Archive for May, 2020

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: Canton Woods Senior Center

To read more about TinyCat’s Library of the Month feature, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

This month we highlight a center doing great things for their local senior citizens, the Canton Woods Senior Center! Here’s what Librarian Lorraine Melita—aka “Lorraine the Librarian”—had to say about their library:

First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Canton Woods helps seniors remain active members of their community. The official mission of Canton Woods Senior Center reads as follows: Senior citizens are a valuable community resource. Canton Woods Multipurpose Senior Center meets the challenges facing older Americans by offering stimulating social activities, education and recreation programs, nutrition, health, and other activities.

Tell us some interesting things about how you support your community.

The small area that houses our collection is used as a senior writing center, a wonderful book club led by a retired English teacher, a health center for blood pressure checks, and a reading area for quiet times. The center offers seniors various exercise classes including a falls and prevention class, Tai Chi, cooking demonstrations, free band concerts, a craft club, art classes, pool, card games, Wii bowling, and many other activities.

Because the center is a municipally funded center, the library, in particular, is always looking for unique funding methods. For the past two years in the fall, several volunteers at the center have peeled apples and made many apple crisps to sell by the piece as a fundraiser for our small library. It was a great deal of work but was very successful and enjoyed by everyone who participated, especially the seniors! I also do a list of new books in our monthly newsletter and feature these books on our “new books” shelf in the library.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Our seniors are voracious readers and often love mystery novels with James Patterson, David Baldacci and Stuart Woods being some of their favorite authors.

What’s a particular challenge you experience as a small library?

I find the biggest challenge to this library is technology. Three years ago, the collection was put online with the help of Syracuse University, several area grants from various donors, and LibraryThing. The technology itself works very well but the majority of our seniors are not used to looking at an online catalog for their books. Some of our readers would easily be able to use the internet to navigate our system whereas most of them like to peruse the shelves and see what’s been added to the new book shelf. I put the collection online to have the technology available and in use when more tech-savvy patrons begin using this facility. When that happens, we may begin using the lending features TinyCat offers.

Regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic, how has your library and your organization been affected? Is there anything TinyCat could be doing to meet your needs during this time?

The center has been closed to the public and our seniors since the pandemic began; however, our Director has met our loyal patrons on the front porch with a basket of books by the author they request. She takes a photo of the books, the patron’s name and number, and prints the photo for our records, all while practicing social distancing and wearing a mask. She is dedicated to our mission and our seniors!

Without our library open at this time, there isn’t much TinyCat can do to help our operations.

What is your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

I am thrilled with the recent improvement for getting statistics. That is extremely useful to me as I need to show circulation to have any increase to my meager budget.

Want to learn more about the Canton Woods Senior Center? Check out their collection on TinyCat.

To read up on TinyCat’s previous Libraries of the Month, visit the TinyCat Post archive here.

Calling all TinyCat libraries: become TinyCat’s next Library of the Month—just send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Interview with Callan Bignoli About #ProtectLibraryWorkers

Callan Bignoli, Library Director at Olin College of Engineering

Callan Bignoli of #ProtectLibraryWorkers

The book world is rapidly changing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. LibraryThing has been talking to people affected by these changes. For all our conversations, go here.

We interviewed Callan Bignoli (she/her/hers), Director of the Library at Olin College of Engineering, who has been organizing and advocating for the health of library workers. First through the #closethelibraries campaign to encourage hold-out library systems to close their physical doors for public and staff safety earlier this year, and now for #ProtectLibraryWorkers, advocating for a more considered approach to re-opening physical library locations, including curbside.

According to Callan, she “worked hardest on local efforts where she thought she’d be able to make the most change, and tried to supply resources to help people with organizing and power mapping to support them throughout the country.”

Callan be found on Twitter (@eminencefont) and her website.

1. What is #protectlibraryworkers and how did it come about?

#ProtectLibraryWorkers evolved from the #closethelibraries movement on Twitter when it became clear that just because a library had closed to the public did not mean that communities or library staff members were being kept safe. Curbside and home delivery, interlibrary loan, document scanning, and more were still happening at libraries, often with library assistants, pages, and student workers being put at risk while their “higher up” colleagues worked from home. In the case of libraries in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, and likely elsewhere, workers were forcibly deployed to other positions that exposed them to considerably more risk, such as emergency childcare centers and temporary shelters, with little choice in the matter other than whether or not to still get paid. Then, the wave of layoffs and furloughs began to sweep the country. #ProtectLibraryWorkers was an attempt to speak out against all of these crises and advocate for libraries-as-people, not just libraries-as-institution as we have seen our professional organizations repeatedly choose to do.
2. How can people support library workers at their local or national level?
1) Sign this petition written by members of current and past Library Freedom Institute cohorts to push for safe and fair reopening conditions. We want as many cosigners as we can get before we begin to distribute it to decision makers in individual states.
2) Figure out what is going on locally and question it. Is your local library providing curbside pickup before your state’s stay-at-home order is lifted? Ask why that’s happening and push for it to stop.
3) Continue paying attention to the local conversation and find like-minded fellow citizens to band together and prepare to push back on library budget cuts and staffing reduction.
4) Donate to EveryLibrary’s Help a Library Worker Out (HALO) fund.
3. If you could wave a magic wand and create guidelines for libraries as we go through reorienting to a new normal, what would some of those guidelines be?
Stay home for as long as possible. Don’t just close down and silo yourself off to the other departments in your school, city, or town; despite whatever competition for resources or beefs you had before, don’t feel as if you have to go this all alone. Everything is different now. Deeply and carefully consider which of your patrons are benefiting from curbside delivery, think about the amount of time and effort you’re putting into it, and think about what other outreach you might be doing to help those that aren’t benefiting. As layoffs and furloughs worsen, partner up to create mutual aid networks for library workers in your area. If you’re a director, do everything in your power to keep your staff. Communicate clearly and honestly with your people. Trust them to keep finding things to do while they’re teleworking, and ask yourself, “Does it really matter when we’re trying to save lives?” Ask that question often.
We ask all our interviewees the same final two questions:
4. How is your personal library organized?
At any given time, about 1/3 of my small collection of books are library checkouts (often from Olin’s library), so I have one shelf of those, one shelf of fiction, and one shelf of nonfiction. I tend to keep the unusual/unofficial things the longest, like self-published poetry books given to me by former patrons, a personal journal of the mid-century advertising artist Marilyn Conover that I found in a used bookstore in Gloucester, the Shutterfly book my old boss gave me of the library we renovated together, that kind of stuff.
5. What have you read lately? What do you recommend?
I’m currently in the last section of Adrienne Maree Brown’s Emergent Strategy which probably makes me seem like I’m behind the curve, but honestly when I was in public library administration, I didn’t read much of anything–so I’m still catching up now! I’d say the biggest takeaways for me personally have been 1) the understanding that movements can and should take many forms and that we shouldn’t necessarily lump things under the same big umbrellas, 2) the acknowledgment that lasting change is long, slow, and hard work, which isn’t something that naturally “comes” to me, and 3) the importance and strength of consensus decision making, and, relatedly, putting explicit trust in others. I’d recommend it to anyone doing work in social justice or advocacy movements, and really any kind of leaders or managers as well.


Labels: interview, Uncategorized

Monday, May 4th, 2020

May Early Reviewers batch is up!

Win free books from the May 2020 batch of Early Reviewer titles! We’ve got 83 books this month, and a grand total of 2,997 copies to give out. Which books are you hoping to snag this month? Come tell us on Talk.

If you haven’t already, sign up for Early Reviewers. If you’ve already signed up, please check your mailing/email address and make sure they’re correct.

» Request books here!

The deadline to request a copy is Monday, May 25th at 6PM Eastern.

Eligiblity: Publishers do things country-by-country. This month we have publishers who can send books to the US, Canada, the UK, Israel, Australia, France, Germany, and more. Make sure to check the flags by each book to see if it can be sent to your country.

Thanks to all the publishers participating this month!

Entrada Publishing Revell Ballantine Books
Black Rose Writing City Owl Press Hoopoe
Books by Elle, Inc William Morrow New Vessel Press
Prufrock Press Consortium Book Sales and Distribution Tantor Media
HighBridge Audio Small Beer Press Algonquin Books
Crystal Peake Publisher CarTech Books ScareStreet
Zimbell House Publishing Chipper Press Bellevue Literary Press
Candlewick Press Walker Books US Real Nice Books
Petra Books ClydeBank Media Odyssey Books
Open Books NewCon Press Tiny Fox Press
Poolbeg Press Ooligan Press BHC Press

Labels: early reviewers, LTER