Sunday, January 18, 2009

Your Local Library! (On Video)

Somewhat interesting video tour of a public library with service highlights. I really like the concept, but I think the transitions were too long. Some narration would have been welcome. But overall, a creative effort that highlights a lot of resources patrons might not realize their library had.

Has your library posted a video tour somewhere? Send us your links!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Uncle Sam's Crystal Ball - On Target!

While preparing for a talk on Alaska Statehood Resources, I came across the item:

Rogers, G. W., & Cooley, R. A. (1963). Alaska's population and economy; Regional growth, development, and future outlook. College: University of Alaska.

On page 203, the authors present a chart of population projections done by various forecasters. According to the chart, the US Census Bureau predicted in 1960 that in the year 2000, Alaska would have a population between 600,000 and 700,000.

The actual 2000 population, as reported by the US Census via American Factfinder? 626,932 people. That's more than good enough for government work. It's an especially interesting figure to me since it did not take Alaska's oil boom of the 1960s and 1970s into account.

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Monday, January 05, 2009

What can you do on *your* library's website?

In a post titled Doing Stuff at the Library’s Website, library blogger David Lee King asks:

Here’s something to ponder, next time you’re looking for something to ponder. What can you actually DO at your website? Can you do most of the the real “stuff” that your library offers as activities?

He then lists the types of things that you can do if you walk into your physical library:

  • check out a book
  • read a book or magazine
  • take notes and do research
  • put a public PC on reserve for later
  • pester the reference librarian with questions
  • check stuff out when I’m done
  • attend a training session or a fun program
Without making judgments about whether patrons should be able to do all of the above, I thought it would be fun if us Alaskan librarians shared what is possible to do on our websites. So, please consider copying and pasting the list above into a comment and let us know each of the things a patron can do on your website. For each thing that can be done, list where.

I'll get the ball rolling with an unofficial assessment of what you can do at the Alaska State Library's website at

  • check out a book - Only if it is an audio book. Cardholders can do that at
  • read a book or magazine - They can read magazines by visiting our journal finder tool at and either browse the title lists or type in the name of a specific magazine or journal. They can read SOME (state-published) books by visiting our State Publications shipping lists at or by searching our catalog for e-books (mostly older Netlibrary titles).
  • take notes and do research - Patrons can't take notes on our website, but they can do research - either by visiting our databases page at OR by going to our new division page at and using the search box which pulls up content from web pages at the State Archives and State Museum as well as the State Library. Type in "governor egan" without quotes for an example.
  • put a public PC on reserve for later - our patrons can't do this in person.
  • pester the reference librarian with questions - We wouldn't call it pestering, but they can get an Ask-A-Librarian e-mail form by visiting
  • check stuff out when I’m done - Only audio books as noted above.
  • attend a training session or a fun program - Not yet, but we're working on it. More in the next few months.

That's what you can do by visiting the web site of the State Library. What can you do on yours? If there's something you can do that's not listed above, let us know.

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