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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

Monday, November 21, 2016

ASRT minutes, November 17, 2016


Kelly, Springville Road
Shannon, Hoover
Leslie, BPL Central
Laura, BPL Southern History
Lutheria, Springville Road
Jonathan, Avondale
Maura, Trussville
Katie, EOM
Deidre, Bessemer
Roy Williams, BPL

“Good promotion is like Chinese food. When it's done right, it's slightly enticing and pleasantly satisfying. And shortly after it's finished, you want to go back for a little bit more. Creating good promotion can be like preparing Chinese food. You may or may not have all the right tools and skills. If not, then you probably want to order out to get it. But you'll choose your vendor carefully, to be sure that you'll get just the right flavor combination that you're looking for.”   Computers in Libraries Vol. 23 No. 5 — May 2004

Simple approach:  Have a rotating screensaver promotion of in-house programs and promotions.
More involved:  Partner with local shops to make promotion of library events a shared community plan.
v Mango Languages:  Newly expanded by JCLC – get the word out to targeted audiences.  Emphasize how Mango also focuses on different ways of learning, i.e. English for Hindi speakers, English for Chinese speakers, etc.
v Facebook: 
o   Why not have Facebook contests to raise the # of “likes” for your library FB page?  Ask library-related questions and give away something simple.
o   Experiment with Facebook LIVE – very trendy right now.
o   Check out FB groups such as “You Know You Grew Up In Birmingham…”
o   Cross-post and update information regularly.
o   Look for ways to post patron testimonials – very popular.
o   If appropriate, pay for a FB ad to push an event or program.
v Checks & Balances:
o   Always have another person, if not more, proof what you are putting online or what you put on a simple flyer.  Mistakes can cost you!
o   Create a “checklist” for your own use to make sure you hit all the right things for your promotion: 
§  List each outlet of promotion
§  List all dates that you post
§  Check for any calendar conflicts
§  Add/change as needed
v Roy Williams, Director of Public Relations for BPL
o   Submit programs 60 days in advance
o   Don’t forget to include the Evance information so that it can get posted
o   Below, you’ll see a 101 course on posting your events to
o   Don’t forget to use to possibly have your events covered by WELD magazine
o   Consider your event for Roy’s radio program, Biz Talk with Roy Williams.  Biz Talk With Roy Williams Radio Show Background - Airing Saturdays 7:30-8 pm on WAGG 610 AM, live-streaming at
v Other ideas for promotion:
o   Elizabeth Swift can do an Eblast, but these are reserved for BIG events.  All requests go through her.  An Eblast is when specific patrons are sent emails for events according to their email addresses in Sierra.
o   Use ReferenceUSA to create an emailing list of new residents.  Use something free like to create an emailing list giving new patrons information about their branch library.
o   Utilizing the Chamber of Commerce might prove beneficial when reaching out to your area businesses.
o   For programs aimed at the Hispanic community, contact HICA (Hispanic Coalition) at 205-942-5505, introduce yourself and ask for the best contact information for your needs.  Or, their generic email address is 
v Websites to check out:
o   New Marketing Trends:  Marketing ideas for Nonprofits and Libraries: The M Word helps librarians learn about marketing trends and ideas.
v Hoover now subscribes to Ebsco’s NoveList Plus.  As a result, we also get “LibraryAware” which provides ways to create and publish marketing materials for events or just to post a booklist.  INVESTIGATING:  With a new partnership between Bibliotheca and NoveList, we are researching the possibility of providing patrons RA at checkout.  How it works:  as patrons check out on Bibliotheca self-checkout machines, the information would be read by NoveList and recommendations based on the books checked out would appear.  For more advanced self-checkout machines, the patron will be able to follow a link to place a hold on those recommendations.  (This is similar to what Barnes & Noble has when you pay for your books.  A list of recommended books appear on your receipt.)  Upshot:  Anytime you can give a patron their ROI, they are instantly your champion!

Don't forget to join the group "ALA Think Tank" on Facebook to share/inform ideas on librarianship.  Also there is a group called to
 Library Marketing and Communications Conference Group -- might prove useful! Posting 101 
November 2016

From Roy L. Williams, Director of Public Relations at Birmingham Public Library and CEO of Williams Writing Solutions, Birmingham, AL
When you do postings on you need to do three things:
1. Set up an account on using an email address - I have one set up under personal email & another using work email
2. Create a user name - example – mine at work is BirminghamPublicLibrary
3. Create a password

The link to register, sign in and post releases is:
Also you can post calendar items and photos on
To post items on City Scene or other calendars on go to 
To post photos on go to
Or email
Roy L. Williams
Director of Public Relations
Birmingham Public Library, 2100 Park Place, Birmingham, AL 35203
Work Phone: (205) 226-
3746 Work cell (205) 568-0067, Personal cell (205) 572-1359
Work E-mail:,   Personal Email
**Below is an example of a post I did on Oct. 9, 2016 -it takes up to 24 hours to get on though I got one up in 2 hours Friday using my home email after work one did not go through - I suggest you set up accounts on both work email and personal email account as a backup
Bards & Brews to close out 2015 Eat Drink Read Write festival, posted Friday, Oct. 9, 2015

Monday, November 14, 2016

Join us on Thursday, November 17 at the Springville Road branch to talk about library promotions and PR. Come prepared to share and learn. We meet at 10 am. Hope to see a big crowd!
Check out this interesting post from Tripod:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Please take a moment to vote for next year's topics for ASRT!  Thanks!  Go to

Adult Services Roundtable Meeting Minutes
Location:  Bessemer Library
Topic:  Unique spaces/collections

Madalyn, Hoover
Shannon, Hoover
Deidre, Bessemer
Kelly, Springville Road
Maura, Trussville
Terri, Vestavia Hills
Christina, East Lake
Megan, Bessemer
Lori, Bessemer
Michelle, Irondale
Leigh, North Birmingham

Thank you to Deidre Sims and the staff at Bessemer for hosting us!

We talked informally about several things that are being circulated throughout the county.  Specifically, Madalyn from Hoover talked about the newest edition: adult designer board games.  These have been a HUGE hit at Hoover.  (I will include a link to the borrowing/processing details for other libraries to see.) When I posted a photo of the display of adult games on ALA Think Tank, we got nationwide attention and responses.  (If you haven't joined the ALA Think Tank group on Facebook, I highly encourage you do so.  There is also a "Programming Librarian" and "Libraries & Social Media" groups that are also invaluable.)  This unique collection is appealing to a younger demographic that might not be very active in public library usage.  Here are some documents detailing the program:

Board Game Collection Guidelines.docx

In addition to board games, Hoover circulates Samsung tablets (taking the place of Nooks), Roku sticks (preloaded with all those "free" digital copies that now come with all our DVD/Blu-Ray copies), and WIFI hotspots.  Several other libraries now circulate WIFI hotspots and are beginning to look into other technological devices to circulate.  Currently, Hoover has 5 Roku sticks that are being circulated.  The goal is to have them loaded with like movies to create "movie bundles/binge packages" on one device.

At Avondale, Ms. Eve has developed a Ukelele Lending program.  According to Carla Perkins, "We began this program after Mrs. Eve read about similar programs in Portland, Maine, Gretna, Nebraska, Athens, Georgia, and more.  After doing much research, Mrs. Eve wrote a proposal, including all the relevant circulation and cost information provided by the above mentioned libraries, as well as studies linking the study of music to improved academic performance and reduced stress levels.  A small local music store, (Fretted Instruments in Homewood, Alabama) donated 5 ukuleles to get us started.  When they saw the great demand they brought 8 more over for a total of 13.   They all came with a very thin vinyl case which we are hoping will be enough to protect them. No damage so far!  In addition to circulating the ukuleles, Mrs. Eve is teaching a once per month Saturday morning Ukulele 101 beginner’s course. The response from the community has been overwhelmingly favorable.

The check out period for the ukulele is the same as for a book -⁠3 weeks.
The instrument checks out with a book, 21 songs in 6 days, by Jenny Peters and Rebecca Bogart
The Ukulele must be picked up and returned to the Avondale Library Youth Department, Birmingham Public Library System
The fee for lost or damaged instruments is $50.00
They are catalogued as ukuleles 3D
To help with maintenance, Fretted Instruments also donated extra strings"

So far, so good!!  This type of thing will appeal to kids, teens and adults.  And the addition of a "101" class is genius!

Another thing that was discussed were Playaway's "LaunchPads" that are circulating in children's departments.  These are preloaded with games & material such as brain games, math games, STEM games, etc.  For now, most are aimed at children but some libraries will be adding adult learning materials too loaded with things like crosswords, quizzes and brain games.

Lastly, we opened up the floor to discussion of a variety of things we've heard are circulating around the country such as cake pans, neckties, knitting & craft tools and household tools. BPL downtown has for many years circulated art objects --  painting and sculptures -- to anyone for longer loan periods.  These unique collections can make us a wonderful testing ground for adults who like to try before they buy.  One cutting-edge item discussed were Virtual Reality Goggles.  

It was discussed that perhaps ASRT could create a spreadsheet that includes what libraries have what type of collection and their respective lending requirements.  Also, possibly creating a checklist for unique collections  -- a one-stop-shop for anyone considering investing in a unique/unusual collection.  What is your opinion?

Next Meeting:  Thursday, November 17, 2016 @ 10 am
Location:  Springville Road Library
Topic:  Library Public Relations/Promotions

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Vote for 2017 topics for Adult Services Roundtable to discuss.  Here is a link to the survey:


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Clear your calendars!  Save the date!

Next week on September 15th at the Bessemer Library, we will meet at 10 am to discuss "Makerspaces & Unique Collections".  If you have any questions about a special collection whether it be adult board games, videogames, or ukeleles -- along with the most current trend on the horizon, Makerspaces -- come to this meeting to find out more.  We need both sides, those with the collections and those interested in adding them.  What troubles or benefits have you come across?  How are you dealing with processing & checkouts?  Do you wonder if it is all worth it?  Come with questions (and answers if you have them!)

We will also be voting on 2017 topics/moderator/locations for meetings.  Make your voice heard.

There will be coffee and pastries!

Thank you!!

Shannon Haddock