Friday, November 28, 2008

Senior Library Assistant - City of Commerce Public Library

The City of Commerce is looking to fill a Senior Library Assistant. From the website this is a description of the position:
Under supervision of the Library Section Supervisor, performs a variety of complex customer service, technical service and clerical tasks; coordinates selection, purchase, distribution and inventory of library supplies and equipment.
Duties Include:
  • Assist patrons and library staff
  • Provides asset management for the City by maintaining inventories of all library supplies, purchase orders,cash receipts, requests for warrants, and all library materials.
  • Registers new patrons, issues library cards and maintains patron database,
  • Collects fines for overdue materials, balances receipts, clears paid accounts and processes financial transactions using the automated library system,
  • Searches, modifies and downloads OCLC catalog records and concurrently updates OCLC with our library’s holdings,
  • Prepares library materials for circulation including bar coding and anti-theft security devices,
  • Types and maintains file of requisitions for purchase of library materials and supplies including tracking order until items are received and delivered to requesting personnel.
  • Provides training and assistance for library patrons on the use of library equipment including computers, printers, Internet, CD roms and a variety of computer software, photocopiers and microfilm reader printers,
  • Supervises inventory of library collections and resolves items listed on the “inventory exception report”.
  • Coordinates monthly library book sale including fiscal management, may schedule and provides computer orientations,
  • Supervises start of day and end of day library opening and closing procedures including building security,
  • In the supervisor’s absence, may supervise staff in assigned section and generate work schedules.
Additional Requirements:

Possession of or ability to obtain a Class C California Driver’s License and insurability by the City’s insurance carrier. Will be scheduled to work some Saturdays, evenings, and overtime as requested. All City employees are required to perform assigned Civil Defense duties in the event of an emergency or disaster.


They pay rate is $3,308 - $4,030 month with benefits.

How To Apply:

If you are interested in the position your applications must be received by the Human Resources Department by 6:00 p.m., Monday, December 15, 2008. Postmarks and faxed applications are not accepted.

You can download a copy of the application or visit the City of Commerce Human Resources department at: 2535 Commerce Way, Commerce, CA, or by calling the 24 hour Job Line at (323) 887-4415.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Info On Mind Mapping -

How Do You Find Stuff? I don't mean the specific tool but your own personal process. How do you take in information? How do you learn and how do you organize what you have learned?

For some of us it is a visual process. We need to see the lay of the land before we start digging in. For visual learning mind mapping software can help to organize your thoughts and and create a structure for your reports, projects and goals.

Outlines do not have to be word based. Check out some of the on-line mind mapping applications. This is an example of one of them.

is an web application that helps you organize the jumble in your head so that you can see the common and related connections. You can add notes and reminders as well as a Wikipedia page that related to your topic.

Mind42 Free Online Mind Mapping Software
This is a silent tutorial video from Mind42 that demonstrates the web application:

Mind42: Introduction from Stefan Schuster on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Center for Social Media - YouTube Channel

The Center for Social Media at American University has a YouTube Channel that talks about the importance of Social Media for educational and informational purposes. There is a series of videos that is particularly important to information and creative workers, Fair Use.

This is a video that gives an overview about the rights of documentarians, creators and educators about what they can and can't do with copyrighted material.

For more information visit the Center for Social Media. There you will find documentation on:

Friday, November 21, 2008

Swiss Army Librarian - On The Front Line of the Reference Desk

Folks talk a lot about library 2.0 and technology. I know I do it but I'm a book loving nerd with a thing for gadgets. But what if we are being distracted from what is really necessary? Serving the patrons at the various level of services that they need.

Swiss Amery Librarian thought about this and he graphically should what is necessary and what is possible in today's public library.

Chart of Important Functions and People
This is a quote from his post:
It is the role of the library to take what we can get, and do the best we can with it to meet the needs of our patrons. Sometimes this means offering limited or abridged services, or services that sort of do what we want, but aren’t ideal (i.e., the current state of downloadable audiobooks). But even by working within the constraints placed on us by the groups that support us, we should always strive to provide patrons with services tailored to meet their needs.
That is getting harder to do with budget being squeezed, patrons increasing use of libraries and limited staffing hours. Yet, librarians and library workers make it happen every day.

It is a good post and has given me much to think about. I'm not giving up my gadgets just yet.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Shifting from the Stacks to Circulation

Even though I enjoyed working at the Circulation desk this past summer on a trial basis in that department, I still thought I would miss working on the Student Task Force once I left there for good. One reason I believed that is because I felt I would be stuck behind the Circulation desk as I assumed I wouldn't be spending that much time elsewhere. But as time has gone on, I've come to change my mind.

I'm sure part of it is that two of the shifts I work are in the evenings, so I get a chance to do book pick-up which is one of the things I enjoyed doing while on the Student Task Force. Even though I have the same basic tasks I do every shift, no day is ever the same. Some evenings, it can be incredibly quiet but others times, things can be quite busy or go haywire. I have found there does seem to be the most activity during the shift that I work 12 noon-5pm which makes sense, since according to statistics that's when we have the most people coming in and out of the library.

It's really nice that part of my job is being able to interact with and actually help people more now. Before when I was on the Student Task Force, I could help people but on a very limited basis. In spite of that, I can say that working on the Student Task Force was very helpful in making the transition from working in that department to Circulation an easier one. Pretty much everything I did on the Student Task Force, I do in the Circulation department. From re-shelving, shelf reading, cleaning/straightening up, book pick-up, sorting and taking books to the storage shelves and last but definitely not least, customer service.

One thing I don't miss is that I would be on my feet pretty much the entire time I was on my shift while I was still on the Student Task Force. That's not the case with working the Circulation desk which my feet thank me continously for!

Things I have learned or have become better at since working at the Circulation desk:
  • Boolean searches
  • Overcoming my fear of dealing with people who I have trouble hearing
  • Services/materials that are available to students-calculators, headphones, the wide range of reserve textbooks and more
  • Better familiarity of the campus
  • Problem patrons
  • Setting up display cases

So yes, sometimes I do miss being among the stacks but not nearly as much I thought I would. I love my new position behind the Circulation desk as I can apply what I've been learning in the various classes in the Library Technology program in more depth with my every day work experiences here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Library News - Never A Dull Moment

I don't know why people think libraries are boring, stuffy places. Yes libraries contain books, DVDs and wireless connections but libraries also contain people. People are not boring and this is a current round-up of libraries in the news.

International Library News

From the Times of India there is an column by Gurcharan Das who explains how he started going to the library, how the library system works in India and the different between a lending library and a free library in India.

The Yomiuri Shimbun via The Daily Yomiuri in Japan reports that many library books are returned damaged. This is beyond normal wear and tear damage. Food damage, animal bits and writing the "who done it" on the first page of mystery novels revels a different understanding of respect for a library book means in some cutures.

To quote a passage from the article:
About six months ago, a staff member at a public library in the Kinki district found a picture book that had been returned with nearly all the pages covered in crayon scribbles. When a library worker brought the damage to the attention of the woman who returned the book, the borrower said, "this [damage] should be permissible since we are paying taxes," the staff member said.

The William J. Clinton Library in Arkansas is not only good for the community but it also draws tourist from around the world to visit the museum. Arkansas Matters has a report and a video clip of the anniversary celebration

Libraries Closures and Reduced Hours

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that there was not full disclosure about the statistic responsible for closing 11 libraries in the city. Many of the libraries being closed were built by Andrew Carnegie. WPVI Channel 6 has a short video of the community being concerned about a local branch being closed.

The that covers Grass Valley and Nevada County California also reports budget troubles. Temporary workers could lose their jobs and branch hours may be cut to make up a budget shortage.
Until the economy brightens, the library has discontinued several online search databases and postponed regular maintenance, such as fresh coats of paint.
Ironically, the state of the economy has driven many to the library for free books, music CDs and movie rentals.
Homework Over Gaming

The Daily Herald reports that the Eagle Mountain library will ban afternoon online gaming at the library. Seem it was too popular with the game players and school kids that needed to do homework were left out in the cold.

Entertainment News

The Cat Channel, Meryl Streep might play the role of librarian/author Vicki Myron of the book "Dewey: A Small Town Library Cat that Touched The World" According to the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) it is a done deal. No word yet on the feline selected for the staring role.

Well that a quick look at library news. There is always something happening at your local branch or at a library across the world.

Monday, November 17, 2008

At Your Local Library

It's been awhile since I've posted "At Your Local Library" I realized the other day. How time flies by when you're busy. Hopefully, I can make time to go to some of these that I haven't had a chance to experience just yet.

Jack London Exhibit

If you haven't yet had a chance to check out the Jack London exhibit by Devon Struther in the Centennial Room that was in conjunction with the recent The Big Read at the Pasadena Central Library, I recommend taking some time out to do so. You'll get a chance to view an intimate glimpse into the life and career of Jack London through photos, newspaper articles and more. The exhibit will continue to run till the end of November.

Bus Tours Round 'n Round Historic Filipinotown

Ever wondered what is Filipino about Historic Filipinotown? The Filipino American Library (FAL) answers this question in its free Bus Tours of Historic Filipinotown this coming Saturday, November 22 at FAL. On the bus tour, a guide narrates and points out the importance of sites, events, and individuals in and around Historic Filipinotown to give a historical overview of Filipinos in Los Angeles.

Four 1.5-hour tours will begin at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, and 4:00pm.

To reserve a seat, please contact or 213-382-0488. While the tours are free, space is limited and they usually fill up in advance.

National Native American Heritage Month

Interested in learning more about Native American heritage and culture? Then head down to one of the branches of the L. A. County libraries. There's quite a few events happening this month but I'm just listing a sample of what you can find.

At South El Monte Library on Thursday, Nov. 20th at 6:30pm, one can watch Rodney Howard, one of the premier Native American dancers on the West Coast, as he performs dances, songs, and stories from tribes across North America.

On Saturday, Nov. 22nd from 1-4pm at the American Indian Resource Center in the Huntington Park Library will be hosting a screening of selected short films in partnership with LA Skins Fest.

Burbank Library exhibits for November

Are you a die-hard Nancy Drew fan? Or a movie buff? Then head down to Burbank Central Library, where items from the summer Nancy Drew movie and memorabilia from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" from Warner Bros are on display.

At the Buena Vista Library branch, one can find WORLD WAR II memorabila and uniforms which currently fill the display case that come mainly from the estates of Burbank residents, and one is from a soldier who served here in an anti-aircraft unit protecting Lockheed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pasadena Public Library Reviewed onYelp

A few weeks ago I was mentioning the importance of being aware of social networking for library workers. There are online communities that share information and hip each other to what is good and what is bad in their opinion.

Pasadena Public Library Review on
Yelp is a community that allows users to review and rate a restaurant, hotel, theater experience and yes, even a library experience. The Pasadena Public Library (California) has a Yelp page and at least 23 people have chimed in about their experience about using the library.

For the most part, it is a positive experience for patrons. They like the atmosphere, the beauty of the library, that it has wi-fi, and for one user that it still have VHS videos.

Now some folks felt it was creaky as in creaky chairs and tables and didn't care for the restroom. I understand, as did others people that particular issue related to certain members of the homeless population. There is no easy answer about that situation.

Check out the reviews and if you want to chime in on the Pasadena Public Library, most of us who are or have been in the program have been roaming the halls, then you can add your opinion as well.

The other thing to keep in mind about this is that other libraries can be reviewed as well. Especially if you are looking for work in a library and want to know what the patrons feel about their experiences.

The advantages for libraries this is a way to gauge how the public perceives your services and what they found valuable. It gives libraries an way to take a truth pill as to how they are doing.
It is important to remember that these are people that are motivated to share what they think. It may or may not be unbiased but it is one person's opinion gathered in a collection.

For one library in the valley that might be a bitter pill to swallow. I mention no names but people will talk. Some of that conversation is happening on Yelp.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Quote of the Week

"Seventy million books in America's libraries, but the one you want to read is always out."- Tom Masson

Coming upon this quote made me smile, laugh and ponder. There has been many a time I've gone to the library and the very thing that I want to borrow is indeed out or perhaps not even available period. So I'm forced to find a suitable substitute if such a thing is really possible. Ultimate reading pleasure satisfaction is what I'm after usually. Though lately, I've been seeking to fulfill informational needs for various areas in my life as well.

Also, it made me think about the students that come in the elementary school library where I work that want a particular book but we don't have it or it's checked out. It's not always easy convincing a kid to find something else to read when his heart is set on a particular book. I do my best to meet this challenge though. I will admit it's helpful that usually the student's teacher will help ease this situation as well if need be.

In addition, it's something I have to deal with working at the Circulation Desk at the PCC library. Students often want a reserve textbook that is checked out by someone else exactly during the time frame they need it. It's especially can be frustrating when there is only one copy available. One way we try to deal with that situation is a having a Reserve Materials Request list. While students cannot reserve these type of materials, having such a list keeps students from monopolizing reserve items when other students need them. Other times, it could be a regular circulating book is out and we tell the student that he can put a hold on it. If we're not too busy, we'll help them put a hold on the book. We also refer them to the Reference Desk to find where they can hopefully find the wanted item at a nearby library.

Recently in a film, "How May I Help You? (Soaring to Excellence)" put out by the College of Du Page Press that we watched in LIB 103 Introduction to Circulation, a librarian spoke of how her mother stopped going into her public library due to continuously not being able to find exactly what she wanted. Of course, this is not something we as library students and/or workers like to hear, I would hope! Perhaps this was a lack of customer service on that library's part? (Incidentally, this was a film that dealt primarily with customer service in the library.)

Anyhow, I am hoping the next time I go to my public library haunt that I won't have to hunt so hard for my pressing heart's desire in reading pleasure. Though on second thought, I've found many a new favorite author when I couldn't find exactly what I wanted on my first try. So perhaps not finding exactly what one wants isn't such a bad thing as it can lead you to new books and paths.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Improve Your Searches Using Google Features

You type in the Google search box and hope for the best. Tsk, tsk. There is so much more you can do to refine your search results and save yourself a bit of time. So let's take a quick look at library specific feature that will help you get the most from your Google experience.

Google Feature PageSearch Box Quickies

These are some of the things you can do to get your answer quickly without having to find a specific web site. There are many tools that can help you survive the Ready Reference desk whammo of the day. This is just a sample:
  • To get a definition of a word type define, press the space bar and then your word.
  • Use it as a calculator, if you know basic math just type in the formula and press search. Your answer will appear before your eyes.
  • To find a restaurant in a certain zip code type the kind of food, press the space bar and then the zip code. Google will show you a list of the area restaurants with a map, the name of the restaurant and their web site. You might think it is important but I have people asking me all the time where can I go for a taste of Yak.
So if you are very busy spend a little time on the Google web search page and learn a few quick tips that will help you find what you need more efficiently.

Those of you who will be sitting at the Ready Reference desk will absolutely want to embed these skills to memory.