Saturday, November 10, 2018

#NYLA2018 : Budgeting Skills for Public Library Managers

Rochester NY buildings
Chris Finger,  the library director from Geneva Public Library, gave a presentation on the library budget and budget process. This was geared for someone who is new at budgeting, however, there were useful takeaways for anyone.

In a public library, the library board of trustees and the library director share responsibilities for creating the budget, developing scenarios, thinking about funding increases, planning budget priorities, tracking expenses, and presenting the budget to the public. The board of trustees as fiduciary responsibilities for the library, while the director is the person who is steeped in the day-to-day details. 

The board of trustees and the library director need to understand the budget process and the details of the budget.  Finger suggested that the director become immersed in the budget details. That person need to understand all of the items int the budget and should read every financial statement.  When possible, he suggested that the director shadow budget experts, as one way of gaining more knowledge.

Finger wants library directors to understand what they control in the budget.  In other words, are there specific line items that can be controlled, rather than items (e.g., heat) which the library cannot control?  He asked us to consider what control should look like.  He also suggested that we not nitpick the small items, but look at those larger items, which have a greater impact on the overall budget.

Finger talked about where the funding comes from and used his library as an example.  He noted that taxes are the library’s most stable income source.  The library has no control over other funding sources, such as grants.

In thinking about the budget and seeing support for it, Finger wants library directors to be a voice of reason be an advocate for change, and be willing to speak out on your budget needs.  You should look at the budget and determine those areas for which your funders will be willing to provide stable support.

In terms of friends groups and foundations, Finger suggested that the library be honest about what its needs.  Can the group give you the money to address your needs?  That might be different that what its funding has been used for in the past.  He said that the true value of a friends group is its goodwill and its ability to be an ambassador for the library.  Yes, it raises money, but it does much more than that.

Finger advocated for creating multi-year budget scenarios, so you can see how funding changes will impact future years.  That would also allow you to show how increased funding, for example, would impact what the library would be able to do in future years.

In planning the budget, don't just rely on last year. Consider what is changing.  But rely on last year over your intuition. Don’t guess.

Finger believes in looking at where money needs to be spent.  For example, don't consider replacing a broken desk as being a luxury item. That is something which needs to be done and funding should be spent on it.  Also don't use the budget to pit departments against each other, if at all possible. Make the budget something everyone can support.

Friday, November 09, 2018

#NYLA2018: Libraries are for Everyone

Andrea Snyder from Pioneer Library System (OWWL) gave this presentation.

Snyder referenced:
  • Images from
  • Dare to Lead by Brene Brown.  The quote she used was, “I’m a traveler, not a map maker.”
According to Snyder, OWWL covers four counties, approximately 300,000 people.  Demographically the area is 90% white, 95% born in US, 12% identify as having a disability.
Libraries are for everyone
Is the "library for everyone" a token phrase? What does it really mean?  OWWL fully acknowledges the changes that are needed and sees this as an aspiration.  They support and push their libraries (friends groups,etc.j ) to learn change policies, and create inclusive environments.  It is hard and messy.

What did they do?
  • They did a branding campaign - lawn signs (English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic). Mugs,  Buttons, T-shirts and Lanyards
  • Professional development opportunities. If libraries are all about education, library staff need to doing professional development, too.  Topics included:
    • Implicit bias
    • Cultural humility - through conversations and constant learning, I can get to to know you as a person.  This is built upon work by Julianne Moseley, who came out of the healthcare field.
    • Safe zone training - creating a safe space for LGBTQ
    • Sessions on substance abuse and what library staff can do
    • Digital inclusion 
    • Supporting job seekers
    • Collection development
  • Collection development
    • More audio books 
    • Concept of windows (into a life that is not like me) and mirrors (reflecting what you are like)
    • Book bundles
  • Poverty simulation
  • Palmyra Community Library and Family Promise(R)
    • For homeless families
    • Case management 
    • Volunteers at the library and night to stay with families living in 5br library at night
  • Kids Reads Free Pilot Program
Other ideas:
  • Get comfortable being uncomfortable 
  • Purchase books that refl3ct the greater world.
Andrea Snyder
What Andrea Snyder presented was impressive. Clearly PLS is a taking an aggressive pace on all of this and is a system worthy of being watched.

#NYLA2018 : Nazis in the Library

Sara Dallas was the moderator and Nick Buron (Queens Library) and Patty Utarro  (Rochester Public Library/ Monroe County Library System) provided their prospective.  The overarching questions was, "Are libraries truly neutral and open to all?"

Are libraries neutral?
Buron - 50% of the Queens borough was born outside of the US.  We don’t welcome people who themselves re not welcoming.  He believes that the organization is, but that the people,who work in it are not.
Utarro - As safe and as neutral as can be.  She recognizes that people are need to deal with everyone in the same way,  it that is hard for people to do.  It takes fortitude to work in a library and be public facing.  It may not be a role for everyone.  You have to be able to put aside your feelings. They Library belongs to the people in the community.

What would you do if ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) asked about the programs at your library or just showed up?
Buron - The Library is open to all, which means all.  Programs are publicly known.  ICE or other law enforcement may come into the library and you don’t know they are there.  You need to talk with your staff in advance to know why the library’s procedure is.
Utarro - The mayor has issued information to help local government. The library should contact the mayors office if ICE shows up.

How do you make sure that your staff have the tools and the knowledge to handle a situation?
Utarro - You need to have a good form of communication with your staff.  Communicating in this area should be the same as how you communicate in other areas.

What would you do if a patron asks for holocaust denial information?
Utarro - You don’t know why the person wants the information.  You shouldn’t make assumptions. You should help the person.  Your staff should have the flexibility to step away, if they are uncomfortable, and allow someone else to help the patron.  You the library cannot refuse to help the patron.

Should you find the most verifiable sources in this instance?
Talk to the person about verifiable sources and turn it into a moment of learning.

If someone asks about how to build a bomb?
Buron - It is information that is “out there.” What type of bomb? Yes, answer the question.  

Is part of the problem staff morale?
Utarro - Yes, staff are seeing and dealing with really awful things every day.  Staff are getting emotionally burned out. 
Buron - They are seeing fewer reference questions and dealing with more public conduct issues.

How do you respond to people who tell you why they want the information?  For example, a person wants info to convince a child that the child is not gay?
Buron - You almost don’t want to know why the person wants the information.  It is a chance to talk about reputable sources.  Talk about the facts.

Comment - Be aware that some of those awkward questions are being asked by students who are doing assignments.

Should you treat these questions as readers advisory?  
Buron - Yes, your collection development policy should collect a range of materials, including both sides of an issue.
Utarro - The collection and your programs should not be homogeneous.  You should stimulate public discourse.

Comment - Ask for the context.  Then talk about the type of information that is available to use in that context.

Question - How does this square with Title IX and creating a safe workplace?
Utarro - Referenced Feb. 16, 2007 news story that was done on Rochester Public Library.  It was a situation that was causing workplace harassment.  They instituted a filter, with the caveat that adults could ask that the filter unblocked.  Computers have privacy screens.
Buron - “The Freedom to View” - Do we provide access to porn? People can use the WiFi and their own devices to view whatever they want.  Desktop computers do have filters.

Does the answer change if it is a child or young adult?
Utarro - Unsure how she would respond.  She later noted that teen librarians in Monroe County are not mandated reporters.
Buron - Treat the person respectfully.  Treat it as a teaching/learning opportunity.  If someone says they are going to harm themselves, that is a situation that you should act on.

Comment - Through the reference interview, you learn to confront your own assumptions.

Meeting rooms 
Buron - You need good meeting room policies. If you don’t want singing, then don’t allow it for anyone.  Queens has an open door policy; there are no closed meetings.
Utarro - Have your meeting room policy vetted by an attorney.  
Dallas - Flyers should say that the program is not sponsored by the library.

Comment - All activities stay in the meeting room. No handing out materials or asking for money.

Is it practical to enforce these policies?
Buron - Make a policy that is not subjective.  Don’t trust a specific group more than another.
Dallas - You can be sued if you don’t implement the policy equally.

Utarro - Mental Health.  Difference. Flexibility. Mindfulness. Training doesn’t always work. Staff doesn’t always know what triggers them.

Are you asking librarians to act like parents?
Utarro - Stop saying that we don’t act like babysitters or parents, because in reality we do. We need to change how we staff our libraries to do this work.
Comment - You May  not be a parent, but you are a neighbor.
Art - Their are policies that are publicly available, which you can refer to.

Is the library liable, if someone acts on what they learn in the library (e.g., suicide)?
Buron - What we do has ramifications. It is more important to be a trusted location, then to do what people like.

#NYLA2018 : Some of My Day 1 and 2 Notes

Freedom of Information and Open Meetings Laws, Robert Freeman
Freeman is the Executive Director of the NYS Committee on Open Government.
This could be a very boring topic but Freeman kept it lively with his humor and music quotes.
I learned that library board of trustee meeting are governed by the type of library it is (in NYS) and the law that corresponds. Freeman mentioned the Freedom of Information Laws and Section 268 of the Education laws.  These laws govern when laws need to be open to the public, rules around announcing meetings, etc.  
Some specific thoughts:
  • Executive sessions require a vote of the majority of the board (not just those that are present).
  • You cannot schedule an executive session, because going into an executive session depends on the vote.  The agenda can note that an executive session is anticipated.
  • Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  In other words, being transparent is preferred.
  • Email is not subject to opens meeting law.  It is not simultaneous communication.
  • Simultaneous communication would be subject to the open meetings law.
  • It is a good practice to have dedicated email for board business.  Email is subject to FIOL (Freedom of Information Law).
  • NYS law contains a definition of what a record is.
  • Opens meeting law given the public right to be there, but gives says nothing about their right to speak.  You can establish reasonable rules that allow people to speak equally.   If the board allows positive comments about its staff, it must allow negative comments.  The board is not obligated to respond.  “Thank you for your comment.”
  • Records retention requirements established by the State Archives.
  • Minutes of open meetings -minimal requirements - summary of actions taken, votes. Made available within two weeks. Nothing in law says that minutes must be approved. No need to include verbatim comments in the minutes.Must keep records (somewhere) of how people voted.  Recordings of meetings must be kept for four months.
  • No law about agendas.
  • If there is discussion, materials should be available in advance.
  • Cannot participate by phone.
I Still Don’t Want to Talk About It - This continues to be one of my most favorite NYLA sessions.  One topic that caught my attention was about leaves of absence for those with health concerns.  The Guide for the Family and Medical Leave Act is a great resource for understanding this. If you are a person, who thinks you will need to take a family or medical leave, or someone who has staff who are asking for a leave, this is a resources to consult.

Serving Refugees: Working Together as a Community - What was important about this session was understanding what process refugees go through, in order to come to the U.S., and then what resources are available to them once they are here.  The screening process includes:
  • 8 different government agencies
  • 5 separate background checks
  • 4 biometric security checks
  • 3 in person interviews
 Once families are in the U.S., the government resources for them are quite defined and limited.  Other not-for-profit agencies step in to help, including English language skills.  
Becoming a U.S. citizen is not easy and the test costs $725.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

#NYLA2018 : Keynote - Our Voices Together: How Conversations Create Change

Looking up inside the San Francisco Public Library Main Branch
This was an AMAZING keynote given by two women, who work in the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL).  Leah Esguerra is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT). She is the nation's first full-time library social worker.  Jennifer Keys has been a Health and Safety Associate (HASA) since May 2017 at the San Francisco Public Library.  While working at a HASA at SFPL, she has successfully completed a course in Peer Counseling and is now a Certified Peer Specialist. Both are employed by the San Francisco Department of Homelessness, and are deployed in the library.  Jen is one of six (6) HASAs and there are plans to employ 10 more.
Leah spoke first about her role at SFPL as a full-time social worker.  She has worked there since 2009, serving the poor and disenfranchised. She noted that social work and librarianship are two different professional with similar missions.

In 2003, SFPL reached out to the City's Department of Public Health to discuss a need they saw in the city libraries.  Her first efforts were to have conversation with every branch and department at the library.  She learned that the library is a unique public place.  People come to libraries for many different reasons grounded in joy or pain. 
Staff have different understandings of the community, including misconceptions.  Staff often have different levels of compassion. Part of her role is to do training for staff on a variety of topics.
HASAs (health and safety associates) have experienced some of the same issues as those they serve.  Because of their experiences, they are able to treat everyone without judgment.
Leah said she see everyone who walks into a SFPL Library is a potential client. Everyone’s story is different.  There is not one solution that fits everyone. Leah and her team of HASAs make themselves available to those who may need help, starting by introducing themselves and what they do. HASAs may see our those who need help. Discussions happen in quiet spaces, but will move to an enclosed, private space when confidential matters are discussed.  By using open, quiet space, the interaction is seen as less threatening.  They want people acknowledged, and helped, but not exposed (i.e., disrespected).
Each HASA works 4-5 hours per day, with the recognition that they have more work to do on themselves and need the time to do it.  They do cover hours during the evenings and weekends, and work at the main library and at four high needs branches.   Leah checks in with the HASAs at the start and end of their shifts.  Leah noted that the HASA program has become an employment program, and a way for people gain/transition to full-time employment.

Leah and the San Francisco Public Library has partnered with other groups, such as one that provides mobile showers. They bring services to the library so that people do not need to run around to so many areas to make those resources.

Since starting the program, 120+ assisted have gained permanent housing.
Many libraries are now doing similar work including Washington (DC), Denver, and Brooklyn.  One library in Arizona has hired nurses as part of their staff.

Jennifer is a heath and safety associate (HASA) and a peer advisor.  Her personal story is one of joy and pain, highs and lows.  She told the story of her family and of her life.  (I will not repeat the details here for fear of getting them wrong, and because I feel this is her story to tell.)  The impact of her childhood eventually let her to have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  She became unemployed in 2008, which lead to her being homeless. 

Jen has not worked with SFPL for 1.5 years, where she works to help those who are going through their own difficulties.  She recognizes that those people need acceptance, respect, and compassion.  Her background allows her to do that with each person.

During the Q&A, Leah state the benefits of being part the Department of Homelessness, in terms of liability and insurance. She noted that their positions are fully funded and that the library pays for their services.  Yes, they follow HIPAA and the rules related to confidentiality.

At the start of her talk, Leah noted that she had spoken to many members of the media, but in terms of giving presentations, she had given those to small groups (15-30 people).  There were approximately 1000 people in the room (and it was standing room only).  It was the biggest group that Leah or Jen had ever spoken in front of.  It was a group that was quiet, because everyone was listening intently (and also likely on the verge of tears.) And it was a group that gave Jen a standing ovation when she finished her talk; one that she served 10 fold!

Jeremy Johannesen, NYLA's Excutive Director, calls every NYLA conference "the best conference ever!"  Well, this keynote was clearly the best keynote ever, because it wasn't theory or "pie in the sky", but about an issue that we are all dealing with. And it was given by two women whose stories are real and inspiring.  NYLA, thank you!

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Lee Rainie and Trust, Facts, Democracy and Technology

Lee Rainie at Syracuse UniversityLast week, Lee Rainie - director, internet and technology, Pew Research Center - spoke several times at Syracuse University, including two public talks.  On Oct. 31, Rainie spoke on "Trust, Facts and Democracy: What the public is thinking in these tense times" (#TullyCenterRainie) and on Nov. 1 he spoke on the "Reckoning of Technology Companies."  As always, Rainie came loaded with facts, graphics, and stories.

There is much that I could write about what Rainie said, however, I encourage you to look at the research on the Pew website under "Internet & Technology".  There you will find publications, presentations, datasets and more.  What I do want to focus this post on is Rainie's response to a specific question.

Lee Rainie has been a frequent speaker at library conferences. With that in mind, I asked him a generic question about "access to information" and encourage him to take that question in any direction he wished.  Rainie listed off several things (not necessarily in order of importance):
  • People are turning to their mobile devices first for information.  Some of that information is being delivered with a geographic context to it.  In other words, you are receiving was is important to you in the geographic spot you're in.
  • People are relying on alerts to inform them of what is going on. Alerts are a big part of the systems we're now using.  Relying on alerts means that people are doing less browsing.
  • This is a rise in app usage (which goes along with the two points above), which also means that people trust apps. Trust was something Rainie returned to again and again in his presentations.
  • People are engaging in multi-screen experiences.  This might mean watching the news on one screen, for example, while surfing/searching on another in an effort to make sense of what is happening ("meaning making").
  • We're engaging in synthesized media experiences, which means that what we are receiving is being synthesized by someone or something.  "Someone" else is curating for us and deciding what we will see.
  • We are interacting with technology more by voice (voice interfaces). 
  • Print books - and to some extent print journals - have had a staying power that we did not anticipate. We assumed that digital books (ebooks) would become dominant, but that has not been the case.
One of the take-aways from Rainie's talks was that which social media platforms we're using is changing.  Usage is different by age group and area of the world (e.g., WeChat).  Some platforms, which we think are heavily used, aren't as popular as we think (e.g., Twitter).  Pew is starting to collect data specifically on YouTube and we can see from this chart how popular it is (U.S. data). If we are trying to deliver a message that we want heard, we need to seriously think of which platform the "receivers" are using.  For example, young people are turning away from Facebook, so if we're trying to reach them, we need to go where they are now.

Lee Rainie

My apologies for not having a clearer image of this slide.

Friday, November 02, 2018

The Durationator Facebook posts on the Music Modernization Act

It can be fascinating to see someone's comments, when that person is reading a news article, a book, or a piece of legislation.  That fascination is doubly good when the person is reading changes to Title 17, the U.S. Copyright Law. Someone at the Durationator® decided to give all of a peek into the comments and questions the person had while reading the Music Modernization Act.  The person wrote 16 posts on Facebook, which are available for anyone to read. I've listed them below with their links.

The posts are generally short, but they do give you an idea of the complexity of the Music Modernization Act and how much of Title 17 it touches.  This, of course, doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the MMA - in fact it may raise some questions - but that shouldn't stop you from reading them.

Post 1: Music Modernization Act of 2018 - Duration Terms
Post 2: Exclusive Rights for Sound Recordings
Post 3: Preemption
Post 4: [No post 4]
Post 5: The Classics Protection and Access Act, Section 1401
Post 6: The Classics Protection and Access Act, Section 1401(a)(2)
Post 7: The Classics Preservation and Access Act, Pre-1923 Works
Post 8:  Music Modernization Act of 2018 - Duration Terms Continued
Post 9: The Classics Preservation and Access Act, Fair Use
Post 10: Library Exceptions under Section 108
Post 11: First Sale Doctrine applies to pre-1972 sound recordings
Post 12: Classroom Uses
Post 13: Ephemeral Uses
Post 14: Section 108(h)
Post 15: Material Online
Post 16: Noncommercial Uses
Post 17: Summary

The Duratonator is the work of Limited Times, LLC, which grew out of work at Tulane University. Its has an advisory board, which include people I know to have sound copyright footing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Details of the Music Modernization Act which has been signed into law

iBand on the lakeOn Oct. 11, 2018, the Music Modernization Act was signed into law in the U.S. According to the GRAMMY Advocacy & Public Policy Office, the Act does the following:
For Songwriters
  • Creates a new and transparent collection entity to ensure that songwriters always get paid for mechanical licenses when digital services use their work
  • Lets ASCAP and BMI secure fair rates for their songwriters
  • Establishes fair compensation for songwriters when the government sets rates
For Artists
  • Closes the "pre-1972 loophole" so that digital services will pay legacy artists the compensation they deserve
  • Establishes fair compensation for artists when the government sets rates
For Studio Professionals
  • Gives copyright protection to producers and engineers for the first time in history
For Fans
  • Provides fans with more access to music across digital music services due to better music data sharing
However, as Ed Christma notes, there is work to be done - and done quickly - in order to implement the act.   This includes the creation  of a music licensing collective, with a board of directors. Christma writes that:
The collective will need a board of directors comprising 10 publishers; four songwriters who own their own publishing; and three nonvoting advisers, including one who will represent the digital services.
Also a "global database to collect song information and match compositions to recordings" needs to be built.  That in itself is now small feat.  Near the end of his article, Christma says:
The collective must begin operations by Jan. 1, 2021, at which time the statutory blanket licenses take effect. It took 20 years to get to this point; now the industry has 26 months for step two. 
So much to do and do quickly indeed.

The U.S Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office has played a role in developing this legislation and the law does modify Title 17.  In its overview of the law, the Office states:
Title II—Classics Protection and Access, among other things, brings pre-1972 sound recordings partially into the federal copyright system by extending remedies for copyright infringement to owners of sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972. The federal remedies for unauthorized use of pre-1972 sound recordings shall be available for 95 years after first publication of the recording, ending on December 31 of that year, subject to certain additional periods. These periods provide varying additional protection for pre-1972 sound recordings, based on when the sound recording was first published:
  • For recordings first published before 1923, the additional time period ends on December 31, 2021.
  • For recordings first published between 1923-1946, the additional time period is 5 years after the general 95-year term.
  • For recordings first published between 1947-1956, the additional time period is 15 years after the general 95-year term.
  • For all remaining recordings first fixed prior to February 15, 1972, the additional transition period shall end on February 15, 2067.
This section applies a statutory licensing regime similar to that which applies to post-1972 sound recordings, e.g., the statutory licenses for noninteractive digital streaming services — such as internet radio, satellite radio, and cable TV music services. It also establishes a process for lawfully engaging in noncommercial uses of pre-1972 sound recordings that are not being commercially exploited. The legislation also applies certain existing title 17 limitations on exclusive rights and limitations on liability to uses of pre-1972 sound recordings, e.g., sections 107 (fair use), 108 (libraries and archives), 109 (first sale), 110 (certain public performances), 112(f) (certain ephemeral copies) and 512 (safe harbor provisions for online service providers).
Note that as of this writing (10/24/2018), the text of the Copyright Law available on the U.S. Copyright Office website had not yet been updated to reflect changes due to the Music Modernization Act and the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act.

Now What?

Music copyright is not my strength and so I'm on the lookout for good articles about what this might mean for libraries.  Does it change what libraries do on a day-to-day basis? Does it change what music libraries have access to?  Does it impact digitization?  Is there a consequence that isn't obvious? I'm seeing nothing that points to the answers of those questions being "yes", but I'm also not seeing anything that says the answer are "no."  At this point, I'm looking forward to the updated book by Dr. Kenneth Crews, which I know he is revising to include changes to copyright law which have occurred this year.

Do keep in mind that some aspects of the law do not go into effect until 2021, so we have time to panic about some of the details!



Monday, October 22, 2018

Webinar Recording Available: Assuring Library Materials Can Be Used by Your Community

PCI Webinars provides continuing education for library organizations of all types and sizes.  In September I was honored to give a webinar for them on "Assuring Library Materials Can Be Used by Your Community."  PCI archives all of their webinars and this one is available for viewing.  This is a useful topic for collection development managers, library directors, and those charged with understanding the needs of their communities.  The webinar can be purchases for online viewing or as a DVD.


Having materials in a library’s collection is good; having those materials in the formats needed by the library’s community is much better. The act of supplying content in the formats that community members require is critically important to meeting their information needs.

This informative webinar will delve into ways of discerning the format needs of a community, including using the census and other data, along with existing reports, to discern the best way of provisioning material for the community.

After this webinar, participants will be able to:
  • Explain the various ways content can be made accessible to members of a library’s community
  • Examine U.S. Census data and draw preliminary conclusions based on that data
  • Select data from other sources which will support an understanding of the community’s accessibility needs

Thursday, October 18, 2018

#JCLC2018, bullet journals, and the speed of life (and work)

JCLC conference logo
It has been over two weeks since I returned from JCLC, and life has moved quickly.  This will be a catch-up blog post, covering a number of topics, and I might ramble a bit.


I had not been to either of the previous JCLC events and so I worried if I would know anyone there.  I should not have feared, because this conference drew people from across the U.S. and from a variety of different library associations. Yes, there were people whom I knew and many new people for me to meet.

Most of the JCLC participants were people of color, which made for different conversations and interactions.  This was a conference where we could talk about topics from our own perspective and make that perceptive the focus of the conversation.   You might not think that would be a huge difference, but it was.  I especially liked that those conversation were active on Twitter and are still continuing today using #JCLC2018.

One of the conversations, which arose quickly after the conference, was the role of allies, who are not people of color.  Yes, there is a role for allies, but it could be that those allies need some training so that their efforts are indeed appropriate.  That training might include more on microaggressions, for example.

JCLC did not have a code of conduct and I think that developing one could help lay expectations for the next conference in 2022.

Bullet Journaling

Because I was working the SU iSchool booth, I didn't get to attend many sessions.  However, one of the sessions I went to was on using the bullet journal method for setting daily to-do's and tracking what you are actually doing.  I went to the session because I'm always interested in productivity tools and I guess many other people are, too, since the session was standing room only!  Bullet journals are very popular and after attending the session, I decided to start one.  Yes, I can see the power of the tool.  No, I didn't buy a "bullet journal", but did purchase an inexpensive journal with blank pages. Yes, I think it is making a difference in my days.

People have asked how this topic related to diversity and the answer is "it doesn't", but clearly it was a worthwhile topic for a JCLC session based on everyone's enthusiasm. And we do need some variety in our conference sessions, right?

Public Libraries in Their Communities

Public libraries position themselves to be the center of their communities and to serve everyone equally.  There is a tension, though, in this.  While everyone needs to feel safe and welcomed in the library, and libraries strive to make that so, does everyone feel safe on the street outside of the library?  Here in Syracuse, our downtown public library has struggled with this at times, due to the homeless in the community who use and congregate near the library, and the increase opioid use on our streets.  The library has worked with others to figure out how to keep the area welcoming and safe for everyone, a task that is not easy.

In Albuquerque, the main public library attracts a wide variety of people, as it should.  It is near an area (part of historic Rt. 66) that contains bars, restaurants, and a truly diverse set of people, including those who seem both homeless and mentally unstable.  Seeing that library's environment reminded me that the struggle for equity and safety, being the heart of the community, being welcoming for everyone, etc. is a tough one.  There are no easy answers. 

Fast Life, Fast Work

Tent Rocks National Monument: Slot CanyonFinally, New Mexico was beautiful!  I took many photos, walked miles in the dessert, and visited historic places which I hope to remember forever.  People talk about the high heat with low humidity, and how different that feels, and now I understand it. 

Both life and work have moved fast since I've been back in Syracuse.  Ideas for blog posts come and then quickly fade as I move onto the next thing on my to-do list.  The bullet journal reminds me that I can't fit everything into one day, which is a lesson I need to learn anew every day.  Yes, there is copyright news that I should blog about, and I hope to do that soon.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Intellectual Property and the new U.S., Mexico and Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA)

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have settled on a trade agreement that is intended to replace the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  While it hasn't made the news, it does contain intellectual property provisions.  The Association of Research Libraries has created a helpful analysis on those provisions and there is also analysis by Michael Geist. The agreement's text is available on the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative web site.

Note that this agreement must be voted on in Congress, in order to be ratified, which will occur during its next session (after the November 2018 elections).

For more information, there are many news story on this, including this one from the Brookings Institution.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

#JCLC2018 : Reaching Out to Immigrants and De-colonizing the Collection

One of the benefits of being at JCLC is the opportunity to think about libraries and our collections through a different lens. We generally build services in our libraries through the default Euro-centric lens or as we might say the lens of those who colonized the U.S.  How can we de-colonize our libraries and our collections?  What is even meant by the word “de-colonization”?  What would a de-colonized library look like?  How would it better represent or be integrated into the community? How would the de-colonization translate into the libraries catalogue records? How would the staff be different?  These are all questions that have arisen in me while at this conference. I don’t have answers, at least not yet.

Today, the third day of the conference, I attended one session in reaching out to our immigrants and my notes are below.  Again, as I am typing this in Blogger on an iPad, my ability to make all the corrections that likely should be made is limited.  My apologies.  Yes, I attended a session during day two and I’ll twrite about that when I’m ready to write a wrap-up post.

JCLC conference logo

Reaching out to Immigrants: The New American Program at a

Queens Library - Fred Gitner and Xi Chen
In the U.S.
  • 14% foreign born
  • 20.7% speak a language other than English at home
  • 3.5% of the U.S. population are undocumented immigrants
  • Immigrants are twice as likely to start businesses as U.S. citizens
  • The number of undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. by crossing the Mexican border is decreasing.
Queens County is one of the most diverse urban areas in the world.
  • 48% foreign born
  • 56% speak a language other than English at home 
  • 160 languages are spoken in Queens with people from 190 countries 
  • Their New Americans Program is celebrating its 40th anniversary.
Queens Library is for Everyone Campaign 

They have an Outreach Assistant who does Outreach to ethnic community centers and other groups.

The library does Older Adults Day each year, which is well attended.

They purchase materials in 20-25 languages each year. The languages collected are based on census survey data and community input.  The comminityassisted in selecting the materials for their Burmese collections, since no one in the library spoke Burmese. They found comeone in the community who could help in cataloguing the materials.

The library has partnered with a variety of nonprofit and government organizations.  The partnerships help both to meet their mutual goals.  The partnerships help the library increase its services to the immigrants in the community.

They offer Coping Skills Workshops to help immigrants adjust to life in the U.S.  They also offer Cultural Arts Programs.

The top five languages spoken in Queens are Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Bengali, and Russian.  The offer workshops in these languages.

They have citizenship classes, attorneys who help people with naturalization application assistance, and free financial counseling.

They now have a partnership with the Immigrant Justice Corps to assist customers with a variety of immigration legal issues including naturalizations, temporary protected status family based petitions, deportation and asylum or refugee applications, etc.

They have an Immigration Assistancd webpage,

They promote their services in variou languages and using the social media sites that are used by specific immigrant communities, e.g., WeChat.

Locking Forward:
  • Expand legal access to legal services
  • Increase online learning opportunities
  • Expand lanagusge collections to serve growing cultural communities. Match the lanagues to the community’s preferred formats.
  • Ensure adequate interpretation services

Building a Vietnamese Lanaguage Collection at CSU, Fullerton - Moon C. Kim 

The needs of a diaspora community are different than other immigrant communities.

The collection must be reflective of the community and responsive to the community.

They ran into issues in collecting Vietnamese materials: funding, no language expertise (so materials cannot be catalogued), the Virtnamese government controls all communications, etc.

How do you help immigrantsfeel safe inthe library?  Safe from ICE (Immigrantion and Customs Enforcement)? - Queens has built a level of trust over the news with its immigrant communities.  They do not invite the media to events, as one way of keeping people’s identities safe.  Lawyers have given workshops for staff to help them understand do’s and don’t.  They do not know of instances of ICE coming to libraries.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

#JCLC2018 : Day 1

JCLC conference logo
I am typing this using my iPad browser, which is not allowing me to my some corrections.  My apologies.

I’m at the Joint Conference of Librarians of Color run by the Joint Council of Librarians of Color.  What is JCLC?  Quoting its web site:

What an amazing group! When I attended regional library conferences, I may be the only person of color there, but this is a conference by and for librarians of color where diversity is the norm and it is celebrated.

I’m here to staff the Syracuse University booth and to hopefully attend a few sessions.  Today was the start of the conference and I attended two sessions (notes below).  I also spoke with a number of people who stopped by the booth.  It’s been a tiring day and a good day!


The conference began with a blessing by Christopher Chavez (Santo Domingo Pueblo)

Loida Garcia-Febo, ALA President, began by offering “good morning” in several languages. She said this our time to make a difference in our communities.  In her remarks, she noted that one of her ALA efforts is on diversity. 

Dr. John Sandstrom provided welcome from New Mexico Library Association.  He said that New Mexico is a place where every library serves people of color.

The third JCLC brought together more than 1000 people; the largest one yet.  Many of the  people at this JCLC had not been at a previous one.  JCLC will host its next conference in 2022.

The keynote was given by author Benjamin Alire Saenz, who wrote Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe ( . He referred to us a gatekeepers of American culture.  This is work we do, according to him, in anonymity. The work we do is part of the work done of the community around books, from creation to reading.  He spoke of his mother, who he described as brilliant, hard working and generous.  He asked would it be good if our elected officials had those qualities?

What makes us us?  What gives us our identity? Part of that learning comes through reading. Author James Baldwin has a huge influence on him.

Saenz talked about the brokenness of the world.  From that brokenness we need to make something beautiful.

Life is not a problem to be solved; it is a mystery to be enjoyed.

Saenz said that young people come up to him and say that he saved their lives.  He said, no, they saved their own lives by bring open to new ideas.

The day librarians and teachers all vote, we will change the world.

TRANS 101: Gender Diversity and Transgender Inclusivity in Libraries, Kalani Adolpho 

Adolpho uses the pronouns they, them, theirs

Handouts, etc., at

Gender Diversity Training
Key (western) terms:
  • Gender assignment
  • Gender binary
  • Cisgender
  • Transgender 
  • Non-binary
  • Gender diverse

Gender, gender roles, and expressions differ between culture.
Gender binary is a colonial imposition.
Gender diversity is not a recent phenomenon.

Outdated terminology:
  • Transsexual
  • Biological male or biological female
  • Sex change

Types of violence:
  • Misgendering
  • Outing
  • Transphobia
  • Cissexism
  • Cisnormativity
  • Compulsory heterogenderism

Please don’t:
  • Ask to our share someone’s birth name
  • Out someone without permission
  • Ask about someone’sgenitals 
  • Over-validate gender

Mistakes and Mishaps:
  • Do acknowledge the error
  • Do apologize once
  • Do de-center yourself

Adolpho will have information in their Google Deive on gender neutral pronouns.  Try and practice gender neutral language.  Begin using gender neutral language in daily life.

Adolpho emphasized using the terminology and pronouns which people use for themselves, but don’t guess.

Cataloguing - Library of Congress Subject Headings
  • It is problematic.
  • Identity is personal, complex, and often fluid
  • Subject headings make identities static
  • Controlled vocabulary is slow to change
  • Creates barriers to access to non-mainstream topics

When cataloguing, respect self-identification.

Problematic Areas:
  • Bathrooms
  • Actual name systems
  • Collections, formats and displays

Unfortunately I had to leave this session early because of my duties as a vendor. However, I found it to be enlightening and I have already talked with others about what I heard and learned.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Ebooks, publishers & libraries

Ebook publishers are changing how the license ebooks to libraries.  These two podcast episodes from Beyond the Book detail those recent changes.  As you might expect, the changes do not necessarily favor libraries or library patrons.

July 20: An E-books Embargo For Libraries (14 min.)
Tor Books, a science fiction and fantasy publisher and division of Macmillan, has moved to change its “e-book lending model to libraries as part of a test program to determine the impact of e-lending on retail sales,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. Beginning this month, newly-released titles will not be available until four months after the publication date. The “embargo” practice has sparked a backlash by librarians.

“It’s yet another wrinkle in an already complex lending scheme that librarians must manage, and I think what is bothering librarians most of all is that [the change] came without warning,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“I spoke to Michael Blackwell, a librarian in Maryland who is one of the organizers of ReadersFirst, a coalition of some 300 libraries dedicated to improving e-book access and services for public library users. He called the move a ‘giant leap backwards’ for libraries and disputed the idea that library e-book lending is hurting Tor’s retail e-book sales.”
Sept. 7: More Changes In E-book Lending For Public Libraries (the first 6 min. 30 seconds)
In what the publisher called “good news” for libraries and their patrons, Penguin Random House has announced that as of October 1, 2018, the house is changing its e-book lending licenses for public libraries in the U.S. The shift moves access to book titles from a “perpetual access” model (where libraries pay a higher price but retain access to the e-book forever) to a “metered model” (with lower prices on e-books that expire after two years).

“PRH top titles today are capped at $65 for a ‘perpetual access e-book license. The new top price will be $55. Lower prices are a good thing—but a $10 drop is not enough librarians say, especially if they have the burden now of relicensing John Grisham titles,” Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer, reports.

“What librarians really wanted from PRH was a choice. They want to be able to own a perpetual access copy or two for the collection at whatever price, and then add [more copies of the same title] to meet periods of high demand without having to buy more perpetual access copies,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally.

“Much of what publishers do with library e-book pricing is about defending other markets, but I think that’s shortsighted and self-defeating. If anything comes out of these changes I hope it will be to kick up a discussion about why digital readers in libraries are treated differently,” he adds.

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Copyright: Forever Less One Day (7 min. video)

While not a copyright expert, C.G.P. Grey has provided an interesting and entertaining look at the length of copyright protection in this short video. By the way, while I like the video, one error which stood out to me is that the length of copyright in 1790 in the United States was 14 years, with the possibility of renewal for another 14 years.  Yes, that does equal 28, which is what he said in the video, but only 14 years was guaranteed with additional action by the creator.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

iPRES 2018 in Boston, MA, Sept. 24-27, 2018

Below is as received in email.  iPRES this year will be held in Boston and Cambridge, MA from Sept, 24-27.  There is still time to register for this event.

We are excited to share the detailed schedule - with information about every session - for iPRES2018, the 15th International Conference on Digital Preservation. We are using the Open Science Framework (OSF) platform to make the full conference proceedings available - including slides, papers, poster images, workshop materials, panel questions, session notes, and supplementary materials.

We are pleased to see many people registering for iPRES 2018. There is still time to register if you haven’t: If a full registration doesn’t work for you, you can select a workshop-only registration for Monday or register for select days or activities. If you have any questions, please contact our Registration Team.
Some tuition support is still available for underrepresented students and first-time attendees - see the registration page for details. Thank you again, Portico, for your making tuition support possible! 
There are rolling submissions and acceptances for ad hoc programming, including the first digital preservation game room, original digital preservation graphics, lightning sessions, and other programming – spots are filling up and additional information is available here.
Our iPRES 2018 Code of Conduct with our response framework is posted and we welcome your feedback.

Looking forward to seeing you in September,

With warm regards,
the iPRES 2018 Organizing Team
ipres2018contributions @