Author Archive

Friday, June 24th, 2022

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: Out On The Shelves Library

It’s Pride Month, which means we’re super proud to feature an independent LGBT2QIA+ library that’s been supporting their Vancouver community since the 1980s! It was my pleasure to interview Out On The Shelves (OOTS) Library Co-Coordinator Rio Picollo, MLIS (they/them) this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Out On The Shelves Library (OOTS) is an independent community library serving the

LGBT2QIA+ community of Vancouver, British Columbia since the early 1980s. We foster a free, accessible, and safe space for LGBT2QIA+ people to discover and share stories and resources centering on LGBT2QIA+ experiences.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

We’re in the midst of a project in collaboration with the University of British Columbia School of Information to improve our subject tags to help patrons discover works featuring identities that aren’t well represented in mainstream library cataloguing. We routinely get requests for things like books by trans women of colour or YA fiction with non-binary characters, and until now we’ve relied heavily on word-of-mouth recommendations between library volunteers or searching through curated book lists for that information. We’re excited to create a more organized, accessible way for our patrons to find the types of materials they’re looking for from within our catalogue.

What a wonderful way to increase visibility for underrepresented identities. Speaking of your collections, what are some of your favorite items?

Our new seed library, Out in the Dirt, which offers free seeds and starters, as well as programming on sustainable urban farming and food sharing within the Vancouver queer community.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Being located on the far west side of Vancouver, it can be difficult for folks from elsewhere across the Lower Mainland to make the trip to our location. We have plans in the works for a sort of interlibrary loan system partnered with the newly developed Vancouver Black Library located in Chinatown to help increase the reach of both our organizations.

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

We love how quick and easy it is to catalogue materials with LibraryThing. It offers such a low barrier to entry for folks new to library cataloguing. In the future, we’d love to be able to store info for duplicate copies under the same bib record.

We hope to add copy management in the future as well! We’ll be sure to announce any changes on that front. Thanks for your feedback.

Want to learn more about OOTS? Visit their website at https://outontheshelveslibrary.com/, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Friday, May 13th, 2022

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: The Michael C. Weidemann LGBTQ+ Library

Our library featured this month is a Seattle-based LGBTQ+ library doing valuable work in their community while paying special attention to their most marginalized BIPOC voices. Library and Resource Coordinator Alayna S. Jasso at the Michael C. Weidemann LGBTQ+ Library formerly known as Gay City was kind enough to field my questions:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

We are the Michael C. Weidemann LGBTQ+ Library located in Seattle’s LGBTQ+ Center. Our library’s mission is to promote the self-determination, liberation, and joy of LGBTQ+ communities through storytelling, information, and idea sharing while centering the stories and voices of Queer and Trans BIPOC individuals in an inclusive and welcoming space.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our library is one of the largest collections of LGBTQ+ books and media in the Pacific Northwest. We support our community by giving them the opportunity to see themselves in stories and media. We also provide a full resource center that allows community members to access the support they need to thrive. This could be through discounted transportation cards, Health Care Navigation, resource referrals, and more.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I think the Rainbow Boys Series by Alex Sanchez. They are young adult books following the lives of three teens struggling with coming out and being accepted in high school. I think it’s super important that youth be able to see themselves in stories. I also love the Janet Mock Memoir Redefining Realness. It’s such a powerful book and shows what people go through on their journey to live in their truth.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The pandemic was of course a huge challenge for our library. In March 2020 we made the difficult decision to temporarily close our library for the health of our communities. While we were closed, we took the opportunity to curate and re-catalog our collection. Our goal was to make sure that our catalog is truly representative of all the communities we serve. By auditing our catalog, we were able to curate a streamlined collection of our most in-demand books and genres, as well as make sure we have space to expand our collection to include more voices and experiences. In particular, we are committed to expanding our collection of BIPOC LGBTQ+ authors. Our challenge is sourcing these books given the historical marginalization of these authors and the relative scarcity of some of these books along with the budgetary constraints that many libraries face.

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

My favorite feature of TinyCat is the aggregated reports. Being able to see which items are getting the most circulation really helps when considering adding or weeding titles. What I would really like to see with TinyCat is the removal of case sensitivity when it comes to tags.

Want to learn more about the LGBTQ+ Library? Explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Milwaukee Waukesha Beekeepers Association

Spring is in the air (at least for the Northern Hemisphere), so it’s a great time to think about our powerful pollinators! I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Wickham, library volunteer and retired school librarian at the Milwaukee Waukesha Beekeepers Association (MWBA), for our featured library this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

Our library is part of the Milwaukee Waukesha Beekeepers Association, a club in southeastern Wisconsin made up of beekeepers (beeks) and others who are interested in bees and beekeeping. The goal of our library is to support our members as they explore the hobby of beekeeping and expand their knowledge of beekeeping methods.  We own roughly 100 books covering areas of interest to our members; the books can be checked out during our monthly meetings. Our books cover the subjects of honeybee biology, beekeeping in general, queen rearing, overwintering and treating bee colonies, producing and marketing honey, pollinator friendly gardening, crafting with beeswax, as well as a small collection of children’s titles about bees. Club dues support the periodic purchase of new titles.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our members are often asked to present to various community groups, and often use our library resources during these presentations. We also donate honey from our club beeyard—we maintain about 15 hives as a club—to our local Hunger Task Force food bank.

What a worthy cause, for the bees and for the food bank! Speaking of your library’s resources, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorite title to recommend is Hilary Kearney‘s Queenspotting, a book that is both fun and educational for all age groups.   Also, two books by a Milwaukee author, Petra Ahnert, Beeswax Alchemy and Beehive Alchemy, which both contain DIY projects using beeswax, honey and propolis.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Our club members have varying degrees of experience and a variety of beekeeping philosophies. If you ask 10 beekeepers the same question, you’ll get 11 answers! So, it’s a challenge to provide materials covering all levels of interest, experience and philosophies.

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

I love how easy it is to add titles from LibraryThing and how visual our online TinyCat catalog is. I’d like to be able to add more than one copy to the same bib record, and I’d like to be able to generate emailed overdue notices right from TinyCat or LibraryThing.

Great feedback! While we don’t yet have copies management, we’ll be sure to announce any changes on that front. As for overdue notices, you can automate those from your Patron Email Reminder Settings at https://www.librarycat.org/admin/settings/circsettings. Hope this helps!

Want to learn more about MWBA? Visit their website at http://mwbeekeepers.org/, join their Facebook Group, or explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

Happy 6th Birthday to TinyCat!

Today marks TinyCat’s 6th year of giving small libraries a sleek, user-friendly, and affordable way to manage and share their collections online, all powered by LibraryThing. Happy Birthday to us!

We’ve had the pleasure of cultivating relationships and community with thousands of libraries over the years. (Check out some of our latest Libraries of the Month on the blog.) From schools and classrooms to churches, arts organizations, local clubs, human rights groups, free libraries in underserved communities, and more, we’d like to thank everyone who’s adopted a TinyCat of their own! Of course this means we have a few gifts for you all this month to mark the occasion.

Store Sale…

For the next month until Friday, May 6, we’re running a major sale on all of our CueCat scanners, barcode labels, and TinyCat merch in the LibraryThing Store. Be sure to take advantage of the deals and stock up this month while you can: https://www.librarything.com/more/store.

...and a Surprise!

We’ll have an adorable surprise for you later this month, and a surprise giveaway for both new and existing TinyCat subscribers—well, a surprise in the sense that you can’t pinpoint* what the giveaway is, yet—so stay tuned on the blog and on our Twitter page for details: https://twitter.com/TinyCat_lib.

Come and join the celebratory thread in the TinyCat Group for some happy birthday wishes, and thanks for another great year!

*Hint hint: can you take a guess at the surprise we have in store for you?

Labels: birthday, libraries, sale, TinyCat

Friday, March 25th, 2022

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: New England Antiquities Research Association

Humans have been using stones for millions of years, leaving behind such a lengthy history of artifacts that it only makes sense that not all stone structures still standing are known, or their purpose understood, by those alive today. The New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA) is working to close that knowledge gap in their part of the world. 

One of NEARA’s volunteers Walter kindly answered my questions for this month’s feature:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

We are the New England Antiquities Research Association (NEARA), a non-profit organization dedicated to trying to discover, understand, and preserve many stone structures that can be found in the northeastern US and Canada.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

The library is really a research library. It has thousands of books about history, archaeology, anthropology, and geology, mostly focused on stone artifacts such as chambers, rock piles, walls, propped boulders, rock art, and mounds. Most of the books circulate to our members.

The library is also an archive. Naturally we house many of the documents accumulated from nearly 60 years of existence, including all of the journals and newsletters and a few books that we have published.

But we also hold files documenting many of the sites that have been found, and we preserve the notes and files and maps of NEARA researchers. Together they occupy many boxes and filing cabinets. These files have been valuable to today’s researchers who are out looking for sites and seeing if their condition has changed or whether they have been destroyed by modern development.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I’m not sure I have a favorite item. It often feels like the next thing I pick up is the most fascinating book. Reading old site reports is exciting, giving one the vicarious pleasure of discovering new sites.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We have been in the process of digitizing our archives and providing online access to it. We have finished digitizing the site files, but there’s still a lot to be done. That work has been essential in continuing the value of the archives, because now people can use it from their home or smartphone.

Most of our membership is scattered about the New England and Middle Atlantic states, so coming to visit the library isn’t as easy as visiting your local library. Before COVID there were more visitors and our in-person conferences twice a year meant much more interaction at our book tables. The browsing experience is so important. Now everything has to be mailed, which has decreased our usage and increased our per-item work and cost. Having an online catalog and circulation system has helped. But I really would like to give our members free digital access to the volumes that we own.

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

TinyCat is great for the user. It looks nice and is easy to use. Acting as a librarian, though, I find some of the circulation and patron controls hard to use on a tablet. Also, with LibraryThing I wish it were easier to handle barcodes and perform queries and mass operations.

Great feedback! I’ll touch base with you for specifics about your tablet use, and I’ll make sure you have access to everything you need regarding barcodes, searches, and power functions.

Want to learn more about NEARA? Visit their website at https://neara.org, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2022

TinyCat’s February Library of the Month: The Starfish Foundation Library

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

The Starfish Foundation Library—a wonderful multilingual library founded in February 2021 on the Greek island of Lesvos—is TinyCat’s Library of the Month. The Foundation’s volunteers, including Jessica Volmar, who fielded my questions this month, work diligently to help local and migrant communities in need.

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Starfish Foundation was started by locals on Lesvos in 2015, who witnessed one of the world’s greatest humanitarian disasters unfolding on their shorelines with thousands of refugees arriving. The target group of most of the activities are mainly refugees, but Starfish Foundation has widened the target groups and now also reaches many local people and organizations. One of our projects is the Library Project, which includes a multilingual library in the city Mytilene and a mobile library in the refugee camp Mavrovouni.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Life in a refugee camp is very difficult and many people have been stuck here for years. With the Library Project we can provide the residents books for education and pleasure. Our diverse collection consists of around 6000 books in more than 15 languages – including Farsi, Arabic and French, the most common languages in the camp. The vast majority of the books are donations from all over the world. Our library in Mytilene is a great space where locals and refugees meet, which promotes inclusion and cohesion.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love the childrens books that have their text in English and Arabic or Farsi. Those are not only popular with children but also adults, as it is a fun and playful way to learn and improve a language.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Some books in certain languages are really hard to get. For example Somali – there are many refugees from Somalia who frequently ask for books in their language, but it’s hard to get them.

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

It’s very easy to find books, especially with the language tags, which is an important factor of the refugees living in the camp.

Want to learn more about the Starfish Foundation? Visit their website at https://www.asterias-starfish.org/, and explore their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Thursday, January 27th, 2022

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: The Concentrating Solar Power Digital Library Archive

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

January’s TinyCat Library of the Month goes to the Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Digital Library Archive! Technical Librarian Shannon O’Grady from Sandia National Laboratories was kind enough to field my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Digital Library Archive is a technical reference database of historical CSP documents accessible to domestic and global partners with the purpose of promoting collaboration and information sharing.

It is the only public collection in the world that chronicles the history and growth of the CSP industry through recently digitized documents, beginning with its inception at Sandia National Laboratories in the 1970’s. Until recently, this history was inaccessible to global collaborators. Hardcopy documents were difficult to share and no central repository existed to catalogue and access digital copies. Since the documents had no way to be discovered, knowledge of their existence and substance was limited to those who were aware of these collections, minimizing the opportunity for external collaborators to benefit from their technical contents. Consequently, researchers stood to inadvertently replicate studies instead of building on them.

The Archive contains:

  • coverage of research topics such as CSP technologies
  • modeling of CSP Plant
  • CSP engineered products
  • heliostat designs
  • heliostat operational systems, and much more.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

Our Library supports anyone around the world interested in solar research. Sandia solar researchers and librarians have spent the past few years collecting, digitizing and cataloging a host of reports, memos, blueprints, photos and more on concentrating solar power, a kind of renewable energy produced by using large mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on a tower to generate electricity. These historical research documents are now in a publicly accessible digital archive for other concentrating solar power researchers, historians, corporations and average citizens to view.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

There are so many unique reports in the catalog, it would be hard to pick one! We recently received this feedback from a user,

“When searching for ‘sunshape’ I actually found a document that is older than myself and acknowledges someone who worked in my office for decades. Time seems to go in cycles!”

It’s very satisfying to provide information that previously was not discoverable!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

The challenge for our library is the process of adding to the archive. We continue to accumulate paper copies of reports, provide all with metadata and an abstract in MARC format, and then digitize.  It’s a time consuming process but well worth it.

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

Our favorite things are the easy-to-use interface and the flexibility of modifying it. We have made several updates to the Home page and have revised the record detailed view to best display report metadata. 

What we’d really love to see implemented is more of a LibraryThing upgrade but has an aspect of TinyCat: it would be really great if there was a way to update information in the originally loaded MARC record that displays as MARC view in TinyCat.

Great feedback, thanks! We’ll take that into consideration.

Want to learn more about the CSP Digital Library Archive? Explore their TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

TinyCat’s December Library of the Month: Slighe nan Gàidheal

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

TinyCat’s December Library of the Month is for the linguists and Gaelic fans in the crowd. Thanks to Slighe nan Gàidheal and Library Committee Chair Brian Newell for answering my questions this month:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”?

The library is part of Slighe nan Gàidheal (SnG) or, “Way of the Gaels” in Scottish Gaelic—a non-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington. Since 1997, we have built a dynamic and active membership base and grown into a lively, welcoming community of language-learners, musicians, singers, dancers, historians, artists, storytellers, and Celtic scholars.

The library’s mission is to support SnG’s teaching and dissemination of Scottish Gaelic language in its contemporary and historical context, supporting classes, performances, and individual study by its members.

Objectives include providing:

  • support to learners enrolled in our Zero-to-Gaelic (Z2G) language-instruction program, in cooperation with the Gaelic Education Committee and with the presenters in the Z2G program
  • support to presenters in the Z2G program
  • support for Gaelic-language instruction at SnG’s biennial Féisean (Gaelic cultural festivals) and other activities
  • support to members of SnG who are engaged in independent study of Gaelic
  • management and development of SnG’s collections of Gaelic-language learning materials (dictionaries, grammars, self-teaching texts, etc.), literature in Gaelic, library materials about the Gaelic language, and related topics.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

The library has over 500 items which gives our members access to a wide variety of material for their Scottish Gaelic language studies or other cultural interests. We also have an extensive number of novels, short story collections, song and poetry collections, and non-fictional works. Some of these titles are written only in Scottish Gaelic, but many are dual-language or English only, giving our members plenty to choose from to borrow or to preview before purchasing a copy for their own use.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

What makes Slighe nan Gàidheal so enjoyable is the diversity of its members, their many different goals for learning the Scottish Gaelic language, and the varied depth of knowledge. With such a diverse group comes so many favorites. A few of the Library Committee’s favorite items are:

  • The children’s book A’ Chaparaid (The Tumult) by Phyllis Root.
  • The Silver Bough Series: An indispensable, 4-volume treasury of Scottish folklore and folk belief. The Silver Bough involved many years of research into both living and recorded folklore and remains a classic of literature.
  • Asterix ann an dùthaich nan Cruithneach (Asterix in the land of the Picts) by Jean-Yves Ferri: A Scottish Gaelic graphic novel built upon the famous French-language franchise. This satire is for advanced students looking for contemporary banter to spice up their conversations and who enjoy searching for puns on every page.
  • Cleas Sgàthain by Màiri Anna NicDhòmhnaill: An identical-twin-exchange humorous novel.
  • The Spàgan series by Ellen Blance: This series of illustrated short stories are an enjoyable way for Scottish Gaelic learners to improve their grammar and reading skills.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Since we don’t have a physical “home” for SnG, all functions are held in rented facilities. Our library materials are held in a storage locker and items are retrieved and returned on an ad hoc basis. This makes it difficult for our members to browse the entire library and discover items that support their interests. We encouraged circulation and promoted the library’s TinyCat catalog during in-person events and in our newsletter—but it’s not the same as looking through the physical items. These COVID times have made promotions a greater challenge as our language classes and other meetings are now virtual.

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

Using TinyCat is a huge step forward for our members’ access to the library. Using LibraryThing and Readerware are good tools for our library management but are not as useful to most of our members. TinyCat provides us with an easy-to-use interface for searching and browsing the library, a tool for members to reserve items, and a way for us to manage checked-out items. 

One area becoming more common is receiving library material as digital media. We have audio files and videos in our collection and would like to have the ability for our members to “check them out” and listen to or watch them directly from TinyCat.

This is definitely something our libraries are coming across more often. While we don’t have any current plans to host library materials, we’ll be sure to announce any changes on this front. Thanks for the feedback!

Want to learn more about Slighe nan Gàidheal? Visit their website here and find their full TinyCat collection here.


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

Want to be considered for TinyCat’s Library of the Month? Send us a Tweet @TinyCat_lib or email Kristi at kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Monday, November 29th, 2021

8th Annual LibraryThing Holiday Card Exchange

The 8th annual LibraryThing Holiday Card Exchange is here!

How it works:

  • Mail a holiday card to a random LibraryThing member.
  • You can mail a handmade or storebought card. Add a note to personalize it.
  • You’ll get one from another member. (Only that member will see your address.*)

» Sign up for the LibrayThing Holiday Card Exchange now

Sign-ups for the Card Exchange closes Wednesday, December 8th at 12:00 PM Eastern (17:00 GMT). We’ll inform you of your matches within an hour or so after we close. Send your cards out soon after.

Questions? Join the discussion on Talk.


* In order for the cards you receive to be addressed to your real name, you must include your name in the address box. Some postal services require that addressee names match what’s on your mailbox.

Labels: card exchange, events, holiday

Monday, November 29th, 2021

The LibraryThing Holiday Store is Open

holidaystore

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! LibraryThing’s 15th annual SantaThing exchange is in full swing—signups just closed and matches are being made! It’s also Cyber Monday, so we’re opening up the LibraryThing Holiday Store all the way through Epiphany*. Come and stock up on all of your favorite bookish gifts for the holidays.

We’re offering some serious discounts** this year, including CueCat barcode scanners for just $5 apiece, barcode labels starting at $5 for the first packet in each set (that’s half off), book stamps starting at $6, our favorite, oversized, organic-cotton tote bags for just $19, and more.

Shop the Holiday Store now through January 6: https://www.librarything.com/more/store.


*Epiphany is also known as Little Christmas, the night before Orthodox Christmas or the day after the Twelfth day of Christmas—surely your loved one deserves twelve LibraryThing tote bags?

**Prices do not include cost of shipping. Shipping is included on Store pages.

Labels: holiday, sale