, planning programming, weeding and developing a certain area of the collection, or some other real life tasks we all complete on a regular basis. They should also have an opportunity to work along with other staff members as part of a team. These practical experiences should complement what the student has learned in her classes or when researching the field when deciding on a future avenue of study. It is a golden opportunity to learn a field from the inside out. Interns can immerse themselves in a real-world, working environment, finding out not only if the prospective field is really right for them, but also what it takes to be successful in the field. Yet, the benefits of an internship are not simply one-sided.

Interns also have something to give back to a mentoring library. They are, in effect, the next generation of employees. In fact, interns are often freshly completing their training in library school or will have experiences in high school that might assist us in staying up-to-date on new technology trends such as social networking, have a fresher grasp on some of the professional training and discussions on new service trends, and come with a certain amount of enthusiasm that can be both refreshing and invigorating to those of us already working in the field. In some cases, interns could be transferred into a position of full-employment to fill a need, providing an experienced new hire that would require a lower level of new training. This will likely also result in a situation in which the employee comes with a certain level of dedication to the library already in place.

Now, that we are all excited about having an intern, what are some ways you could prepare for hosting and mentoring one? First, you should reach out to area high schools or URI's Graduate School of Library and Information Sciences. I am sure the guidance office or Gale Eaton would be thrilled to hear that you would be willing to host an interested student. For many students, finding an adequate site for their internship can be a major challenge. Being placed on a list as a potential site with a listing that includes what sorts of opportunities are available at the library can prove helpful for a student looking for such a placement.

Once an interested student approaches the library, the mentoring staff member should meet with the intern and her faculty advisor to review all the requirements of the internship. You will want to make sure to answer the following questions:

1. What are the student's goals and objectives in regard to their time with the library?

2. What specific projects/tasks will she be required to complete?

3. How will the intern be evaluated for her work, and how will that evaluation be shared with the intern's faculty advisor? Also include opportunities for ongoing review to critique the intern's work so she can continue to grow during the period.

4. What will be the schedule for the intern?

The result should be a basic contract laying out all of the requirements for both the intern and the mentoring library. This will help create an optimal experience for everyone. As mentioned above, it really is a situation in which everyone wins. You will find that you and your institution will get as much out of the experience as you are giving the intern. Help grow the future of our professional by mentoring an intern today!

Freshening Up Storytime with the  

Whole Book Approach  

By Brandi Kenyon
Children's and Teen Librarian, South Kingstown
StorytimeAfter working for several years, youth service librarians can sometimes find themselves slowly falling into the trap of doing the same programs on autopilot. As kids grow older and age up into the teen program and new kids start visiting the library it's all to easy to recycle those tried and true craft programs, book club selections and especially storytimes. Opening song-check. Two to three books to read aloud-check. Another song-check. Related craft-check. This is where conference workshops can really help freshen up your routine.

At the June 2011 RILA conference, Rosemary Agoglia, Curator of Education at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, presented a workshop that supports librarians using a Whole Book Approach when conducting storytimes.

"Ultimately, a Whole Book Approach storytime emerges as an experience of reading with children rather than reading to children as the group engages in a collaborative interpretive process of the picture book while its text is read aloud," says Agoglia.

There are many ways to incorporate the whole book approach into your storytimes. First, remember that a book is not just about the pages and illustrations inside-when choosing which books to use for storytime, really look at the whole book. Does the jacket image wrap around to the back of the book? What does the cover of the book itself look like? Are there illustrations or bright colors used on the endpapers of the book? Is there a reason that the book is oriented either landscape or portrait style?

In Mo Willems' Knuffle Bunny books, the endpapers give clues to what might happen in the story. Peter Sis' book Madlenka has a jacket cutout that reveals just a peek of the actual book cover. And the landscape orientation and wrap-around jacket help give the book Who Made This Cake? by Chihiro Nakagawa perspective. As you introduce books during the storytime, be sure to show children some of these parts and calling them by the proper terms.

Next, ask children open ended questions. What do you see on the cover of this book? What's going on in this picture? Be sure to give them time to think and respond. While older children and teenagers might have the words to answer questions right away, it can take extra time for younger ones to find words for what they want to say. To freshen up storytime even more, take time out from reading a story and present a wordless picture book to the group, encouraging them to tell you the story. The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney and Hogwash by Arthur Geisert provide good storytelling opportunities for children.

Finally, be sure to pay attention and actively listen to what a child is telling you. Paraphrase answers they give you and ask them, "What makes you say that?" Point to parts of the book they mention. Sometimes, a child can't think of or might not know the words they want to say, prompting them to act things out or use facial expressions to show how they feel about certain parts of the book. Understanding of a book can be shown in many ways.

Many of these aspects of the Whole Book Approach are probably being practiced in your storytime right now, and while every technique doesn't need to be practiced for every book, keeping them in mind can help keep storytime fresh for you and for the children attending. Sharing picture books should not be a passive activity with a librarian doing all the talking, but a dialogue between the librarian and children.

Be sure to visit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art ( for more resources and examples of the the Whole Book Approach.

Check out These Library Blogs! 

By Kieran Ayton
Reference Librarian, Rhode Island College & Cranston Public
Professional develoBlog2pment is crucial for librarians, and it's often helpful to look to what others are doing and adapt their ideas to suit our patrons' needs.  Library Journal and other professional publications are tremendously helpful, but it's often the blogs, written by individuals or groups, that become the most useful.  Here is just a short list of some of the best from the web.

Local Library Blogs

April 2005-Present
Published by RI Office of Library and Information Services (OLIS)
The Rhodarian, as its name implies, is a RI specific blog.  It includes local news bites plus information on grants and continuing education for those working in RI libraries.
More local RI library blogs

Library Web, Technology, and Digital Services

Librarian in Black:
December 2003-Present
Published by Sarah Houghton-Jan, Assistant Director for the San Rafael Public Library.
This fabulous blog highlights the current technology trends affecting libraries of today.  Many of the posts are public library related.  Examples are DRM protected content and E-books and Overdrive.  Houghton-Jan presents a balanced view of how the general public interacts with 21st century library technologies.

School Library /Media Specialist

Unquiet Librarian:
July 2007-Present
Published by Buffy J. Hamilton, School Librarian, Creekview High School, Georgia
Hamilton showcases information literacy in the digital age!  Her topics include social networking, web 2.0 tools, censorship, and YA Lit.  She also discusses how general technology and social media trends affect students of today.  See how Hamilton uses Google sites, to create her main Unquiet library website!  Here you will find links to how she utilizes LibGuides, Facebook, Twitter, flickr, YouTube, and WordPress to reach out to her students and colleagues.

Bad Books!

Awful Library Books:  

April 2009-Present
Published by Michigan Public Librarians Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner.
Scrolling through the posts on this blog will inspire any librarian, whether public, academic, school, or other to start weeding their collections ASAP!  Most entries contain scans of the front, back and insides of the unique books so they can be fully appreciated.  A picture is worth a thousand words!  Awful Library Books even got a mention in Time magazine!

This is just a short list of what's out there, but if you don't see anything that you like here, check out LIS Wiki's list of library blogs.  Also, last year, Salem Press began its Library Blog Award.  This is an excellent way to find new library blogs as recommended by the staff of Salem Press, and voted on by a panel of librarians.

True Crime at the Library

By Wil Gregersen
Community Services Librarian Warwick Public Library
True Crime

In August, Warwick Public Library is turning to crime. An innovative series on true crime will bring together classic true crime stories, a demonstration by a Warwick police detective and a crime scene investigator on collecting evidence, and a talk by a local journalist about reporting on crime.


Public library programmers are in a continual search for interesting presentations and events to bring to their communities. Some topics are safe and easy to present to the public. Others call for discretion in order to be suitable for public programming. True crime is subject that certainly requires tactful approach. However, considering the high level of interest in true crime as well as the large number of true crime titles on library shelves, it's an area worth exploring as a source of programming. Warwick Library's examination of the genre will keep the topic safe by turning to renowned authors, Hollywood, and first-hand accounts by professionals who deal with crime.


On August 4, librarian Wil Gregersen will read three true crime tales by revered and well-known writers, including Joseph Mitchell's melancholy account of three executions at Sing Sing in 1934, Robert Bloch's description of the shocking crimes of Ed Gein, and James Ellroy's investigation into his mother's unsolved murder in Los Angeles in 1958.


On August 11, former Providence Journal reporter Ged Carbone will talk about writing about crime. In 2003, Carbone co-authored a seven-part series on the killing of Vickie Cushman and the conviction and exoneration of Scott Hornoff for her death, and he'll talk about the challenges of reporting on a complicated crime story.


On August 18, Warwick Library will show the 1948 film "Call Northside 777," starring James Stewart and Lee J. Cobb. Filmed in a documentary-like style, Hollywood tries hard to get the story right in a movie based on the true tale of a Chicago Times reporter who fought to free a man wrongly convicted of the murder of a Chicago police officer in 1933.


Concluding the series on August 25, Detective Jim Medeiros and Criminalist Walter Williams from the Bureau of Criminal Identification Unit of the Warwick Police Department will give a talk and demonstration on crime scene investigation. The BCI collects, processes and stores evidence, sends evidence to other agencies for testing, and is responsible for preparing evidence for court. Forensics has become a particularly popular genre for television dramas and reality TV, and Medeiros and Williams will show the truth about the science with a first-hand account of how crime scenes are analyzed.


Library programs ideally draw from the community and the collection, and with its blend of presentations by local professionals and stories taken from its shelves, Warwick Library's true crime series is a one-of-a-kind event tailored specifically for the city.


The series will run on Thursday evenings at 7:00 PM at the Central Library. The series is free and open to all.

News From the Field
Aaron C


Greenville YA Librarian Aaron Coutu was featured June 30th on WRNI in a piece they did about summer reading and the best reads for teens. Aaron shows his YA chops by transitioning deftly from dystopian fiction to sports to vampires.  Listen to it here.



Programs and handouts from the presenters at the the 2011 RILA conference are available for download on RILA's website.     


Central Falls

On July 1st, the Central Falls library closed due to the receivership status and $5 million deficit of the city.  Twelve employees were laid off and Central Falls residents are no longer able to access Ocean State Libraries materials.  Pawtucket has extended temporary borrowing privileges to Central Falls cardholders.  It goes without saying that this a a terrible blow to a community that needs their library more than ever. The Board of Trustees is trying to figure out a way for the library to re-open in the fall, but it's too soon to know if and when that can happen.  


Rhode Island Historical Society Library

Katherine Chansky, former Librarian/Archivist at Schenectady County Historical Society, is the new Special Collections Reference Librarian at the RIHS Library. The position was previously held by Jordan Goffin, who is now Special Collections Librarian at PPL.

After 10 years at RIHS Library, Karen Eberhart, Special Collections Curator is moving on to become Manuscripts Processing Archivist at Brown University.


Warwick Public Library

Coordinator of Adult Services, Susan Dunn is retiring after 23 years of service.  She began her career at Providence Public, and moved to Warwick Public when her current position became available.  Sue also served on the RILA Conference Committee for more than sixteen years.  She is looking forward to a retirement full of gardening, travel and bird-watching. We wish her a happy and productive retirement! 


Rhode Island College

Carol Hryciw-Wing, Associate Professor and Head of Technical Services at the James P. Adams Library of Rhode Island College retired this past spring after 35 years of service. In addition to her work at Rhode Island College, Carol was active in numerous HELIN Consortium committees, she chaired ALA's Association of Library Collections and Technical Services Council of Regional Groups (ALCTS/CRG) and served as president of the New England Technical Services Librarians (NETSL). Carol held memberships in ALA, RILA, NELA and ACRL throughout her years as a professional librarian. She earned a B.A. (Brown) and an M.A. (Michigan) in Classical Studies and the M.L.S. from Simmons College.  


Johnson & Wales 

The Professional Learning Initiative at the Graduate School of Johnson & Wales University is proud to announce a summer professional development opportunity for Library/Media Specialists.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

9:00 AM - 12:00 PM


This three hour workshop will cover Information literacy Collaboration with teachers Promoting your library Barbara Janson, MLIS, M.Ed. is a second year doctoral student at Johnson & Wales University Harborside Library where she is studying educational leadership.   A professional librarian for 20 years, Janson is interested in faculty - librarian partnerships and the role of mentors in student success.  Her term "invisible librarian" means that librarians often need to reach out to teachers, collaborate, and most importantly promote their services.  Janson loves technology, is interested in virtual reality in distance learning environments, "m- Learning" (mobile learning). She will also provide some web sites and "cool tools" for librarians and educators.   Suitable audience: school librarians, library school students, faculty interested in information literacy partnerships.


South Kingstown

The South Kingstown Public Library/Peace Dale, 1057 Kingstown Rd., Peace Dale RI 02879, will present "How to Download Digital Media to Your Nook, iPod, Computer, or other Device" on Thursday, July 28, at 3:00 PM.

The event is free of charge and open to the public, but registration is required. Stop in at the Library Reference Desk to sign up, or call 789-1555.

Participants are encouraged to bring their own devices with them for instruction and help. Creusa Michelazzo of Ocean State Libraries will present an illustrated walk-through of the process, and lead the workshop.



The LibrariUS initiative collects details from people using the library using an interactive website. Its intention is to inspire news content and, more importantly, generate a fresh and meaningful conversation about libraries and communities in the 21st century.  


LibrariUS is designed to easily capture stories from patrons or library staff. A simple widget, installed on your library's website, links patrons to the LibrariUS website and enables them to share why they're visiting the library or using the library's website.


Their responses, along with their name (first and last initial only) and location, will be displayed on a public interactive map, updated in real time. Library staff is encouraged to contribute as well with stories of programs or services and their impact on the community.



The Associate Editor of American Libraries Magazine, the publication if the American Library Association presented at The Rhode Island Library Association conference where she wowed attendees with the idea that we, as librarians, can submit things to her and they may be actually published.  Since space in the print issue is limited, some items might not make the cut, but would still most likely be run online.  This includes photos, information about new programs on new ways of doing things, retirements--basically all that we run in this section of The RILA Bulletin, only on a national level.

Pamela B. Goodes, who did the presentation, made the point that if a library is arguing for funding and has a bank of photos showcasing their library that have been published by a national publication, it could be an extra step to make their case.  Since many of our libraries are hit hard recently, this is another great way to showcase all that we do in Rhode Island.

Anyone who wants to submit photos, articles or news items can send them to [email protected]