the future of libraries in the digital age
Your Name and Title:
Dr Beata Cessak Obydzinski, System Reference Supervising Librarian
Library, School, or Organization Name:
Monterey County Free Libraries,
formerly Maria Curie-Sklodowska University (UMCS) in Lublin, Poland
Area of the World from Which You Will Present:
Language in Which You Will Present:
English (can answer questions in Polish as well)
Adult services and reference librarians in public libraries
Short Session Description (one line):
Readers advisory for local book clubs as new reference – Book Club to Go program (MCFL) as an example
Full Session Description (as long as you would like):
In the time of economic crisis many people buy fewer books and rely more heavily on public libraries. This is true even for many avid readers who participate in book clubs. Libraries want to help providing enough copies of the books for local book clubs by organizing special programs with bags of books and discussion questions that circulate among the book clubs. It is a great idea and is very popular among the public. However, management of such programs is very complex and difficult from the staff point of view. I will show several examples of public libraries using such programs.
I will tell my story as a coordinator of such a program Book Club to Go (BC2G) in Monterey County Free Libraries in Central Coast California since February 2008. We have 106 bags now and over 160 people signed. I will explain the process of selecting books and management of the program. I will explain our small failures and what we learned from them: attempt to have bilingual (Spanish, English) bags, when bags get lost etc.
We started when our ILS was Classic Dynix and in the meantime we migrated to Polaris. Many adjustments had to be done to make this switch invisible for our program users. I will explain the management of the program: its ILS component, the website, the software with calendar etc. I will also explain why it is not such an easy thing and why books of bags cannot be treated like books and we cannot let ILS manage the holds: difference between placing an inactive hold for an item and reserving it for a specific date. I will share two examples from other Polaris libraries how they manage to run the program differently from ours.
In the meantime, due to budget cuts, our library lost subscription to NoveList that I was using heavily for BC2G and how it affected us. I will show several excellent free resources for book clubs and how to use them effectively with Google custom search engine. I will emphasize my great cooperation with LitLovers.
I will share how I use LibraryThing for gathering statistics and keeping track of past usages of the groups (as opposed to ILS counting individual patrons’ usage).
I will also share some testimonies of the users who modified their style of managing their book clubs to use our program to the most. Every year we are conducting a survey among the users and learn interesting things. Next year I will add another question to the survey: if your members use electronic devices for reading (tell us how many and which devices: Kindle, iPad, smartphone etc.), how does it affect your choice of books for future reading and your discussion. I already heard from several people that some book club users insist that only books available as eBooks downloadable on certain devices are picked for discussion that limits the selection. I will show the availability of our 106 titles as eBooks.
Websites / URLs Associated with Your Session: