September 29, 2005

Saying Farewell


Caught at the Starbucks during lunch: a dear group of SJCPL Librarians bidding a fond farewell to Sue, who is moving to Arizona. We'll miss you Sue!

Left to Right: Sarah, Tracy, Maire, Sue, Julie

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May 19, 2005

Gadgets and Tech for Staff Day!

Aaron at SJCPL Staff day

South Bend, IN - It was standing room only in the St. Joseph County Public Library Training Room for a library staff day breakout presentation by Aaron Schmidt entitled 20 Gadgets in 20 Minutes as the room filled with over 40 folks eager to find out about hot new gadgets and implications for library use. Flickr! XBox360! Index cards! All were covered. The presentation was attended by staff from all areas of the library and FIVE ADMINSTRATORS! Just got to say: Hot X 3!

Thanks Aaron!

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May 18, 2005

It's Library Staff Day!

Today SJCPL is closed and we are meeting all together for activities, speakers and some fun! Aaron is on his way to do an afternoon breakout on gadgets for the staff!

More in a bit...

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May 05, 2005

RIP VHS or SJCPL is transparent

Joe does a great post at the flifeline about VHS, alerting our users about changes to the formats we offer...

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April 27, 2005

Debriefing & Sharing: 3 Library Conferences

Library Conference Debrief

This afternoon was totally cool! There have been three big conferences recently so we had a group "debrief" for staff who attendded and other interested staff. Our Staff Development Librarian could not be here today so she asked me to facillitate. We had 15 folks who had attended either PLA Symposium, Computers in Libraries or the Indiana Library Federation State meeting.

We began by going around the room, with each participant sharing top trends/learning/issues/thoughts from their conference. I wrote them on the whiteboard. By the end we had 25 different points.

Equity of Access- The digital divide
Info/Tech literacy for patrons
Serving ALL of our users
User-Centered Services and Planning
Colaboration Staff and Users
IM- Internal Communication
How do we serve millenials
How do we work with millenials
RSS and Push- as they want it
Tons of inviting space and study rooms
PEW Internet studies as tool
Training offered from vendors and Indiana legal services
Tablet PCs and Roving Ref
Games and Gamers (How do we serve them)
Making decisions for managers
Mentoring/Job Awareness
Look at Normative Data and Stories
Making the library discoverable
Reader’s Advisory
Examining and sharing our roots and core values
Emergent literacy and skills
Examine Web Statistics
Wikis- How can we use them?
Intellectual Freedom

Then I asked the crowd to vote for their top 5. Those were listed -- and 5 became 6!! -- and we did some brainstorming of those. I must say it was HOT times 3!

Our Top Six:
Emergent Literacy
Reader's Advisory
Collaboration/ Communication
User Centered Services and Discovery
Millenials and Gamers

From this, we are putting together a document for sharing with the staff and for looking at action items. The cool thing is many of these things are being discussed at the admin level as well as in departments. Check out the Top 6... this was totally a collaborative effort. How does it jive with your library?

Marianne took the photos and Sarah and Maire transcripted the session!

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November 22, 2004

New Job..New Duties...

I have not written about this yet because I've been so busy with school and the two Internet Librarian conferences but I wanted to post a quick note here. You may have noticed the banner on the lefty hand side now lists my new title -- Special projects Librarian. This came about because while head of Networked Resources Development and Training, I started school and went part time. Then I lost two memebrs of my team to advanced aopportunities at other places! (Way to go Dale and Bob!)

It did not sit well with me to be a PT manager of a department that has 2 FT vacancies so I sat down with the powers that be at SJCPL and a plan for reorganization was born.

I am now doing cool stuff related to technology in the library system, that may include some video production in the future, media creation and content writing. Things are going well. I will still have a hand in Web stuff and Tech training stuff.

Posted by Michael at 11:08 AM

September 13, 2004

SJCPL Goes Live with IM Reference

Take a look:

The site instructs our patrons :

Ask a question via a live chat session Monday through Saturday during the Main Library hours of operation. We have user names for AIM, Yahoo! and MSN Messenger. A professional librarian will gladly help you find the information you seek, be it in print or online.

For AIM, our screen name at SJCPL is asksjcpl.

For Yahoo!, our screen name at SJCPL is asksjcpl.

For MSN, our screen name at SJCPL is

I am very happy our reference staff has jumped on the IM thing!!!

Posted by Michael at 06:22 PM | Comments (0)

September 02, 2004

@ SJCPL Planning Retreat

For the next 36 hours I will be at the SJCPL Long Range Planning Retreat at the Oakwood Retreat Center. The Center has WiFi!

More later!

Posted by Michael at 09:37 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2004

Back to work!

I'm back after over 10 weeks of leave! In that time I started school at UNT, visited Orlando for ALA and spent 5+ weeks in Traverse City!

Now I'm going through the piles of mail, returning messages and getting back into the groove. For the next two years I will be a part time manager, still heading up the Networked Resources Development and Training department at SJCPL. The other time will be devoted to school, speaking and writing.

I'll post again soon!

Posted by Michael at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

August 04, 2004

SJCPL Staffer Publishes!

Well done Franklin!!! Our SJCPL staffer from Local History has published Southern St. Joseph County (Images of America)!

Amazon Link!

Posted by Michael at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)

July 31, 2004

More WiFi Press!

And Bob is in the picture!

Posted by Michael at 12:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 10, 2004

Security & Crisis Prevention in Libraries by SJCPL Fellas

Congrats to Larry Bennett and Ralph Takach!! They presented a program attended by over 100 people in Indianapolis on Thursday, May 4, 2004. "Defusing Hostility and Preventing Violence in the Library and Techniques for a Safe and Secure Library, sponsored by the Indiana State Library, was a success!

The program offered librarians the chance to:

• Learn how to recognize early warning signals of anger or hostility.
• Become aware of how to handle unsettling situations involving patrons by using a variety of communication styles.
• Learn how to keep the behavior from escalating into a crisis and how to protect library staff through intervention techniques.
• Learn how to maintain composure in a stressful situation involving a patron.
• Decide when to call for security or the police.
• Learn about library building security and how to protect your building from theft and crime.

The two presenters bios & topics:

Ralph Takach, Facilities Manager, St. Joseph County Public Library, is a Certified Trainer in the “Street Smart from 9 to 5” program designed by the Crisis Prevention Institute. He will give an overview of skills and techniques that have proven successful at the St. Joseph County Public Library.

Larry Bennett, Head of Security, St. Joseph County Public Library, was employed by the South Bend Police Department for 33 years and was the Chief of Police in South Bend for the last three of those years. He will address various methods that are used at the St. Joseph County Public Library to keep patrons and staff safe and secure.

And of course, the photos:

From left to right: Larry Bennet, Ginny Andis, Planning Consultant for the Indiana State Library, and Ralph Takach


Posted by Michael at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

April 05, 2004

SBT Article Online...

Will only be available for 7 days...


Posted by Michael at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

SJCPL Blog make the Local Paper

Library communicates with blogs
Web logs easy to update, viewed via Internet
By ANNIE BASINSKI Tribune Staff Writer

This morning in the South Bend Tribune, SJCPL received some nice press in the form of an article about our blog, which last week underwent a change from two seperate blogs to one BIG one!

"Blogs ranging from personal to political are turning up everywhere on the Internet -- from Howard Dean's presidential campaign blog to Newsweek's "MarthaWatch." Michael Stephens, head of networked resources development and training at the St. Joseph County Public Library, started "blogging" last year after he learned about blogs, or Web logs, at a computer and library conference. He had visited blogs for his own personal use and decided to introduce his library to them.

"Blog was the buzz word at the conference," he said. "People are using blogs to keep library information current and to promote library material." Like Web sites, blogs communicate information via the Internet. Blogs also often display links to other Web sites and have dated postings -- sometimes with commentary -- similar to journal entries written by the blogs' authors.

One difference between blogs and conventional Web sites is that blogs can be updated more easily through blog publishing software, so information can be changed faster and more frequently.

Web logs allow bloggers to communicate instantly by using software programs such as iBlog, which powers SJCPL's blogs.

"It really is an efficient way to deliver content because the programming is done automatically," Stephens said.

Last May, St. Joseph County Public Library added a Book Blog and Sights and Sounds Blog to its Web site.

The blogs, created and maintained by bloggers Joseph Sipocz, head of collection development, and Julie Hill, head of sights and sounds, list titles of best sellers, newly ordered books, DVDs, videotapes and CDs and provide commentary on recent library acquisitions.

"A blog has a diarylike feel and is usually in reverse chronological order," said Stephens.

The library's blogs include summaries of books and media and have links to reviews and authors' and artists' Web sites. Links to photos, excerpts and other media can also be found on the blogs....."

Take a look at the SJCPL Lifeline: All the News that's Fit to Blog. I was inspired by KPL Librarian David King at CIL who said our users don't want to go to different places for content. The new SJCPL blog will include all the Book Blog stuff, the AV info and much much more.

We have also moved on from iBlog -- which gave out on me at CIL -- and into Movable Type! We also moved to a directiory at from a .mac account.

Posted by Michael at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2004

Open Book Festival at SJCPL

Yesterday was our annual Open Book Festival at SJCPL. There were activities, authors and fun! The coolest thing was the appearance of spooky author Jonathan Rand, who resides Up North. He even wrote a book set in Traverse City!

This is an excellent example of what libraries can do to promote reading of course but also to promote the library as meeting place and social center. Well done Open Book Committee!!

Here's Dana and Lori with the Man himself!

Posted by Michael at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)