Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Jo Dereske mentioned the Rural Libraries Conference 2007 in her online newsletter. Check it out at http://www.jodereske.com/newsletter.htm

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Your brainstorming!

During the Rural Libray Sustainability Program sessions, the group brainstormed ideas in the following categories:

Library Connections
Technology Connections
Upgrade and Maintenance
Staff and Patron Training

Take a look at the WebJunction site for Michigan and you will see the compiled lists.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Copy of e-mail sent to RLC attendees

Greetings Everyone!

You are getting this e-mail because you were on the registration list for the Loleta Fyan Small and Rural Libraries Conference 2007. It was great to see so many people at the Grand Traverse Resort! If you were not able to join us, you can still take advantage of the information on the blog and on WebJunction (see below for details).

Here are some follow-ups:

1. If you submitted a CEU Record Sheet at the end of the conference, we will be mailing to you your CEU Certificate. We had indicated on the form that certificates would be mailed no later than June 9, 2007, so please know that we are working on them for you. If you have a level 7 certification that has expired since you attended the conference, you will be able to send in your re-certification paperwork once you receive your certificate and we will retroactively re-certify you if all is in order.

2. Those of you who attended both days of the Gates Rural Library Sustainability Program (RLSP) at the conference will receive a follow-up from WebJunction staff that will include a post-assessment link so that you can go in and complete this survey online. There is an incentive for your trouble - we will have a drawing from those who submit their post-assessment and you could win a coupon for free WebJunction courses. (Taking WebJunction courses will earn you CEUs.)

3. We received a lot of feedback from you via the evaluations! The conference evaluations are being compiled and, when complete, will be posted on the RLC area of the Library of Michigan website. We appreciate the time and consideration taken to provide your thoughts!

4. For those of you who did not receive a USB flash drive after the RLSP portion of the conference, we do have some left and would be glad to give one to you, while supplies last. Please send an e-mail to Jenn Houseman at jhouseman@michigan.gov asking for a RLC flash drive. We prefer to send them via MeLCat delivery, so please indicate if you are on the statewide delivery. If not, include your mailing address.

5. The content from the flash drives is posted on the WebJunction Michigan forum for rural and small libraries at http://www.webjunction.org/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=332. You will also find other items of interest there, so take a look! Familiarize yourself with the WebJunction All Aboard community by going to the main page at http://www.webjunction.org/forums/.

6. Finally, there are two more things to look for as follow-ups to the Rural Libraries Conference. One is that I will be posting a document of the compiled brainstorming results from the RLSP program. Remember the Post-It sheets around the room on the walls with the very colorful sticky notes? There were some great ideas captured and they will be posted both here and on the Library of Michigan RLC web site. Also, I will be mailing out to you your action plan post card(s) so you will have a reminder of your thoughts for follow-through.

If you have questions or comments, let me know! Enjoy the long weekend! -Sheryl

p.s. People are still posting to the RLC blog, so you may want to take a look there. Marian T. Librarian posted her letter to Roger. Take a look: http://rlc2007.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gen X/Y Programming, Services, and Collections

Here is a link to the program that was presented at RLC by Angela Semifero and Laurie St. Laurent of Marshall District Library: http://rlcgenxy.googlepages.com/. Check it out!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Post conference follow-ups for you!

Hi All,

Well, I certainly needed to catch up on my sleep after the conference! It was great to see you all there!

I thought we could continue to post information here on this blog and also begin to use the WebJunction community area to ask questions and share ideas/best practices. (Take a look at the conversation about web 2.0 at
http://www.webjunction.org/forums/thread.jspa?threadID=4066&tstart=0 or post something under the Michigan section of the rural libraries area at http://webjunction.org/forums/forum.jspa?forumID=332.)

Jenny Levine wrote about her time at Rural Libraries Conference on her blog, the Shifted Librarian, at

Michael Stephens also wrote on his blog, Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology. See

Evette Atkin blogged her comments during Jenny and Michael’s presentation. See

I will add more tomorrow! Gotta go ;-) -Sheryl

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Marian's letter to Roger

Dear Roger:
Well another Rural conference is under our belts. I can't believe taht the first one in 1985 would start me on a journey that would involve meeting so many wonderful people.

This year I worked with Deb Bacon-Ziegler in promoting the conference. I learned to BLOG and wrote an informative column which I think might get sindicated. Deb and i also became friends sharing fashion tips, shoes and nail polish. Now she's gone, gone to Chicago to work for a cooking school library--I've always wondered if virgin oil is really virgin???

Oh well- as to the conference, it was another great experience. I learned a lot, everything from library law to how many librarians it takes to screw in a light bulb.

Speaking of maintaining the library we have redone the library director's office. I contacted Trading Spaces and that good looking carpenter Carter who is a native of Traverse City, came and installed a new desk, shelves, a computer desk for my new Apple IIe computer and anything else that would keep him working in my office..

In the library our new computer lab was installed. Some of the libraries in our coop bough Dell's--we got a better deal from WalMart. We got 10 computers, 10 flat screen monitors but only 5 keyboards. People in Lake Neverwuz are accustomed to sharing so we don't see it as a problem.

Speaking of sharing-Maureen Burns shared some important things for us to remember. We need to smile-even in the face of adversity. I tried that but have had trouble picking the bugs out of my teeth. I met Maureen several years ago, she has changed my life. I was shy and retiring, like you Roger, wearing navy and black--but not anymore. Today it's color, color, color and bling, bling, bling. I've also been working with Ann Holt. Ann's retiring in 2007 and I think I've convinced her that sequins are the secret in retirement. I also hope she will join our "Dancing with the Stars" program at Lake Neverwuz.
Our line up for the May program will include:
* Ann Holt and Brad Pitty doing the Capital Salsa
*Jim Seidl and Mindy Gates doing the Techno Tango
*Sheryl Mase and Lance Werner doing the Legal Sidestep
*Roger and June Mendel doing the Knit one, Pearl one Waltz
and finally
*Gail Powers-Schaub dancing the 50% State Aid Samba (You only need 50% of the dance couple for this one).

The programs at the conference were fantastic.
Lance Werner told us all about the law. As many times as I've heard him I am always surprised to find out something new. This time I learned that a FOIA was not a new energy drink, but was a request for information about things that happen at the library. He said the library minutes could be read by anyone- public information he called it- I think I'll call Judge Judy and verify this!

I also found out what polices we need regarding library cards for minors-with all the disclaimers, exceptions, transfer of identity from a minor to a consenting adult, I have to find a library card supplier that does 3x5 library cards.

Also with the Internet in order to get e-rate discounts, I have to have a CIPA cup, or something like that to protect children. We used bibs years ago.

Sheryl Mase did a fantastic job, especially with the awards. Charlevoix and Beulah libraries swept up many of the awards. I was hop____ing for an award this year, but I guess I'll have to wait another two years. Wait_____ing is half the fun of get___ing an award-Hey

Jo Dereske was our speaker Tuesday after the awards. She's a librarian and an author and has written a number of mystery books about a super sleuth librarian, Ms. Zuka. This reminds me of the time we found a body in the Lake Neverwuz County Village City District Public Library. After a closer look we found it was not a dead body-but was our board chair, Horace Dewey who sat too close to the library paste and the drawer that we store our Magic Markers. A little brandy from Ruth Harrison, reference librarian's drawer and he was as good as new--well as good as 98 years old good. He's been chair of the board since 1947. He's been a great board member. He bought our quanset hut library building from Army Surplus, wrote the grant for our Winnebago children's addition and helped us barcode the collection for our Horizon/Sirci/TripleI/Mercedes/Minicooper Circulation system. It's a little slow, until you go into overdrive /turbo mode.

Food at the Conference- Almost like being on a cruise- Speaking of cruises I just returned from a Holland America cruise. This is the cruise line that has the Dam ships, Westerdam, Oosterdam, Rotterdam- but now it also sales on the Great Lakes and their new ship is called the Beaverdam. The decor is deer heads, antelers, red plaid on formal nights and when say fresh catch of the day, they mean it.

But I digress:
At the conference there were a few rough moments when coop directors and interested parties discussed the cuts. At Lake Neverwuz we have done something to protect against the cuts:
1. We have joined all 13 coops. This way we'll get some service from each one.
2. I took the money I saved from registration for this conference and spent some quality time at the casino. I was losing for a time, ubt in the end I have enough to pay for delivery for the next eleven days.
3. Staff have been alerted that we may be cutting services. Patrons will be issued toilet paper one sheet at a time: additional sheets may be distributed with a written doctor's excuse.
4. Lights will be lite on a need to light basis. Patrons will be issued flashlites to locate books in the stacks and heat will be turned on at 9 a.m., Noon, 3 and 5 p.m. for a 15 minute period of time.

During the conference I talked with a number of lbirarians who read my BLOG and wanted to know more about our WIKI Wedding at the Library Program. For those who don't know this is a fund raiser that has become very popular.

1. We have a collection of wedding dresses; nine of them were donated by Elizabeth Taylor for brides to check out on their library cards.
2. Weddings take place in the library, Len the janitor got his minister's license on the internet, using the Gates Public Access computers.
3. We have a deal with the local funeral director and get all our flowers fresh from him. We do have to remove signs like "Dear Mother" "Great Dad". , but that only takes a minute or two.
4. We cater the reception using Rachel Ray's book "Wedding dinners in 15 minutes".
5. We have our own selection of toule in various colors.
6. Music from our CD collection.

Weddings cost from $150 and up. It's a very popular service. Each bride and groom get a library card, no fines for six months and if things don't work out, we have "Do It Yourself Divorce in 3 Days".

Char Ezell did a program on the look of your library. She showed examples of libraries with clutter, too many signs, too many nicknacks. She recommended having a focal point in the library, something that will make you pause when you enter. Some libraries have aquariums, some have fireplaces. Presently we have a wall painted Mary Kay pink that features our Chick Lit. I think I will propose to the board an 8 person hot tub situated near the entrance. Our board meetings could be held there and when we have visiting legislators they can join us and while we do our presentations on library financies, Len the janitor can turn up the heat.

We will also shelve our books by size and color; this should give the library a Fen Shu__ay feel and make shelving books easier then that Dewey way.

There was a program on Seniors and Technology. With the baby boomers maturing this is an open field for programs. The session at the conference gave me great ideas to serve this population.
Here are the top ten ideas for working with seniors:

1. Plug in your computer.
2. Press the Power Button to turn it on.
3. The mouse is moved on a pad not on the screen
4. Corrections are made using the keyboard, not by applying whiteout to the screen.
5. e-mail does not require stamps.
6. On-line dating works best if you post a picture of yourself when you were 27.
7. Don't contact the guy from Nigeria who needs help securing $11,000,000 from a bank in Pakistan.
8. When filing your income tax on line you can't claim your dog as a dependent.
9. Never give personal information, always lie.
10. When in doubt, go to the library for the answers.

We also recieved from Gates a thumb drive. These are wonderful, some people use them to store computer info. I have some other uses:
1. A whistle for emergencies, however only dogs can hear the whistle.
2. A GPS device to find staff that are not working.
3. Heat seeking devices to find the cold dead coop directors.
4. Press the red button and it becomes a Swiss Army Knife.
5. It also serves as a cell phone; you can talk into it, unfortunately you can't hear the responses.

The bookmobile will get an extreme makeover- The library logo, done in cerise, flamingo and charteruse with a hint of lemon will be painted on three sides. New white wall tires and the addition of a snack bar will enhance service. Our new bookmobile motto is: Food for the Body, Food for the Mind.

A new library staff outfit in the library colors is being designed by Ann Holt.

Male staff: Polka dot shirts in flamingo and white with charteruse shorts.
Female staff: Lemon yellow halters, and cerise mini skirts.
sandals, flipflops and boots for foot ware. Who said library staff were boring.

Oh, I almost forgot the baskets. What a great idea. Everyone that won a basket was thrilled, the one I like the best was the coop director basket it had:
1. A map of Michigan with lines drawn for the new coops.
2. A one page state aid report with two questions: Do you want money? and Who is designated to turn out the light?
3. A pink slip.
4. A bottle of gin and for those who don't inbibe a bottle of sparkling Traverse City Cherry juice
and 5: Resume building or 100 best places to retire.

I actually saw two coop directors fighting over the basket in the parking lot: I thought I heard them saying--No you take it, no you take it. I didn't stick around-thought things might get ugly.

Well I must go, we're getting ready for our seniors field trip to the Lake Neverwuz National Forest. Hopefully we won't lose anyone on this trip.

It's bye for now from Lake Neverwuz, where the men are strong, the kids all go to storyhour and the women have two ladies rooms for every one men's room.


Thursday, April 26, 2007


If you plan to purchase a meal ticket for a guest to attend any of the luncheons or dinner banquets during the Rural Libraries Conference, please contact me by Monday, April 30 at 5 p.m.

I do not yet have a final price per ticket, but they will be in the $15-25 range depending on the meal.

thanks - Deb


I'm Getting Ready are you??

Well it's less then two weeks before we get to experience another Rural Libraries Conference. I am so excited. I have been packing for several weeks. I like to have the right outfit for every occasion as well as the right shoes. I do tend to pack light though this time. This year I have cut it down to nine suitcases. I won't be able to drive the bookmobile to the conference this year so I had to drastically cut down on outfits.

I am trying keep up my spirits this year what with the 50% cut in state aid looming and the drastic things it will do to my cooperative's services. Lake Neverwuz library has been draped in black for the last few months to get the message across to our patrons that services will be cut if this reduction in state aid goes through. We also have black bookmarks, which I am finding that the public has a difficult time reading our message, maybe next time I will just border them in black. We also produced some READ posters featuring the local coroner, the funeral director and 6 pall bearers standing around the library saying read here before its dead here. I doesn't rhyme very well but people have understood the message. Oh well I am still hopeful for a "miracle".

In the mean time I do have a suit case full of comfort foods and spirits. Stop by my room for macaronic and cheese, meatloaf, mashed potatoes and chip dip. One has to keep up a good front. See you all at the conference, watch for me I bought a pair of "High Heeled Sneakers" and am ready rumba.