Archive for the ‘libraries’ Category

Thursday, March 21st, 2024

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: Toowong Bridge Club

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is all about fun and games! Or, rather, the particular card game of Bridge (formally known as Contract Bridge). The Toowong Bridge Club based out of Brisbane, Australia has been using TinyCat since 2021 to make sure their members can always access the library to advance their skills. 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Toowong Bridge Club Librarian Jill Duffield for the feature, and here’s what she had to say:

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

The Mission of the Toowong Bridge Club, by implementing TinyCat, was to make the library more accessible to the 800+ members so they could improve their game of Bridge.

Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community, and feel free to share how you got started with TinyCat.

Before we moved to automating the TBC Library there were over 800 books on the game of Contract Bridge that had been collected over the years since the Toowong Bridge Club opened in 1965. Members were able to browse the physical shelves of the Library for 30 minutes before each game started. They were assisted by volunteers on different days who recorded books that were borrowed on a borrowers’ sheet. When the books were returned, these books were crossed off this sheet. Members did have access to a simple printed subject catalogue at this time.

Toowong Bridge Club members at play.

In 2020 I was asked by the TBC Committee to investigate an affordable way to automate the Library. After looking at over eight free or very inexpensive systems, I recommended the Club use TinyCat. I then spent almost a year cataloguing each Bridge book. I tried to provide a recognisable tag for every chapter of every book. Some books have up to 20 tags attached to them. I was conscious that I needed to keep these tags consistent as I worked and we now have over 100 tags that can be attached to books. Members appreciate that they can search via the tags as well as via title or author.

When I had completed adding the books to TinyCat, I sent the link to the catalogue to all members. Initially it was intended that the books would be signed out using the barcode reader but it was decided with the number of different volunteers assisting with the library, it was easier to continue using the “Borrowers’ Record Sheet” and this appears to work well for us. Members now look at the website at home and come to the club to ask to borrow particular books after noting their call numbers. We are very pleased with the look of the TinyCat website and the access it gives members to our collection. 

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The newest books by Barbara Seagram appear to be the most popular so I have purchased them in multiple copies. I also run the “Book Stall” stand in the Toowong Bridge Club, where members donate their fiction books which we “sell” for $1 per book. The money raised is used to buy new books for the Bridge Club Library.

What’s your favorite thing about LibraryThing and TinyCat, is there anything you’d love to see implemented or developed?

My favourite thing about TinyCat is the fact that it is so easy to add books to the catalogue. I love that you can search for a new book and just add it to TinyCat without having to do a full catalogue. I then edit the record by adding the call number, tags, barcode and photo if necessary. I found the ease of arranging the look of the TinyCat web page, that is seen by the elderly borrowers, was great too. I left out a lot of information that I knew they would not need so the page remains clear.

Yes, I highly recommend LibraryThing for small libraries. I have been using my personal account since about 2011 to keep track of my novel reading too. Thank you Kristi and your  team!

I’m so glad TinyCat has worked so well for your Bridge Club and its members!

Want to learn more about the Toowong Bridge Club? 

Visit their website at https://www.toowongbridgeclub.com/index.asp, and check out 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, February 29th, 2024

TinyCat’s February Library of the Month: Ingleside at King Farm

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is that of a wonderful life plan community called Ingleside at King Farm (IKF), located just outside of Washington, D.C. IKF’s collections are actually two separate libraries managed by a volunteer committee, many of whom are former librarians.

I had the pleasure of interviewing IKF’s Library Committee Chair Judy Sandstrom for this month’s feature, here’s what she had to say:

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

Ingleside at King Farm is a life plan community of about 500 residents in Montgomery County, Maryland, about 10 miles from Washington D.C.  

When it opened in 2009, the then about 300 residents donated books from their personal collections and a volunteer library committee developed a database record of the library.

New construction in 2019 brought an additional 200 residents, a new location for the library, and additional retired librarians. At that point we were able to migrate to TinyCat and expand our collection.

Very soon after Covid hit and we had to modify our lending practices. Library access was closed, and residents sent email requests to the committee. Books were signed out and placed in bags outside the library for pick up. Thankfully we are back to normal library operations. 

We manage two libraries totaling 4000+ books and DVDs, one for independent living residents, the other for assisted living residents who are housed on a separate floor.

The library is managed by a committee made up in large part by former librarians from various types of libraries: public, school, law, and federal, as well as volunteers who love libraries.

Image: IKF’s Volunteer Library Committee

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

We publish a monthly column for our inhouse newsletter focusing on different aspects of our collection ranging from columns on how to access TinyCat from our online platform to “books of the month”. 

We have a large print collection in the Assisted Living Library

Our homepage has been modified to add links to our county library system and libraries for the blind or accessibility challenged residents.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We have a collection of about 25 books written by our residents.

What a vibrant and interesting community! Is there a particular challenge your library experiences?

Because our library has no budget, we depend on donations from residents. Additionally, our space is limited resulting in restrictions in the number and type of books we will accept.

Our committee was hoping to use the TinyCat online checkout system, but because our residents range in age from 70 to 100+, the steps required are not practical for this community.

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

The display of new book covers brings residents to the library pretty quickly! We love the feature “Similar in this Library.”

We instituted a barcode project hoping to use it for online checkout but find it helpful with general circulation. TinyCat made the project simple and quick.

Because our holdings are limited and some residents are visually and mobility challenged, we would love to have a seamless link to Libby from our homepage.

You can certainly add a link to your library on Libby, if you have one (such as this one for the Montgomery County Public Library), or you can add live links to individual records by using LibraryThing’s “Comments” field (which show up as “Local notes” on TinyCat Detail pages), but let me know if you’re looking for something else!

Want to learn more about Ingleside at King Farm?

Check out 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, January 29th, 2024

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: The U.S. Cavalry Memorial Research Library

The U.S. Cavalry Memorial Research Library (USCMRL) has been with LibraryThing since 2018 so I’m very glad to feature them as our first 2024 Library of the Month. USCMRL’s Volunteer Reference/Research Librarian and Cavalry Journal Editor Samuel Young was kind enough to answer my questions this month. Here’s what he had to say:

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

The U.S. Cavalry Memorial Research Library (USCMRL) is a key part of the U.S. Cavalry Association (USCA) (a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization). It serves as the repository of U.S. Cavalry archives, biographies, books, flags, histories, interviews, journals, manuals, manuscripts, microfilm, papers, periodicals, pictures, and other spoken, digital, and written materials. The USCMRL is totally a research and reference library.

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

The USCMRL is located on the north side of old Fort Reno, which is on the western edge of El Reno, OK. The old fort is also the home of the Grazinglands Research Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cheyenne-Arapaho Tribal lands include the area around El Reno. Thus, we have expanded the library’s collection of books on those tribes, to include Indian culture and language—spoken, written, and sign language.

Because Fort Reno was a cavalry & infantry post for thirty years, then, for forty years, a U.S. Army remount depot, the library’s archives have material on those seventy years and of some of the local civilians who worked there.

The cavalry community resides all over the world. Thus, the USCMRL is designed to be accessed digitally with digital responses. If it is a book we have, they should be able to get it through their local library or purchase it from their local bookstore or online.

The library section of the USCA website offers access to many of the items in the USCMRL repository as well as other cavalry resource sites.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

*Sample items from the online catalog pictured above. Full LibraryThing catalog can be found here.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Like most small libraries, space for the library’s collections. But we are managing it very well with our two volunteer staff: an archivist and a reference/research librarian.

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

LibraryThing is AWESOME! The cataloged books can be accessed via our website which makes it available to any and all researchers, especially since it links the books to Amazon for the additional and very helpful information found there! We have no recommended changes for TinyCat.

Want to learn more about the USCMRL?

Visit their website at https://uscavalryassociation.org/library/, explore their full TinyCat collection here, and their LibraryThing catalog 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 20th, 2023

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: Centre A

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month features a unique art gallery in Canada, Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art. The Centre’s Interim Artistic Director Diane Hau Yu Wong was kind enough to field my questions this month. Here are her thoughtful replies about their work:

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

Centre A: Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is a leading public art gallery currently situated in the heart of Vancouver’s Chinatown, on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. It is a registered charity and the only public art gallery in Canada dedicated to contemporary Asian and Asian-diasporic perspectives since 1999.

Centre A is committed to providing a platform for engaging diverse communities through public access to the arts, creating mentorship opportunities for emerging artists and arts professionals, and stimulating critical dialogue through provocative exhibitions and innovative public programs that complicate understandings of migrant experiences and diasporic communities.

The reading room and library at Centre A (pictured left) began in 1999 with contributions from artists, researchers, and curators both locally in Vancouver and internationally. The reading room emerged out of the need to collect a body of literature on Asian art practices, and by extension creating transnational ties with international arts communities. Past curators at Centre A have made significant contributions in collecting publications that reflect and engage in conversations concerning contemporary Asian and Asian diasporic art practices, and the artistic relationships between North America and Asia.

Centre A’s reading room includes the Fraser Finlayson Collection of rare books on Classical Chinese and Japanese Art with publications dating back to the late 19th century. Included in the reading room are also recent publications that have been donated by galleries, artists and artists collectives, and curators. In addition, we house monographs, artist ephemera, exhibition catalogues, art criticism writings, and artist’s books that have contributed to the diverse livelihood and possibilities of the reading room as a site of cultural production. Some publications in the reading room include books by Ai Weiwei, Santiago Bose, Yayoi Kusama, Mona Hatoum, Reena Saimi Kallat, as well as other notable artists.

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

Centre A activate our library space through a number of public programs, for example in 2022 we hosted our inaugural Art Writing Mentorship where we provided 8 Asian-Canadian youths the opportunity to learn from established writers, editors, artists, and curators in a professional setting, while receiving exclusive networking opportunities, mentorship, supervision, and feedback on their writing. We also participate in Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon every year, often including resources from our library. As part of the A+F, we also host workshops and reading groups, panel discussions, and artist talks. 

We also welcome community members to come visit the library and encourage students to spend time in the space during our opening hours.

That’s quite a rich array of offerings, I’m guessing your collection reflects much of the same quality. Do you have any particular favorites in your collection?

My personal favourite item in our collection is an exhibition catalogue from the Vancouver Art Gallery titled The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture. I do research on the potentiality of different iterations of futurisms, including Asian Futurism, Afrofuturism, Indigenous Futurism, and more. Discussion of cyborgs is very prominent in Asian Futurism and The Uncanny is a very important text in that research.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

At the moment, we do not have a system or staff capacity that allows us to lend out books; I would like to change that in the next 5 years.

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

My favorite thing about TinyCat is how easy it is to use! It creates a system in which we can easily manage our wide range of books on Asian and Asian diasporic art and make it easily accessible for our audience. Keep up the good work!

Want to learn more about Centre A?

Visit Centre A’s Reading Room page at https://centrea.org/reading-room/ 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

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

TinyCat’s October Library of the Month: The National Railway Historical Society (Washington, D.C. Chapter)

Railfans, rejoice: October’s Library of the Month features the Washington, D.C. Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about their work from Volunteer Librarian Ralph R. Bitzer. Thanks to Ralph for fielding my questions this month:

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

We are the Washington, DC Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society, Inc. Our chapter was founded in 1944. We currently are one of the largest chapters in the Society. The chapter is a volunteer not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. The Martin F. O’Rourke library was opened to the public on September 22, 2007. The library is named in memory of longtime member and former Chapter President Martin F. O’Rourke. The library is located in the base of the former Pennsylvania Railroad Bowie Tower (pictured below), which is now part of the Bowie Railroad Museum complex including the tower, a freight station, passenger shelter, railroad caboose and visitor center. The museum complex is located in the historic district of Bowie, MD adjacent to the Washington DC-New York Amtrak rail corridor (formerly Pennsylvania Railroad).

Our mission is to provide information about railroading both from historical and current perspectives. Our emphasis is on railroads originating from the eastern United States. However, with over 1200 volumes on railroading and many hundreds of railroading magazines we cover the railroad industry from many regions and perspectives both in the U.S and many foreign countries. We also have a selection of books for children to learn about and enjoy railroading.

Photo courtesy of Ralph Bitzer.

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

The library is open to the public through the City of Bowie Museum group and can be accessed Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm to 4:00pm. We are a research library only and do not have a book lending program. However, we have many members in our organization who can help with research on railroad topics. 

We have open houses to our library several times a year for the public. One of the major events we have been doing for many years with the City of Bowie Museum group is Trainspotting Day on the Sunday in November after Thanksgiving. This is the busiest train operation day in the year on the AMTRAK Washington DC-New York City rail corridor. There are many areas around the museum complex where visitors can watch trains and then learn more about them in the library and museum exhibits.
We also participate in the Old Bowie Community Festival. The library is open and staffed by our volunteers. We have book sales to the public to enable learning about railroads and to help raise money for library projects.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Photo courtesy of Ralph Bitzer.

We have an extensive collection of Baltimore & Ohio Railroad employee magazines which give a very good perspective on railroading from the early 1900’s through the 1950’s, what railroad life was like for employees over a period of many years, and how things have changed.Extensive and in-depth histories on both the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. These were two of the primary railroads in Washington DC and Maryland.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Space limitations. Expansion is difficult because of the amount of room space in the lower section of the tower in our present location. We must limit books that can be added to the permanent collection. We are storing books for possible future inclusion offsite in some of the chapter’s railroad equipment. These are not accessible to the public.

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

Overall, we find the program easy to use and provide information in a logical and usable reporting system. We would like better instructions for creating Excel or CSV worksheets from data files.

Thanks so much for the feedback. You can export your library catalog in various formats from LibraryThing’s More > Import/Export page (including Excel and .tsv format), but I can certainly help guide you with additional formatting you might want.

Want to learn more about DCNRHS?

Visit their website at https://dcnrhs.org/, follow them on YouTube and Facebook, 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, September 29th, 2023

TinyCat’s September Library of the Month: DANK Haus German American Cultural Center

I had the pleasure of interviewing a wonderful cultural center for TinyCat’s Library of the Month, the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center based out of Chicago. Cultural Director Sarah Matthews was kind enough to field my questions this month. She didn’t hesitate to give much praise to volunteer librarian Chris Graves, who spends time every week helping out at the library! Here’s what they shared about their work:

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

The DANK Haus German American Cultural Center’s mission “is to preserve and promote German culture, heritage, and language through maintaining a center consisting of a museum, art gallery, library, and language school, and organizing educational and social programming focusing on and emphasizing the history, traditions, and contributions of Germans and German Americans.” The DANK Haus library is one important element of our center, and features a variety of German literature, both fiction and nonfiction. The books in our library are written in German and accommodate young adult and adult readers.

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

Another aspect of the DANK Haus is our school, or Kinderschule, where we offer children’s classes and adult language classes, and our library has the opportunity and ability to directly support our school. While the library on our fourth floor contains our young adult and adult literature, our children’s books are located on the third floor where the school classrooms are, so students can have these resources readily available to them. However, you do not need to be enrolled in the school to use our library! Anyone is welcome to not only visit the library, but check out books when interested.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love that our collection is tailored to a wide range of genres and reading levels. We offer books for a younger audience such as Schöneli und Schlau, which is a short chapter book that features small illustrations. I also appreciate our selection of cookbooks in German, like Brot und Brötchen. This way readers can not only explore the German language, but German culture, as well. Lastly, I am glad we have a nice selection of German language, grammar, and vocabulary books on hand for people to use, especially since a portion of our visitors and members are learning German through our school.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Currently, our in person engagement in the library is low. Groups pre-COVID-19 pandemic regularly used the space for library and language related events, but establishing that type of gathering has been difficult to accomplish again. DANK Haus would love to establish more regular, consistent hours of operation for the library, and offer more events in our space to allow for a wider audience to be reached and for our library resources to be used more frequently!

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

I really appreciate the ease and accessibility TinyCat offers. Especially for people who maybe don’t frequent library cataloging systems and online databases often, TinyCat’s cataloging system is easy to use, and people with varying technological skill sets can effectively search for what they are looking for. On that note, however, Chris, our weekly volunteer librarian at the center suggested one improvement could be to add a help link to show people how to search for books using the catalog, just in case visitors prefer to learn from specific, written instructions.

That’s a great suggestion. We have a Help page for patrons here, in the Help Wiki, but perhaps we should automatically show that within TinyCat. You can always link to it from your Homepage, if you’d like. I hope this helps!

Want to learn more about DANK Haus?

Visit their website at https://dankhaus.com/Library-Research, 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, August 18th, 2023

TinyCat’s August Library of the Month: The Monell Chemical Senses Center Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is all about the senses of taste and smell: introducing the Monell Chemical Senses Center Library! Associate Member and Chair of the Library Committee Danielle Reed, Ph.D., was kind enough to field my questions about the fascinating work their library assists with:

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

Our library supports a non-profit research institution called the Monell Chemical Senses Center. To unpack what our name means, Monell refers to the family that contributed to our institution’s founding and continues to support us through the Monell Foundation. The ‘chemical senses’ part of our name refers to taste and smell, which allow us to sense chemicals in our environment, on our tongue (taste) and noses (smell). We are a Center because we are the only institution in the world devoted solely to studying taste and smell. Our mission is basic research, which you can learn when you open a textbook, and clinical research, which has immediate practical benefits, such as testing a new way to treat smell loss. Our mission is important because while taste and smell do not get the same attention as vision and hearing, the loss of these senses with COVID-19 made many people more aware of their value. Many people regain these senses as they recover, but some people have not. 

What relevant timing for your work. Can you tell us some other interesting things about how your library supports the community?

We are a ‘subject library’ meaning that we only have material relevant to taste and smell, and we have early “hard to find” journals like Chemical Senses and technical reports from industrial groups like the Sugar Foundation. We also have dissertations from people who were among the first scientists to work at Monell, as well as books and conference proceedings. We even have a small cache of children’s books focusing on taste and smell. 

We are an appointment-only library, and while I care about books, I am not a trained librarian – but I know enough to help the scholars who want to come and work in our library and get professional help with cataloging. I am especially proud that I helped Nadia Berenstein (http://nadiaberenstein.com/about-me) find materials for her dissertation about flavor and flavor chemistry.

How very cool! Do you have any particular favorite items in your collection?

My favorite item in our collection is a book called Genetics of Perception and Communication, about why and how individuals differ in their taste and smell perception. Members of a species, from bacteria to humans, use chemicals to communicate, e.g., bacteria secrete chemicals called quorum-sensing molecules to let other bacteria know it is safe to expand and grow (or not), mice communicate their health and sexual status in their urine, and humans use chemicals in many ways to communicate, either consciously or unconsciously. This book has chapters written by scientists who are experts in their area, and it covers species from invertebrates, mice, rats, and humans. I love it because it is a rare book on an underappreciated topic. 

Your library clearly hosts a rich array of resources around taste and smell. Is there a particular challenge that your library experiences?

One challenge for our library is to keep our mission focused on taste and smell and ensure that we have a comprehensive collection but don’t amass books that are not directly in our topic area. We get many book donations, especially from retiring scientists, and while many books are a fit for our subject site, many are tangential. Another challenge is figuring out what to do with these just-miss books and where to donate them so that they do the maximum good for scholars and others interested in them. 

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

Our favorite thing about TinyCat is that it does the job we need at a price point we can afford, and we would love to see it expand to do archive cataloging. We are preserving documents of enduring value, especially those from our creation and early history, and TinyCat does not have archive features, e.g., Omeka.

You can already catalog custom media using LibraryThing’s existing fields—putting the name of an item or artifact in the “Title” field, adding tags or reviews as needed, etc.—and you can organize them under the “Media” field. See our blog post on cataloging custom materials for more information on this process. That said, we can certainly discuss anything further that you’d like to see! I appreciate the feedback.

Want to learn more about the Monell Chemical Senses Center?

Visit their website at https://monell.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

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: Les Fruits de Mer’s Soualibra Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month goes to a wonderful non-profit, Les Fruits de Mer‘s Soualibra Library, which is focused on educating the public about all things St. Martin. (St. Martin is the northern French side of the Caribbean island shared with its southern Dutch counterpart, Sint Maarten.) Being a personal repeat visitor to the island, myself, I was thrilled to interview the association’s co-founder and volunteer Mark for this month’s questions:

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

Les Fruits de Mer is a non-profit association based on the island of St. Martin. Our mission is to provide education on local nature, heritage and culture. We have a free museum, Amuseum Naturalis. We also publish books about local subjects. One of our goals is to give a book to every student on the island every year they are in school. To do this, we’ve been developing books for all ages on a range of local subjects. Last year we gave away over 7,500 books. All our books are also available as free downloads.

Volunteers at one of Soualibra’s local events.

What an incredible project! Can you tell us some other interesting things about how your library supports the community?

Our library is called Soualibra. It’s named after one of the Amerindian names for St. Martin, Soualiga. In 2017, Hurricane Irma destroyed all the libraries on the island. Because we had a museum, students were coming to us when they needed to do research. We decided to start Soualibra as a research library. Our collection is focused on books about St. Martin. 

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We have quite a few books by Lasana M. Sekou and other local poets that are currently out of print. They are a really great window into the cultural life of the island before I lived here. And really enjoyable. Ideally, they would all be back in print, but at least we have copies available to people who are interested. 

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We would love to have every book about St. Martin, but some of the older ones are very hard to find. On the other hand, we have managed to track down many older books, even ones with very small local printings. This is one thing that motivated us to publish books, because they do survive. It’s the best way to ensure information is still accessible in 100 years.

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

I love that it is easy to use and for most books I can scan the barcode to add them. I don’t know if I need any new features, since we probably only use a fraction of the current capabilities. We have book clubs and a lot of book lovers on St. Martin and I wish there were more local reviews of local books. I am always looking for someone interested in reading and writing about St. Martin books and it would be great to integrate those local reviews into the catalog.

We could always consider allowing internal reviews for TinyCat libraries, down the line, thanks for your feedback!

Want to learn more about the Soualibra Library and Les Fruits de Mer?

Visit the library’s website at http://soualibra.com/, Les Fruits de Mer’s website at https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/ (with all of their published books at https://www.lesfruitsdemer.com/resources/books/), 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

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: The Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is the Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The library’s namesake, Nancy, is past National President of PFLAG and current President of PFLAG Tulsa. I had the pleasure of learning more about the library from Library Director Michelle Simmons, who was kind enough to answer my questions this month:

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

The Dennis R. Neill Equality Center in Tulsa, OK

The Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library was started by Nancy McDonald to provide a place for her daughter to be able to find LGBT resources after she “came out.” Since Nancy began her equal rights work, the library has grown from a place that houses a smattering of books to a collection of almost 4,000 volumes. In the past year, and especially the past few months, the library has gone from being a more passive resource on the second floor of the Dennis R. Neill Equality Center, to an active voice in creating and preserving access to 2SLGBTQIAA+ materials to the greater community.

Can you tell us more about how your library supports the community?

I love getting to bring books to different groups of people that would otherwise not know of the library’s existence. Or, if they did know, didn’t have easy access to it physically. I’ve connected with a local—and one of the few remaining—GSAs (Genders & Sexualities Alliances), and I bring an assortment of books for them to check out every couple of weeks. Another amazing event was the Banned Book service at All Souls Unitarian Church last year. A record number of people attended that service, and the library was set up right outside the entry doors. So every single person who attended that service had the opportunity to learn about the library.

That’s great exposure! Speaking of your library, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

I love some of the older gems, for example: And God Bless Uncle Harry and His Roommate Jack Who We Are Not Supposed to Talk About and Lesbian Etiquette. As far as books that impacted me personally, Stone Butch Blues ranks at the top. 

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We are needing to remove all the labels on the books and relabel them. There have been a few cataloging systems put into place over the years, and we are wanting to standardize and modernize it, as well as make it look uniform and professional. Peeling labels off of 3,000 books takes a lot of time, and since we are 100% volunteer-run (including myself), it is taking a very long time. However, once we are done, it will be so much easier to label books for different locations as we open them up and keep track of what we have. 

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat?

100% the online capability for us. Before, people would have to come into the Center and go upstairs to find things in the library. Now they can search from their own devices. What would help us out a lot is the ability to modify genres and add our own. We are relying on tags and collections to sort books by age range, interest, and segment of the community; and honestly, it’s a little overwhelming.

That’s great feedback, thanks. You can already edit your own Genres on LibraryThing itself, and I’m hoping that we can soon bring individual Genres through TinyCat as well. If you want to add brand new Genres, please let us know what you’re looking for on Talk!

Want to learn more about the Nancy & Joe McDonald Rainbow Library?

Visit their website at http://okeq.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, April 13th, 2023

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Traveling Library CCTX

This month I had the pleasure of interviewing a traveling nonprofit library in Texas working to get more books in the hands of readers who need them. And they just celebrated their 2nd birthday! Congratulations to The Traveling Library CCTX (Corpus Christi, TX). Here’s what their Founder and Executive Director Abigail Trevino had to say about the library:

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

The Traveling Library CCTX is exactly how it sounds! We’re a traveling library! A library on wheels! A bookmobile! These are all things that we have been called and have loved. It doesn’t matter how people describe us because the mission has always been the same. Our mission is to provide access to knowledge, encourage the exercise of rights, provide inclusion in society, and freedom for all. The Traveling Library provides knowledge to those in need by providing literature and other resources that are needed. The mission of The Traveling Library was inspired by my grandfather and uncle, who were both big supporters of education and reading.

What an inspiring story of origin! Can you tell us more about how your library supports the community?

The Traveling Library CCTX supports the community by providing literature to areas that might not have access to it. We accomplish this by bringing the traveling library that is fully stocked with books!

We also partner with other local organizations that can help us distribute other resources that are needed. For example, we partnered with a local organization that provides period hygiene products to people that need them at no cost. We bring these products with us when we are serving vulnerable populations such as the unhoused community. Another community partner is the Corpus Christi Hooks, our local double AA affiliate baseball team. Various staff from the CC Hooks will join us when we do story time at local schools. Sammy the Seagull is a fan favorite among the kids! 

How fun! Speaking of story time, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The Traveling Library CCTX is an intellectual freedom library meaning we carry and have all sorts of books. Because of this, I would say that some of my favorite books in our collection are our banned books, specifically Fahrenheit 451. I love the message the book conveys, and of course it doesn’t hurt that I love Ray Bradbury. The entire Judy Moody series is always one of my favorites: I loved those books as a kid! 

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Like any other nonprofit organization we struggle with finding the monetary donations that it takes to run this mobile library. A particular challenge that we are currently facing is not enough space! We currently operate out of a small cargo trailer and have too many books to fit inside. We’re currently trying to raise funds for the purchase of a much larger trailer that can hold a lot more books and serve more areas in our city! 

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat?

I love that TinyCat is easy to operate and the staff is very personable. Every time I have needed help, a staff member responds quickly and offers as much help as they can!

We’re so glad to help!

Want to learn more about The Traveling Library CCTX? 

Visit their website at https://www.thetravelinglibrarycctx.com/, follow them on Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest, 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, March 24th, 2023

TinyCat’s March Library of the Month: The Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Association

With warmer days on the horizon (at least for us Northern Hemisphere folks), this month’s spotlight features the library for The Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Association in New Zealand. The Association’s volunteer Webmaster and Librarian Peter Mitchell was kind enough to tell me more about what they do:

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

The Lake Rotoiti Classic & Wooden Boat Association (LRCWBA) are a community group that surround Lake Rotoiti (which means ‘small lake’ in Māori). There are two Rotoitis in New Zealand and ours is the North Island one. The group exists to coordinate fun social events and to gather and preserve vintage boats.

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

The group members can pull a book on a particular technical area such as restoring a clinker built hull or a 1950s inboard motor. That material would not be available in many places these days.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

LRCWBA’s volunteer Webmaster / Librarian Peter Mitchell and his boat.

The library has starry picture books, heroic high seas tales and technical manuals on motors and restorations.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We need our members to engage with it a bit more, but this is just a marketing task. Basically me, the librarian, talking to each member about what they can contribute and what they can get from the library.

What’s your favorite thing about TinyCat?

I love the way TinyCat backs into a few different book catalogues and can pull data across to speed up the creation of the catalogue.

Want to learn more about the LRCWBA? 

Visit their website at https://www.woodenboatparade.co.nz/, follow them on Facebook, 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, January 20th, 2023

TinyCat’s January Library of the Month: The Centre for Family Literacy

We’re kicking off the New Year right with an amazing literacy organization founded in 1980 and based in Alberta, Canada. Congrats to the Centre for Family Literacy! Tutor Program Lead Sharon Smith and Literacy Specialist Genevieve Litwin were kind enough to tell me all about their organization and library for this month’s feature:

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

The Centre for Family Literacy is a nonprofit organization that works towards a healthy, literate society where all are able to contribute and succeed. Our mission is to empower people, strengthen communities, and transform lives through literacy. In partnerships with community agencies, we support thousands of adults and children each year.

We offer programs that participants can attend with their family, as well as ones they can attend on their own. Our family programs help parents and caregivers support their children’s early language and literacy development, while working on their own literacy skills. Programs just for adults include group classes and tutoring, and are designed to help adults build the basic reading, writing, math, and digital skills needed to function in today’s world.

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

The Adult Learners Library is an extension of the Centre for Family Literacy’s Tutor Program, and is committed to providing our volunteer tutors with the resources they need when they need them.

In this program, adults work with other adults in safe and supportive settings to develop literacy skills and strategies that will help them achieve their goals. Our programs offer meaningful and relevant activities to connect learning to real life—work, family, community—in fun and practical ways.

From one of our tutors: 

“Half-way through one of my lessons, my learner stopped me and said, ‘You are the best teacher I’ve ever had. I am so used to being rushed and yelled at when I get answers wrong, or am confused on the topics, but I feel very comfortable with you. I am so glad to have you as my teacher because you’re so nice and I actually feel like I am learning.’ I felt so proud and honoured to be trusted by my learner; it is an amazing feeling knowing they are motivated to learn as well.”

Our library supports this program by providing free physical resources for tutors and learners. Our tutors meet with their learners both in person as well as online for remote learning. Our large nonfiction section primarily features teaching materials and workbooks that focus on topics such as basic reading and writing skills, vocabulary building, math skills, and learning English as an additional language. We also have study resources for the GED exam, language exams (e.g. IELTS), and applying for Canadian Citizenship.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We love The Active Reader workbooks, published by Grass Roots Press. They provide levelled stories based on different themes, and include decoding and comprehension activities that encourage learners to become active readers. We also love high-interest, low-vocabulary fiction such as the Photostories by Grass Roots Press, and the Rapid Reads fiction collection published by Orca Book Publishers. All of these are great Canadian resources!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

In 2020, due to the pandemic, all of our in person programs temporarily moved online. Since then, we have been able to offer hybrid programming where we offer both in person and online programming for families and adults. Many tutors and learners continue to meet primarily online using distance learning tools. This means there has been less demand for our library books. For that reason, we find promoting our library and increasing its use to be challenging!

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

We would love to see the ability to add multiple copies to the same record. Many of our items have multiple copies and tutor-learner pairs often sign out the same book. It would be great to have that all together instead of in multiple records. 

We love the affordability of TinyCat and how user-friendly it is. We especially love the way this has made our library catalog accessible remotely!

Thanks for the feedback on copies management, I can certainly understand the struggle. We’ll be sure to announce any updates regarding such a feature!

Want to learn more about the Centre for Family Literacy? 

Visit their website at https://famlit.ca/, follow them on YouTube 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

Saturday, December 17th, 2022

TinyCat’s December Library of the Month: The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach

Allow yourself to be virtually transported to the warm climate of Palm Beach, Florida, a beautiful town home to Florida’s first all-native botanical garden, the first schoolhouse in southeast Florida (founded in 1886), and two archival collections housed in a gorgeously architected climate-controlled vault. All of these spaces are fostered by the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, whose library we feature this month. Archives Assistant Amanda Capote was kind enough to field my questions for this fascinating space:

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

Founded in 1980, the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach is dedicated to preserving the architectural and cultural heritage and the unique scenic quality of the Town of Palm Beach.  Through advocacy initiatives, educational programs, architectural resources, and cultural events, the Foundation’s goal is to encourage the community to learn about and save the historic sites that make Palm Beach special.

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

The library houses a circulating collection of books and periodicals on topics such as architecture, historic preservation, gardening, landscape architecture, urban planning, and local history. The Foundation’s library also hosts periodic museum exhibits which celebrate the lives and works of prominent Palm Beach architects, designers, and residents whose contributions to the beauty of the island are still evident today. The library complements the Foundation’s archival collections and promotes historic preservation advocacy and education initiatives.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Some of my favorite items are found in our Palm Beach section which captures the charm and quirkiness of the island. Caroline Seebohm’s Boca Rococo is a great read and contains valuable research on architect Addison Mizner.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Our library is a multi-function space as we hold events and lectures, display archive materials, and host specialty exhibits throughout the season. Balancing all these functions can be challenging but it makes the space unique.

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

I’m fairly new to TinyCat but so far I’m very impressed with how user friendly it is. I really enjoy the tagging system which I use to label our books by sections.

Want to learn more about the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach?

Visit their website at https://www.palmbeachpreservation.org/, follow them on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, 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, October 21st, 2022

TinyCat’s October Library of the Month: The Women’s Museum of California

This month we’re proud to highlight the Women’s Museum of California (WMC), based out of San Diego and offering a Free Feminist Library to the public every first Saturday of the month. WMC’s Marketing Director Melissa Jones was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The mission of the Women’s Museum of California is to educate and inspire present and future generations about the experiences and contributions of diverse women by collecting, preserving, and interpreting their stories.

Picture of the Women's Museum of California Education Center, a tall building facade with a high archway full of windows and glass doors. Facade is covered with a hanging display of pink flowers and a female gender symbol made of flowers.
WMC’s Educational Center containing their
Free Feminist Library.

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

Our library fills the gaps in our education when it comes to learning about the contributions and accomplishments of women. The library houses books by women authors, with particular attention to frequently banned or challenged books, for the public to borrow. We encourage everyone, young and old, to pursue their dreams. The Women’s Museum of California gives people the opportunity to learn about women in history who paved the way for women’s lives today and tomorrow. By sharing the hidden histories of women’s experiences we combat the limits society places on women and recognize that despite the inequalities that women face across centuries they have become inventors, politicians, activists, artists, and military heroes.

That is simply wonderful! Speaking to the works you have in your library, what are some of your favorite items in your collection?

We love that we have a wide range of perspectives in our collection – not every woman has the same experience. From classic feminist books like Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique to more modern books like Michelle Obama’s Becoming we hope every woman can see themselves in the books on our shelves.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We are only open one day a month and we’d like to grow so more people can read the books in our collection.

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

TinyCat is affordable and easy to use. It was so easy to get our volunteers trained on how to use it. We would love a way for patrons to add themselves to the system so we can have a self-checkout system.

Great feedback, thanks! There are some workarounds libraries use so patrons can be added to the system remotely (discussed here), but we’ll be sure to announce any official changes on that front.

Want to learn more about the Women’s Museum of California?

Visit their website at https://www.womensmuseumca.org/, follow them on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter, 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, August 12th, 2022

TinyCat’s August Library of the Month: Green Bay Botanical Garden

This month we tip our gardening hats to the Green Bay Botanical Garden (GBBG)—yes, home of the Packers—as TinyCat’s Library of the Month. Linda Gustke, Director of Education & Guest Experience at GBBG, was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

Green Bay Botanical Garden’s mission statement is this: We connect people with plants by providing year-round educational and recreational experiences for everyone in an environment that engages, inspires and refreshes.

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

We love to be a resource for our gardening community! Our library has a wide variety of gardening books, as well as some DVD’s, for adults—from starting a garden, to garden design, landscaping, native plants, vegetable gardens, grasses, plant lore, even backyard chickens! We also have a Children’s Library that brings nature to life through stories about all that happens in the Garden—plants, animals, lifecycles, plant stories and more. We host a story time each Tuesday morning with stories from the Children’s Library, and the library is especially utilized by families visiting the Garden during the summertime.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

In our adult section, I love the books by Amy Stewart: Wicked Bugs, Wicked Plants, The Drunken Botanist. In our kids section, it’s hard to pick a favorite, they’re all so great!

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We continue to run out of space in our building for our staff, and that means the library gets relocated and underutilized. It has such great resources that we would love to make it more widely available, but it’s been difficult to devote the staff time to it to really make it more usable for the community.

Hopefully having an online catalog makes your library’s visibility just a little bit easier! Speaking of TinyCat, what’s your favorite thing about TinyCat, and what’s something you’d love to see implemented or developed?

We love that it has brought our collection online and it makes it easy for guests and members to check out books! I haven’t worked with it as closely yet (our staff member that got it up and running recently left) so I don’t have suggestions for things I’d like to see implemented or developed at this time.

Want to learn more about GBBG?

Visit their website at https://gbbg.org/, follow them on Facebook / Instagram / Twitter, 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, July 19th, 2022

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: The Maurice Ritz Resource Center

TinyCat’s Library of the Month is a rather timely one: Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin’s Community Library, the Maurice Ritz Resource Center. I interviewed the Center’s Resource and Training Specialist Anne Brosowsky-Roth who was kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

The Maurice Ritz Resource Center is the Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Community Library. It was founded in 1972 with seed money donated by a board member. It is Wisconsin’s only library dedicated to human sexuality and sex education. Housed in the Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin Milwaukee headquarters, it provides materials and resources for parents, educators, health care providers, social workers, case managers, youth workers, and others working to improve their capacity when addressing sexuality with their own children, students, patients, clients, and participants. 

The collection includes over 3,000 books, curricula, and audiovisuals. The resource center also houses a non-circulating research collection of historical materials relating to human sexuality dating from the 19th century onward.

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

We are the only library in Wisconsin that specializes in human sexuality. We have a variety of unique holdings, including a section dedicated to sex education for people with disabilities. Our library offers resources and support for families who need to have conversations they might never have expected to need to have for their children with unique needs, like supporting kids with sensory differences coping with puberty, or people with cognitive disabilities navigating relationships.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My personal favorite items are historical sex guides and manuals that live in our archival collection. They really open a window to the ways sex, sexuality, and gender have evolved in the United States over the last 100 years or so. One of my favorites was a book written for newlywed young husbands in the late 1800s, which includes “everything” he needs to know about marriage—except for intercourse. (Though it does contain “scientific” evidence about the importance of having separate beds lest couples become too overcome with passion.)

Another is a script for a radio program from the 1950s, which role-modeled ways parents could incorporate instruction about sex using everyday teachable moments. A mother tells her daughter about menstruation as they bake together. A father explains the facts of life when a neighbor’s dog has puppies. And there is this conversational lead in to a conversation about wet dreams…

FATHER: (THE CAREFUL LEAD-IN) You know, Bob, you’re getting to be a pretty big fellow! Yes sir – maybe this is a good idea. Chance for us to have a little talk.

BOB: Why sure, Dad. What’s cookin’?

FATHER: Mind if I smoke in your room?

BOB: (PLEASED AT BEING ASKED) Why, no, Dad. Go ahead!

FATHER: Thanks. Your mother will probably have a fit. She just had the curtains washed. (PUFFS AS HE LIGHTS PIPE…BOB CHUCKLES THROUGH PUFFS) Remember the last time we talked about this old body of ours, Bob?…

Sex, stereotypes, and smoking, all in one tiny piece of dialogue. It doesn’t get much better than that.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a library within a larger organization, we have bounced around through different departments over the years. When we began, we were housed within community education, as we supported our staff educators who would provide programming to the public. When our organization experienced budget cuts that eliminated educational programming, we were moved into patient services, to support a program that supported nurse practitioners (NPs) working on their certification. When our state required NPs to get a degree through an accredited university, we were moved into development. It’s been a constant struggle to explain the reasons for continuing to support and value the maintenance of a library.

That seems to be a constant struggle for too many small libraries! 

Switching gears a bit: as a supporter of small libraries, ourselves, can you tell us your favorite thing about TinyCat, and also something you’d love to see implemented/developed?

TinyCat was revolutionary for us. We are very small, in terms of the size of our collection and our budget. One staff person oversees the library, and that is not their primary role. Until a few years ago, everything was done on paper—acquisitions records, materials processing, I even hand-typed cards and book labels. This made access difficult for all but a few dedicated users. Since the library serves staff at 23 different sites, and most of the public that uses our library doesn’t live in our region, there was no way for them to browse or access the collection. 

While we knew an OPAC was always the gold standard, there was no way we could afford access with our tiny budget. TinyCat was a game changer. The low cost combined with an easy-to-use interface for the first time meant that people could access our materials in the same way they might look things up at their local library. Even for people unfamiliar with doing searches, I can just send them a link to search results. It has made acquisitions easier as well. We have a very niche collection—it’s easy to see what other similar collections contain and add that might be of interest to our users.

I would love to see a robust circulation option built in—that could be used to solicit and track patrons.

Great suggestion. While we don’t (yet) have a way for you to message patrons within TinyCat en masse, you can add/import/track your patrons and their circulation data, and we will continue to make improvements to the system as we grow. Thanks for your feedback!

Want to learn more about the Maurice Ritz Resource Center? 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, 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

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month: The Gnomon Library & Learning Resource Center

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

TinyCat’s November Library of the Month is one that I have admired for years from afar, and I’m so glad that Library Director Lucy Bellamy was able to take my questions this month. I hope you enjoy reading about the Library & Learning Resources at Gnomon’s School of Games, Visual Effects & Animation in Hollywood, California as much as I did:

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

The Gnomon Library boasts an attractive space for study and digital creation.

My name is Lucy Bellamy. I am the Director, Library & Learning Resources at Gnomon’s School of Games, Visual Effects & Animation in Hollywood, California. I came to Gnomon to help build their library from the ground up when the college was accredited to offer their first Bachelor of Art program. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not many librarians experience. Gnomon is an accredited technical college that offers bachelors programs, a two-year certificate program, Foundation in Art & Design courses, as well as individual courses for career professionals wanting to enhance their industry skills.

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

The Gnomon Library is part academic and part special library. The collections support Gnomon’s programs and courses first, as well as inspire the creativity of our community of digital artists. While our collections include traditional books, ebooks, print and digital magazines, resources commonly found in most other libraries, there is also a diverse collection of art objects which our students use as reference for course work. These include vintage cameras, light fixtures, skulls(!), and more.

Our collection was started with donations from instructors, working digital artists, and industry publishers. The resources being donated were those that the donors found helpful, even inspirational to their professional development. In many ways, I viewed their donations as a demonstration of their support of our students looking to join their industry in the future.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Real-life skulls, used as artistic references, peek out of the shelves at the Gnomon Library.

That’s a tough question. With so many unique objects in the collection, I think my favorite thing is the 19th century volume set of Encyclopedia Britannica published in 1877. It was originally added for its visual value because the texture of the covers is so unique. Students reference textures to re-create various surfaces in the digital space, thus this part of the collection is used not only for what is in the encyclopedia — as an information resource — but for the actual cover. When any audience appreciates a text, it is exciting, but when an audience values a text, it’s structure, and studies in the same way, it is exhilarating. I have consulted and referenced one or more of the volumes during library instruction sessions specifically for our art history and cultural studies courses, and it is wonderful to share this asset.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

One challenge has been maintaining a print collection of current resources for the different software programs students are learning. Because of publishing lead times, often once a (software) book is published it may be outdated because the software has been updated which then can compromise the value of the information. Simply, our specific technology is dynamic to the point of any given new resource which may be obsolete within months post-publishing.

What we’ve done to address that concern is create catalog records that are discoverable in our online catalog (TinyCat) embedded with a link to the learning resource pages of the different software companies. This access point offers students a connection to the most up-to-date information including reference documentation and tutorials for the programs they are learning and will be using when they work in the industry.

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

Prior to using TinyCat, I had NO experience with cataloging nor an understanding of the “back end” of a library management system. That quickly changed when the new library needed one. Of the different vendors considered, only LibraryThing and TinyCat seemed promising for what our library needed, and my learning curve. The platform is easy to use, understand, and navigate. More importantly, our students and faculty use TinyCat’s online catalog to connect with the resources they need when they need it.

What I’d like to see as a future tool? Perhaps a WYSIWYG “call out message box” that will display on the online catalog home page. Maybe it could be an option included under the “Content to show underneath the search box” category on the general TinyCat Admin “Settings” page. Something that would allow users to post quick messages like “Good luck with finals!” or “Return your books before the end of the term!”

Great feedback! You may be able to add something like this via the Custom JavaScript feature in your Content Settings, though this would show up on every page in your TinyCat rather than just the Homepage. Check it out here, just in case!

Want to learn more about the Gnomon Library? 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, September 27th, 2021

TinyCat’s September Library of the Month: The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute

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

I had the pleasure of interviewing Christine, who is the Librarian at one of the oldest athenaeums in New Zealand—the Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute—this past month. Christine was gracious enough to answer my questions during the nation’s latest COVID-19 lockdown (a big thanks!):

The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute in the 1930’s.

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

We are The Dunedin Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute, a subscription library established in 1851 by the Scottish settlers who founded the city of Dunedin in New Zealand in 1848. They held the strong Scottish belief that education was the key to prosperity and that knowledge was something to be obtained at all stages of life. Once they had weathered the first year of erratic food supplies and the privations of primitive shelters they turned their attentions to the higher things of life and founded an Athenaeum library with the remit to entertain and educate. They also established a Mechanics’ Institute to provide a more vocational education. Ten years on each organisation decided their aims overlapped to such a degree that merging would be sensible. The Athenaeum & Mechanics’ Institute prospered and quickly faced a seemingly eternal problem of moving to larger premises only to then almost immediately outgrow them. In 1870 they moved into a purpose built building in the Octagon, the centre of the city’s civic life, where it remains.

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

Although we predominantly operate as a lending library we record a fortnightly radio show where I review the new books into the library and discuss any topics that have caught my interest. It is called Wireless Books and is broadcast by Otago Access Radio 105.4 FM. We host a monthly book group, the Athenaeum Book Club or ABC. Every Tuesday we hold an open lunchtime event where I read short stories by New Zealand writers. We also host various literary events. Dunedin has City of Literature status within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network and the Athenaeum has a close relationship with the City of Literature coordinator.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Victorian-style archways within the library.

It is not strictly an item in the collection but the thing we most value is the building in which we’re located. It was purpose built for us in the grand Victorian style and we have been operating there since May 1870.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As we are a subscription library the biggest hurdle we face is convincing people in the internet age that it is value for money to pay a small subscription to gain the services of a dedicated librarian who comes to know their reading tastes and caters to them.

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

I love watching the animated cover display, I find it mesmerising. I think it would be really helpful to have a showcase function where people looking at your collection could select that and see a selection of books that you wanted to showcase. For us it would duplicate the shelf we have in the Athenaeum that holds the newest books and where most members make all their selections from.

Great suggestion! While we do allow you to show your animated cover display by “Recent items”, we have had some requests on giving more customization to the display.


Want to learn more about the Dunedin Athenaeum? Check out their Facebook Group, 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.

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

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

TinyCat’s July Library of the Month: The Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas

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

Astronomy is for stargazers, dreamers, explorers, scientists, astronauts (obviously), and really anyone who has ever been interested in or intrigued by the universe. I’m definitely one of those individuals, and this month I had the pleasure of interviewing Kelley Miller at the Texas Astronomical Society (TAS) of Dallas, who volunteers her time as the TAS Librarian, to learn more about their library:

Who are you, and what is your mission—your “raison d’être”? Tell us some interesting things about how your library supports the community.

This is the library for the Texas Astronomical Society of Dallas (TAS), chartered in 1955 to promote the study of astronomy and related fields and to pursue observation and construction of instruments as a hobby. Members can check out books related to any part of the hobby they might be interested in, such as astronomical observing, astrophotography, general astronomy knowledge and history. Books have been donated by members or book authors (some of which are members!). We currently have 730 titles in the library, some with multiple copies. We have approximately 50 books that reside at our dark sky site/observatory in southeast Oklahoma. The rest of the collection is kept in a dedicated library room at my home.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

My favorite items in the collection are some of the older books. It’s fascinating to see what was known about the universe 50 to 100 years ago and compare that to what we know now. I also really enjoy the many star atlases/maps and other books related to star lore and mythology.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

We don’t have a central location to house the collection. As a non-profit organization, we don’t have the funds to rent a space, and my house is about 45 minutes or more away from most other members. For now, the list of available books is in a spreadsheet hosted on the club’s website. However, the spreadsheet does not provide much information about the book beyond the title, authors’ names and subjects. Members can send an email to me (TAS Librarian) to request a book from the library, which is either mailed to the member or delivered in person at one of our monthly meetings (once they start again post-pandemic). I am in the process of adding the entire collection to TinyCat so that members can get more information about each title and request to check out a book. I am only about 25% complete with this project. Once this is complete, the next challenge is to maybe find a better location where members can peruse the books in person and check them out via TinyCat.

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

I love being able to add a picture of the book cover. In the library, I have each shelf labeled. I am able to put this in the Comments section, but it would be neat to have a dedicated field for shelf location to make it easier to find the book when someone wants to check it out. Our members are very technically savvy, so I think they are going to love the ability to see our library collection in an app and be able to check out books. I think it will also make it much easier to manage the library.

Great feedback. You could use your own custom call number system and LibraryThing’s “Call number” field to denote a book’s location in your library! Read our blog post here for more information. I hope this helps.


Want to learn more about the TAS of Dallas? Visit their website here, and check out their full TinyCat collection here.

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 kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

TinyCat’s June Library of the Month: Queer Zine Library

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

We celebrated Pride Month by interviewing an amazing mobile library fondly known as the Queer Zine Library (QZL). QZL Librarian Holly Casio was kind enough to field my questions, and it was a joy learning more about what they do. Check them out:

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

Queer Zine Library is a diy mobile library celebrating radical LGBTQIA+ self-publishing. The library is volunteer led and is run by a collective of queer zine makers and readers and librarians. In normal times the library is on tour nine months of the year, taking up space in community spaces, libraries, punk shows, queer venues, and anywhere we are invited. We believe that zines are powerful and should be shared, read, held, and handled as much as possible.

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

Queer Zine Library is first and foremost a resource for our LGBTQIA+ communities. Our histories and lived experiences are documented in these pamphlets, zines, and comics rather than in academic texts or ‘proper’ published works. Zines allow us to share our knowledge, skills, and experiences with others in our own voices and it has been wonderful to see readers connect with the collections. While not having a permanent space ourselves might feel like a disadvantage, we feel that being a mobile library gives us power. It avoids us becoming too London-centric, and means that our collections can travel and grow and are ultimately shaped by the next new location.

When we are in queer spaces we offer zine making sessions and zine readings as a way for our communities to engage with the zine collection but also create and add to it as well.We want our readers to become the makers and add to the collections as much as possible.

Over the last year supporting our queer communities has been more challenging as our tours were put on hold. We were due to host a zine maker in residency programme, we had a full tour planned, and suddenly travel and touch, the two things our library is based on, suddenly became dangerous. We moved online, hosting virtual zine readings and exhibitions. Our library catalogue became more important than ever before to showcase our collections and we were able to provide links to digital zines directly from our catalogue records to allow access to a small part of the collections during lockdown.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite zine! Here are a few of our collective’s favourites though:

Building towards an autonomous trans healthcare by Power Makes us Sick (PMS): PMS is a feminist collective focusing on autonomous health care practices and networks. This zine collects ideas, actions, and resources around autonomous trans health care. “Trans people have always been a network of health knowledge because trans healthcare has historically and is still criminalised, incredibly researched and pathologised. Therefore we turn to one another.”

Homospective by Homocrime: A zine produced on the occasion of Nomo Crime, the final event organised by the queer diy collective Homocrime. Homocrime was a diy indiepunk party and record label for queers of all genders & sexualities that happened in London from 2003-2006. This zine contains flyer & singles club images plus a list of events, press cuttings & contributions from organisers, bands, and attendees. The zine is dedicated to the memory of Andy Roberts, friend and collaborator.

Rumours by Margate Queer Zine: Rumours is an anonymous zine series sharing stories, anecdotes, photography, and maps of the queer side of Margate. Issue 1 reviews local gay pubs, drag bars, hotels, and sex shops.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Queer Zine Library is unfunded and volunteer-led which means that our activities depend on donations and fundraising. We are a very small collective and we all have full-time jobs, but the library means so much to all of us. Our dream is to have a mobile library van and maybe the ability to magically learn how to drive so that we can properly take these collections out for people to see and read where they belong.

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

TinyCat is very easy and intuitive to use. Some of our collective are trained library workers with cataloguing experience, but the majority of our collective haven’t worked with libraries previously. TinyCat makes it very easy for all our team to catalogue without it feeling overwhelming or complicated.

The tagging system is probably the most useful to us. Having the ability to separate the media type and the subject tags is really useful. All of our collections are in the form of zines and we can use the media drop-down to create lots of niche subgenres and formats of zines without us having to take up space in the tags to do this. Being able to build our own queer thesaurus in our subject tags is also really useful. In the future we’d love to see this feature developed so we can create ‘see’ and ‘see also’ links to non-preferred or similar headings.

Great suggestion, I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on this. We also have the “Comments” field (aka “Local notes” in TinyCat Detail Pages) that might be useful for added notes or content that you’d like to include on your records.


Want to learn more about Queer Zine Library? Follow them on Twitter and Instagram, visit their website here, and check out their full TinyCat collection here.

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 kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Friday, May 28th, 2021

TinyCat’s May Library of the Month: the Gal’s Guide Library

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

Our May Library of the Month goes to the first independent women’s history lending library in the U.S., the Gal’s Guide Library based out of Noblesville, Indiana! It was a joy to have Founder and Executive Director Leah Leach answer my questions this month:

Who are you, what is your mission—your “raison d’être”, and what’s something interesting about how you support your community?

We are the Gal’s Guide Library, and our mission is to provide an independent women’s history library to preserve, collect, share, and champion women’s achievements and lessons learned. We are also the first lending library in the United States dedicated to women’s history where you can browse the stacks and check out a book.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

Some of the favorite items in our collection are the out-of-print books that are nearly lost to history, Conchita’s Cintrón’s Memoirs of a Bullfighter, Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ autobiography This Life I’ve Led, and The Memoirs of Alice Guy Blaché (which invented the film Be Natural narrated by Jodie Foster). These three books really inspired us to create a library.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

Image clockwise from bottom left: Founder/Executive Director Leah Leach, the reading area of the library, shelves, more shelves, and a member’s card to the library.

The challenge in our library experience has been surviving the COVID-19 pandemic. We opened our doors to the public 11 days before the lockdown. We needed to pivot from a lending library to online content. It was a struggle but we found a way to thrive.

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

I don’t know if it’s silly or not but I love the animated cover display on the catalog homepage.

Not silly at all, I love the colorful eye candy on the TinyCat homepages as well!


Want to learn more about the Gal’s Guide Library? Follow them on social media (Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/YouTube), visit their website here, and check out their full TinyCat collection here.

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 kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat

Monday, April 26th, 2021

TinyCat’s April Library of the Month: The Pioneers Association of South Australia

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

Each year Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a division of the American Library Association, celebrates Preservation Week to highlight the importance of preservation. Many TinyCat libraries have preservation within their mission including TinyCat’s Library of the Month for April. The Pioneers Association of South Australia manages a historical library centered around the pioneers of South Australia. Two of the library’s volunteers Alison and Julie were kind enough to field my questions this month:

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

Founded in 1935, the Pioneers Association of South Australia is a volunteer-run members organisation committed to perpetuating the memory of the pioneer settlers of South Australia and promoting their unique history.

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

The library of Pioneers SA has a collection of approximately 1500 items including books, electronic media, pamphlets, journals, posters, and history folders. The focus is on the pioneering years: the people who settled, the ships on which they arrived, and the early colonial settlements. Through the research of members, databases and history folders are being created, collating information about the passengers on the immigrant ships and the stories of these pioneers. We also aim to preserve records, portraits, relics, and historical materials associated with pioneer settlement.

What are some of your favorite items in your collection?

The shipping and family history folders are unique to the Association. There are also a number of old, out-of-print books that provide fascinating reading of early days in South Australia.

What’s a particular challenge your library experiences?

As a fully volunteer organisation it’s always a challenge to find the time to keep up with technological changes and work involved in maintaining the collection and assisting people with their family history inquiries.

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

TinyCat is easy to use for both library administration by volunteers and searching the catalogue by the public. It is very affordable and the online access to LibraryThing and TinyCat is also beneficial for all.


Want to learn more about the Pioneers Association of South Australia? Visit their website here and check out their full TinyCat collection here.

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 kristi@librarything.com.

Labels: libraries, Library of the Month, TinyCat