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Friday, July 21, 2017

ASRT Roundtable Meeting - 

Topic:  Professional Development

Shannon, Hoover
Laura, Southern History
Debbie, Leeds
David, BPL Fiction
Russell, BPL ALS
Leslie, BPL ALS
Deidre, Bessemer
NaTasha, BPL Info/Circ
Rachel, BPL Info/Circ
Terri, Vestavia Hills
Brandon, Eastwood
Jiemin, BPL Info/Circ

Thanks to the big crowd for coming out!  We had a rather short meeting but very informative.  The discussion centered around individual responsibility in attaining professional development.  There are tons of useful opportunities outside of library conventions and expensive online/in-person courses.  Although necessary for personal growth and to show good faith in professional advancement, it is rarely an official requirement of a job to have CEUs on our record.  It is up to the individual to take time either while off of a public desk or on personal time to learn new software, new reference tools, or new professional skills.  

Besides online training, there are plenty of local groups that provide in-person opportunities for professional growth.  For instance (just a short list!!!):  Toastmasters, Rotary Club, Young Professionals of Birmingham, Birmingham Chapter of the National Association of Professional Women, etc.

Below are some of our suggestions and best-bets for online webinars and training:, eLearning  (Most webinars do cost, if they are multiple days.  Some free webinars are offered.)

ALA OnDemand Online Learning (PLA’s “On-Demand” Webinars with a variety of topics for a cost of anywhere from $28/webinar (individual) to $119/person for groups.)

Booklist Online (free webinar archives)

Choice  (Association of College & Research Librarians)

"Find MOOCs by University/Entity" (resource for finding free online courses by university or topic)

Florida Libraries (Consortium offering webinars)

Individual companies products:  
Examples:  EBSCO training on NoveList & LibraryAware

Individual publishers: 
Most give free webinars on their latest and greatest books – if you sign up, you can usually then get a link to the archived webinar allowing you to view it at your leisure.

LibraryConnect (Elsevier - mostly academic topics but free archived webinars!)

Library Journal Webcasts   (mostly free or low cost webcasts) (LinkedIn product)
    Software development, web development, using apps, business courses, etc.
    Free trial available, subscription from $19.99 to $29.99/month

Open Education Database (Open Education Database – kind of a clearinghouse of ongoing webinars, both free and at cost)

Programming Librarian  (webinar links)

SCORE  (Birmingham resource dedicated to education entrepreneurs and encouraging the formation, growth and success of small business by providing free counseling and no-cost/low-cost workshops) 

SWON Libraries Consortium (Southwest Ohio)

TLT Group (Teaching, Learning and Technology Group)

WebJunction (Extensive webinar archives)

Wednesdays with Ingram (using the Ipage database is just one facet)

Please feel free to add your own experiences and resources!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5/18/17 ASRT Meeting, Bessemer Library

TOPIC:  Adult Summer Reading Programs

Shannon, Hoover
Lisa, Gardendale
Deidre, Bessemer
Kelly, Springville Road
Maura, Trussville
Debbie, Leeds

Although we were few in number, we had a great discussion about our various takes on an adult summer reading program.  Everyone present, except Trussville, is integrating an adult summer reading program.  Trussville is in the process of moving and have referred their patrons to other area libraries.

*If you are located close to Trussville, Maura Davies will be glad to receive your summer reading programs or calendars to share with their patrons -- a library presence is expected to remain somewhere in Trussville.

BPL, Vestavia Hills and Hoover are all using the software Beanstack to keep track of summer reading for both children and adults.  This is the first year for Hoover to use the software and they are using both the online method and paper logs (which our patrons are used to).  Springville Road and other BPL branches are not issuing paper logs and employees must enter a patrons information if patrons are unable to do so themselves.  Vestavia Hills is also just working with Beanstack.  With Beanstack, varying levels of analytics can be pulled from the librarian's side.  From the patron's side, it gives the added bonus of readers advisory -- again for any audience.

Bessemer uses Google Docs.  According to Lori Poe, they created a form within Google Docs to allow patrons to register for summer reading via their website.  Patrons can click the link and fill out the information themselves.  The information on the form is automatically loaded on an Excel form that can be printed  or saved for keeping records.  This might present a low cost effort for smaller or struggling libraries.

Most all libraries represented give out weekly prizes and grand prizes.  Gardendale offers 5 different gift baskets and patrons enter their name/number into the one they want to win.  For Bessemer and Hoover, patrons get one slip for every five books read.  At Springville Road, they give one slip for every book read.

Other unique things done that other libraries may want to adopt:
1.  Springville Road purchased a screen printing device. Patrons bring their own t-shirt and it is screened using one color, then patrons come back to color the shirt with fabric paint.  Evidently, the machine can be purchased for as low as $50.
2.  Hoover has found that gift cards for both groceries and gasoline are VERY popular with adults and it doesn't matter how much they are for.  These are highly coveted.
3.  Most libraries are doing at least two adult programs geared towards the theme of "Build a Better World."  It is easiest when the theme is a good one and the adults can utilize the same theme.
4.  Here's Hoover Library's YouTube video...

ALSO discussed:  Sewing in the Library...
Kelly at Springville Road said they have acquired several sewing machines for ongoing adult programs.  Evidently, through Bib & Tucker Cooperative ( you can purchase reconditioned machines for as low as $25.  Liability was discussed as it is something to consider.

NEXT MEETING:  Thursday, July 20, 10 am, downtown at BPL's Southern History department.
TOPIC:  Professional Development

Monday, March 20, 2017

Shannon, Hoover
Justin, Hoover
Leslie, BPL downtown
Debbie, Leeds
Deidre, Bessemer
Laura, Trussville
Maura, Trussville

Topic:  Gaming in the LibraryPlease Note:  Because Hoover seemed to be the only participants at the meeting that currently do a gaming program in the library, notes are primarily from those spokespeople.  (I did not want to give the impression that this roundtable is at all Hoover-centric!  If you have a program, please add notes to these minutes.  Thanks!)

Hoover Library started having after-hours Friday Night Game Night in December 2012 with beer offerings and videogames (Wii & Xbox), along with adult board games.  Attendance grew from 35-40 people to a steady following of about 60-70.  As time went on, it was decided to get rid of videogames (more trouble, less people per game, less interest) and focus instead on board games.  As the process for obtaining vendors to donate beer grew, it was also decided to discontinue this practice.  By this time, however, everyone was hooked!

Today, Game Night is offered every other month, usually on the the fourth Friday of the month from 7 - 10 pm.  Families are not discouraged at all but it remains an adult focused gathering. (We usually have about 5 staff members to handle security and events but it can be staffed by volunteers and less staff too.)  Small door prizes make for even more excitement -- no matter what it is, people love door prizes!

This is a very passive program because many people will bring their own board games.  Basically, you are just providing the space and encouraging game playing.  Games ranges from Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble to the newer Settlers of Catan, Munchkin and Exploding Kittens.  Hoover, over time, has developed a separate circulating adult designer board game collection but also a collection of games used at Game Night only. Some of these have been donated, some are bought through Amazon or other game websites.  (2nd & Charles also has a collection.)  We have partnered with an area game shop (Excelsior) for advertising and promotion.

Because of our ongoing focus on adult designer board games, other opportunities have come to us.  We hosted "Magick:  The Gathering" tournament for the area in our library in conjunction with Excelsior Game Store.  We've also taken advantage of other "official" days such as International Tabletop Day on April 29, 2017 ( and International Games Day at the Library sometime in November (  These events have been very successful.

Hoover has developed a YouTube channel where they include Game Demonstrations for users (  They also do demonstrations at Game Night.  This encourages the use of different/new games and generates more interest.  The success of such things have led to the now annual Science Fiction/Fantasy Festival (  2017 is going to be off the hook!

For libraries wishing to try out this passive programming, Hoover will gladly check out to the library our various adult designer board games.  Checkout details and more were discussed at a previous ASRT meeting (  Replacement cost would have to be paid if any pieces are missing, but it might be worth it to try out these games before investing in them yourself.  If you have further questions about the best games to start with contact Madalyn Cohron at or more about Game Night specifically, contact Justin Rogers at

Got more ideas?  Share them here!  Your opinions, suggestions, tips and tricks are always welcome!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Some resources for our upcoming meeting, Thursday, March 16 at 10 am, Homewood Library, Room 102.  Be there!


TechSoup for Libraries:  Gaming in the Library

ALA Tools, Gaming in the Library

Gaming in Libraries Building Relationships between Communities & Libraries

Game Making Interest Group Wiki

Friday, March 3, 2017

Don't forget:  Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 10 am in Room 102 of the Homewood Public Library to discuss "Gaming in the Library".
Until that time, read a bit about what ALA has to say about gaming in the library at

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Minutes of the January 17, 2017 Adult Services Roundtable Meeting at Hoover

Shannon, Hoover
Leslie, Central BPL
Carrie, Hoover
Amanda, EOM
Deidre, Bessemer
Terri, Vestavia
Maura, Trussville
Lindsey, Trussville
Shanae, Hoover
Leigh, North B’ham

Topic: Tech Collections

Carrie Steinmehl, Technology Coordinator at the Hoover Library discussed the history of their management of technology.  Around 2005, HPL’s Wireless Network was installed and all felt there were not enough computer access for the public.  At that time, they invested in laptops that would be checked out to individuals and used only in the library.  These now play an integral part of our public offerings.  There are about 18 laptops that check out from the Tech Hub.  In 2015, Carrie researched circulating WiFi Hotspots.  Through T-Mobile, HPL was able to get 10 devices that have 4G LTE with unlimited data.  Each device initially costs about $150 (this is going down) and cost the library $28.70/month for data per device.  With 20, HPL spends about $7,000/yr.  The devices are *always* checked out with multiple holds on each.  Through a family connection, Carrie has found that a nonprofilt company, Voqul, has partnered with Sprint to offer for $10/month for data per device with costs per device as low as $110.  That may be the way of the future.

  • ·       Each WiFi Hotspot can power up to 10 devices in the home or on the road.
  • ·       The devices can be checked out to any patron 18 or older with a clear card for one week.
  • ·       If late, patron will accrue $1.50/day in fines and the device will be deactivated very shortly after it becomes due.  Most have been returned as soon as they’ve been deactivated.  None have been lost or damaged yet. 
  • ·       Patrons check out devices from the Tech Hub and return them there.

Carrie also helped set up Bessemer’s WiFi Hotspot collection.  Deidre Sims stated that the program is extremely popular with holds on all 10 devices.  Plans are to add to the current collection.  Their devices regulations are very similar to HPL except that the devices are checked out from the front desk (and users must be 21 and older).  In the 2 years Bessemer has had the collection, they have collected user surveys with very positive feedback. 

In addition to laptops and WiFi hotspots, the Hoover Library Fiction Department is in charge of 3 other Tech devices that circulate to patrons.
  • Nook Simple Touch
Black and white Nooks check out with preloaded content purchased from Barnes & Noble.  Each Nook has a theme based on content.  This collection was originally started in 2010 to fill the gap left by Overdrive as they were unable to offer all titles by all major publishers.  They have been very popular but since Overdrive is now able to offer the content we were purchasing for this collection we no longer purchase new titles.

Patrons must fill out an agreement before checking out a NOOK (see attachment).
Age limit: 15+
Check out period: 3 weeks (with 2 renewals)
Number of Nooks: 20

  • Nook Samsung Galaxy Tablet

These 7.0 color tablets check out preloaded with the library’s digital services on them.  Currently, they are preloaded with the Overdrive, Hoover Library, hoopla, Mango Languages, and Zinio apps.  There are also desktop shortcuts to BrainHQ, Reference USA, Universal Class, Alabama Legal Forms, The Birmingham News, Chilton Auto Repair, and Novelist.  Patrons must still use their library card to login and access these services (so if they are not Hoover residents they will not have access to all services).

Patrons are able to download any additional apps they need by logging into the Google Play store with their personal ID.  Tablets do have software on them to allow staff to lock and disable overdue tablets.  This software (called Maas360) is also used to wipe and reload the tablets after each checkout to remove patrons’ personal information.

Patrons must fill out an agreement before checking out a NOOK (see attachment).
Age limit: 18+
Check out period: 1 week (with 2 renewals)
Number of tablets: 32
Number of tablets billed: 8

  • Roku Streaming Sticks

These preloaded streaming sticks plug into the HDMI port of your television and run through your personal wireless connection.  Patrons are able to check out a Roku stick and view many of our most popular movies and TV shows through the Vudu app on the Roku.

Digital copies of movies are provided free of charge with our physical copies when we receive them from Midwest.  The promo codes for the free movies are redeemed and the copies made available on the Vudu app on the appropriate Roku.  Additional copies are also purchased from Vudu.

Patrons do not have to fill out a lending agreement
No minimum age limit
Check out period: 1 week (with 2 renewals)
Number of Roku Streaming Sticks: 10

To discuss the Roku Streaming Sticks, Shanae King of the HPL Fiction Department came and explained her process of loading each Roku stick with the free digital copies of movies we already purchase from various sources.  These digital copies were previously either given out to staff or discarded, but once the Roku plan was initiated, these free copies became content for the circulating devices.  She stated this loading of the digital codes was the most time consuming portion of the program.  Otherwise it is easy and patrons seem to love them.  They are always checked out with holds.  Each device costs the library about $25/item.  HPL currently has 10 devices.  There are hopes that the Movie Department, which circulates the Roku sticks, may invest in their own WiFi hotspots to circulate with the Roku sticks, making it easier for patrons.

Common to several libraries are the Playaway “LaunchPads” which primarily circulate in Children’s Departments.  Both Bessemer and Vestavia Hills use theirs with kids – VH also has some for Teens and ESL students.  Replacement costs for these study, small tablets is about $150 per device with each containing a specifically themed content.

There was an active discussion of tech “accoutrements” that are sold in various libraries such as flash drives and earphones, along with the dreaded office supply debate.  Several libraries added that selling flash drives for $7 and earphones for $2 is a public service and made daily exchanges move smoothly.

Last, but not least, Carrie described a unique offering for Hoover Library.  Because we cannot invest square footage to a makerspace, the Tech Department investigated ways of providing something unique to our community.  The solution came in the form of a Digital Media Lab.  The equipment is kept together but can be made portable for the patron to use in the library and Technology Training Center.  Equipment includes video and audio recording resources, along with green screen, photo digitizer, 27” iMac with Retina display, scanners, microphones, headphones, keyboard controller and much more.  A quiet rollout has seen usage among patrons wishing to film their own commercials and interest in the iMovie and Garageband products.

Resources (feel free to use in your library):

Hoover Library Technology Services (describes Digital Media Lab equipment)

If you have anything you wish to add, please leave a comment below.  I can direct questions to the right person or do my best to answer.  If you have documents you wish to share, send them to me and I will post them on the ASRT blog.

NEXT MEETING:  Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 10:00 am @ the Homewood Library
TOPIC:  Gaming/Games in the Library

Tuesday, January 17, 2017