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Mighty Little Librarian

Collection Development

Since we’ve been back to school this year, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time assessing our collection and planning for improvements this school year. At the end of last year, I ran some reports and compiled some data that … Continue reading

Library Procedures

Spending time at the beginning of the year practicing library procedures with students is essential for a successful year. I love my 8th graders this time of year, because they’ve got the procedures down. They know exactly how our library … Continue reading

The Digital Diva

SLJ News

Work Smarter Through “Extreme Listening” | SLJ Summit 2015

CEO of Caravan Studios Marnie Webb unpacked design thinking in her SLJ Summit keynote, providing a model for developing projects, from idea to prototype, through deep, empathetic listening.

Fear, Friendship, and the State of the Picture Book: A Conversation with Philip and Erin Stead

Husband and wife picture book creators Philip and Erin Stead talk about their latest picture book, Lenny & Lucy, their process, and whether or not we might all be living in a "second golden age of picture books."

The Iliad by Homer | SLJ Review

HOMER. The Iliad. retold by Gillian Cross. illus. by Neil Packer. 160p. Candlewick. 2015. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780763678326. Gr 6-9–Cross presents a fluid and highly readable version of this celebrated tale. The text follows the essential plot structure of the classic work, beginning with Helen’s capture and concluding with Hector’s demise. The book includes an introduction to the Odyssey (retold by this creative team in 2012) and provides brief historical context of the Bronze Age eastern Mediterranean. A helpful spread groups [...]

Teens Review Latest from Joelle Charbonneau, Stephan Pastis, and More

The young adults at the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library share their thoughts on Joelle Charbonneau’s latest dystopian, Gareth Jones’s time travel adventure, and Stephan Pastis’s newest “Timmy Failure” book.

“Get Away” with Under-the-Radar Books for Teen Read Week

Librarian Julie Stivers presents diverse and underappreciated titles that should be celebrated during YALSA's Teen Read Week (October 18–24), including Varian Johnson's The Great Greene Heist and Polly Holyoke's The Neptune Project.

ALA TechSource

New Library Technology Report: Library Services Platforms

Library Technology Reports (Vol. 51, No. 6) Library Services Platforms: A Mature Genre of Products, by Marshall Breeding, is at the printer. You can read it now, however, on ALA’s journal site:

The Report starts with an explanation of this class of products and how it has diverged from the traditional integrated library system to take advantage of platform architecture. You’ll see in-depth descriptions of Ex Libris Alma, Kuali OLE, OCLC WorldShare Management Services, ProQuest Intota, and Innovative Interfaces Sierra. While neutral on product recommendations, Breeding offers advice on selection and procurement strategies.

Library Technology Reports is open access through June 2015. We also have a special $99 offer on our digital subscription, which includes Smart Libraries Newsletter.

Subscribe to Library Technology Reports and Smart Libraries Newsletter for $99

Library Technology Reports and Marshall Breeding’s Smart Libraries Newsletter will be open access for another month. Be sure to check them out. And, if you like what you see, please subscribe. Our best offer is on—a 15-month digital subscription is only $99. Your library will save $150 off the regular price. And your purchase will fund advocacy, awareness, and accreditation programs for library professionals worldwide.

Now Open: Library Technology Reports and Smart Libraries Newsletter

Library Technology Reports and Smart Libraries Newsletter are on a new hosting platform, using Open Journal Systems. For a limited time, through June, both will be open access.

We’re hoping you will like what you see and get your library to subscribe.

This year brought a new cover design to our Library Technology Reports. Here's what's inside.

David Lee King, who has managed to keep a still up-to-date personal blog, wrote Managing Your Libraries Social Media Channels. Bohyun Kim wrote Understanding Gamification. She will also present a workshop on gamification Wednesday, May 6. If you’ve purchased it or are thinking about it, download her report. For our newest issue, Coding for Librarians, Andromeda Yelton surveyed colleagues to get ready-to-use-or-adapt snippets of code, as well as “deep dive” examples. She set up a companion website on Github. Even if you have the print issue in hand, you’ll want to download the PDF to link directly to the code samples on GitHub.

Marshall Breeding is libraryland’s authority on product development in the library automation industry. His Smart Libraries Newsletter presents news and analysis on both the business and technology side. Breeding recently published vendor responses to a survey on the privacy and security functions of major automation and discovery products. His goal was to increase awareness and start a conversation that might lead to needed improvements. How are your vendors protecting patron privacy? See Smart Libraries Newsletter, January 2015. A regular writer of Library Technology Reports, Breeding’s most recent issue is “Library Resource Discovery Products: Context, Library Perspectives, and Vendor Positions” and his “Library Services Platforms” is our forthcoming May/June 2015 issue.

We migrated the Library Technology Reports and Smart Libraries Newsletter archives from our previous platform. As report titles did not carry over, the archive list is by date of issue only, making findability a little challenging. The author index and search will help. To give you a taste of what's there, I'll point to a few “known-items,” hidden gems, especially for LIS students or anybody looking for background in a new area. Karen Coyle offers remarkably clear explanations of complex concepts, writing the back-to-back reports in 2010, Understanding the Semantic Web: Bibliographic Data and Metadata and RDA Vocabularies for a 21st Century Data Environment and then in 2012, Linked Data Tools: Connecting on the Web. In 2013, Mirela Roncevic wrote E-book Platforms for Libraries, surveying 51 vendors. Though product offerings have changed since, the report shows the breadth of the marketplace and various approaches to the business model.

The archives will remain open for Library Technology Reports one year after publication and for Smart Libraries Newsletter six months after publication.

We're joined on the platform by several other ALA publications. See the full list at

App Learning for Librarians

Nicole Hennig would love to see more librarians reviewing apps.

“Have you noticed how uniformed many of the app-store reviews are?” she asks readers of her recent Library Technology Report "Selecting and Evaluating the Best Mobile Apps for Library Services." Often people write a review without understanding what the app was meant to do. Or they dash off a technical support question. Librarianship has a long tradition of reviewing books. Now is the time to apply those well-honed skills to apps and help your community find what they need in a chaotic marketplace.


For a general guide to reviewing, Nicole recommends the the thorough Elements for Basic Reviews: A Guide for Writers and Readers of Reviews of Works in All Mediums and Genres,from the ALA/RUSA CODES Materials Reviewing Committee (2005).

She supplements that guide with her own checklist for reviewing mobile apps.

Nicole Hennig is busy writing and presenting on all things apps for librarians. She will be leading the ALA ecourse “Apps for Librarians: Empower Your Users with Mobile App Literacy” starting Monday, February 2 (also Groundhog day). In addition to selection and evaluation criteria, she covers a full range of library services, including accessibilty, content creation, and reference. For a taste of what’s covered, check out the recording of her November 2014 webinar. Visit Nicole’s web page for for additional information about the course, a self-study version, and her other offerings. 

CES 2015 Press Day

Jason Griffey reports on what he saw at CES press day-- a few 3D printers, including Ultimaker, a good library option; another small robot programmable in Google's Blockly, a visual programming editor; Samsung's SSD; and a drone. The soundtrack starts rough, but is much better after one minute.

Jason's coverage of CES is sponsored by Spingshare. Visit his blog Pattern Recognition for ongoing reports.

Share your cutting edge practice!

OITP, LITA seek nominations for cutting-edge technology practices

Washington, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) and the Library & Information Technology Association (LITA) are soliciting nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology.

“Cutting edge” refers to tested and successful implementations of technological advancements used in services such as:

  • Improvements in traditional services and processes by inventing/re-inventing/twisting technology
  • Introduction of new, innovative services that are flexible and responsive to community needs
  • Methods for connecting libraries to their communities
  • Funding initiatives or organizational models that ensure library information technology will remain current
Nominations may be may for work in any of the following sample areas:
  • Application development (apps)
  • Architecture and design
  • Circulation (sorting, remote distribution, materials handling, delivery mechanisms)
  • Collections
  • Community services (to include equity, outreach, programming and assessment of services)
  • Curation
  • E-resources management services
  • Instruction/information literacy
  • Knowledge creation
  • Open source
  • Pathfinders
  • Patron services (to include self-services and privacy protection)
  • Participatory services (e.g., student-created content, community polling, wikis)
  • Professional development
  • Readers’ advisory
  • Reference services
  • Staff management (use of self-scheduling, recruitment and evaluation)
  • Unique missions
  • User interface
  • Web services
  • Other

Nominations should include the following:

  • A description of the project/service
  • An explanation of how the service/procedure is cutting-edge
  • Information about the evolution of the project (identification of need, why it is novel, funding sources/options, challenges, how success was measured, and recommendations)

Applicants may also submit supporting materials in a variety of media, such as Flickr, YouTube, video, audio, blogs, etc.).


  • Must involve the use of technology
  • Must be a novel idea or implementation of a service
  • Must be able to be documented for replication
  • Must be for a library that has been involved in the development of the service or product (can’t just buy something off the shelf) or has enhanced the product for added value

A joint committee of members from the Subcommittee on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century and LITA will review all nominations and may conduct selected interviews or site visits to identify those libraries that are truly offering a best practice or most innovative service.  Libraries or library service areas will be publicized via the OITP and LITA websites, as well as highlighted through ALA publications and programs at the ALA Annual Conference in 2012. 

The nomination form (.docx) is available online and may be emailed or faxed to Larra Clark at or fax 202-628-8419.

Learn more about the program and past winners on the OITP website.


Teacher Librarian Day - October 19 - Free and Online


friend request or spam? 1 Reply

Started by Diane Sands. Last reply by Mme Kesimaat on Saturday.

New Librarian - Advice on Book Protection Supplies 2 Replies

Started by Charity Collins. Last reply by Charity Collins on Friday.

Earth Science Bibliography

Started by Bernadette Kearney Sep 15.

What's new in your September? 29 Replies

Started by Joyce Valenza. Last reply by Lydia Smith-Davis Sep 2.

Lesson plan resources for pre-k through 6th grade - New Librarian 5 Replies

Started by Amy Skrovan. Last reply by Pat Rideout Aug 17.

Fines in Secondary 10 Replies

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Network news

Don't miss the new wiki Elementary Library Routines. Share your best ideas and learn from others in your tribe!

Blog Posts

It's Not A Book!

Word On The Street is a fantastic literacy festival that our team at Brainspace attends every year.

Since our inception back in June 2013, we've enjoyed meeting readers and seeing young faces light up when we demonstrate the augmented reality in our magazine. "Yes, thank you. It is a very smart magazine." "We do raise the bar on content for children. We think our audience is very capable and enjoys the opportunity to learn." Parents, teachers and librarians are always excited…


Posted by Nicky Middleton on October 1, 2015 at 11:18am

Two Bobbies by Kirby Larson

Posted by BJ Neary on September 30, 2015 at 10:37am

Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

Read Between the Lines Read Between the Lines by Jo Knowles

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I can't remember who recommended this book to me, but this is a book all… Continue

Posted by BJ Neary on September 30, 2015 at 10:24am

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Never Always Sometimes Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Teens will see a bit of themselves in Dave, Julia, Gretchen and Brett.… Continue

Posted by BJ Neary on September 27, 2015 at 3:00pm

Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

<a href="" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img alt="Never Always Sometimes" border="0" src="" /></a><a href="…


Posted by BJ Neary on September 27, 2015 at 2:59pm

A darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1) A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The dark magic was so scary in the many Englands (Red, Gray, Black… Continue

Posted by BJ Neary on September 24, 2015 at 7:45pm


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