Archive for the ‘Library of the Month’ Category

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

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