Thursday, June 30, 2011

Are you ready for another?

     Summer must be the time for surveys, because I have another for you.
     Those of you who visit our library know we have a certain amount of books every year that we put on "sale" tables.  Those tables go up after our August inventory week, after a generous amount of "culling" has been done.
     Last year we discovered Book Sale Finder, a business out of Hudson, MA, run by Helen and Thomas Oram.  Their motto:  "Book lovers still drawn to physical books - especially bargains."
     In June of this year they had a nice survey on their website and I was especially interested in the "Survey of Used Book Buyers."  I'd like to share with you what I learned, since I'm a used book buyer also.
     The survey was conducted in November 2010 by  Over a period of about two weeks, they asked visitors to their website to take the survey.  All of these surveys can be found at
     People are attracted to non-profit sales because the books usually cost about $1 each, so they can buy lots of books at bargain prices.  Even during recent upheavals in the book publishing industry, people who love books continue to purchase "physical" books (YEA!).  A large number of those people are happy to buy recycled books.  (People who indicated they were book dealers were given a separate survey, so this one doesn't reflect their responses.)
     Where are people buying books?  79% of the respondents have never purchased an e-book, but with that category being so new, it's perhaps notable that 21% have bought at least one.
     Also notable is that 43% purchased over 40 books per year from non-profit sales, and nearly two-thirds bought at least 20 books from these sales.  The various venues where books were purchased were: e-book downloads, online new book stores, new book stores, online used book stores, used book stores, and non-profit book sales.
     Why do people attend charity book sales?  63% responded that they just read a lot of books.  Also, some said they collect certain types of books (24%), some home-school their children (3%), and others gave various reasons (10%).  Most respondents said that the bargain prices were the main attraction (83%), but others said "to find treasures," or that they supported the sponsoring organization, the sale was a community event, or other simultaneous events were being held at the same time (bake sale, etc.).
     What do people typically spend?  More than half  responded that they attend at least 6 sales per year, and 25% said they attend at least 11 sales per year.  And they buy a lot of books at each sale, with the emphasis being that the books usually cost 50 cents to 1 or 2 dollars a bag of books may cost only 5 to 10 dollars!
     And for the most part, people purchase hardcover books (are you surprised?) at non-profit sales (81%), but paperbacks are close behind (64%).  Trade paperbacks (51%), library discards (51%), videos and DVDs (33%), audio books (22%), and magazines (17%) made up the rest of the purchases.
     Of course, fiction topped the genre list at 66%, with reference at 36%, cooking at 35%, children's at 35%, how-to at 26%, young adult at 24%, travel at 20%, and textbooks at 12%.
     OK!  People have all these books now.  So, what do they do when they are finished with their books?  The people who filled out the "book lover" section of the survey had already indicated their primary reason for attending book sales was NOT to buy books to re-sell, so it is remarkable that nearly 1 in 5 sells their books online.  But some people do nothing with them; they just accumulate (52%), while others give their books to friends and family (58%), or donate them to a book sale (62%)
     In keeping with this survey, I'd like to ask you the question:  What do you do with all the books you purchase?  Maybe like some of the Book Sale Finder's respondents you'll say: keep them in my classroom library, leave them at the hospital, swap them, donate them to the Armed Forces, give them to those without books, sell them, etc.
     Let us hear from you.  Give us your survey answer right here, right now.
     Thanks for letting us know you are a "bargain" book lover.  And by the way, August is one month away and we're getting ready for another big book sale!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What about those Summer Reading Programs?

     Recently, one of our staff members handed me an article from the Winter 2010 edition of "Children and Libraries."  Titled "Do Public Library Summer Reading Programs Close the Achievement Gap?," the article told about a study by the Dominican University in River Forest, IL, the Colorado State Library Agency, and the Texas Library and Archives Commission.  Funding was received over a three-year period to revisit that particular question.  I want to tell you more about that study.
     During 2006 to 2009, 11 sites were selected on the basis of objective criteria.  The El Paso (TX) Public Library and the Pueblo City County (CO) Public Library served as pilot sites over the summer of 2007. West Palm Beach County (FL) Public Library tested the survey instruments that same summer.
     The study involved the collection of data through tests, interviews, and surveys.  The student participants studied were completing 3rd grade in spring 2008 and entering 4th grade the following fall.  Other participants included the librarians delivering the summer reading programs in public libraries.  Parents and teachers were participants through surveys.
     Here are the selected conclusions:
     * 3rd grade students participating in the reading program scored higher on reading achievement tests at the beginning of 4th grade and didn't experience summer loss in reading;
     * more girls participated;
     * fewer students on free and reduced meals participated;
     * more participants were Caucasian;
     * more students in the reading program had higher spring 2008 reading scores;
     * students in the summer reading program scored higher on the post-test;
     * those who participated used libraries;
     * their parents also had a higher level of library use;
     * there were more books in their homes;
     * there were more home literacy activities; and
     * parents of children who participated indicated they thought their children were better prepared to begin school at the end of the summer.
     Among the responses by teachers of the 4th graders who had participated in the summer reading program, the teachers found that the students
     * started the school year ready to learn;
     * had improved reading achievement;
     * appeared to have increased reading enjoyment;
     * were more motivated to read;
     * were more confident in the classroom;
     * read beyond what was required; and
     * perceived reading as important.
     While the study began with 11 sites and an anticipated 500 student participants, only 367 signed parental consent forms were returned.  The number was, however, sufficient to draw inferences to use descriptive statistics in the study.
     The study also had a number of recommendations, including [which I found more relevant to our particular library]
     * that librarians in public libraries needed to work with teachers and school librarians to identify nonreaders and underperforming students and reach out to those students to engage them in library activities;
     * that more marketing should be done directly to parents to let them know the value of their children participating in summer reading programs and other out-of-school library activities;
     * that public librarians need to work with other non-profit organizations, such as First Book and Reading Is Fundamental, so disadvantaged children can have their own books; and
     * that grandparents and other caring adults in a child's life must be reached out to, because they may have the most influence over what a child does outside of school.
     WELL, having read this article by Susan Roman, dean and professor of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Dominican University in River Forest, IL, and Carole D. Flore, library consultant from Florida and author of "Flore's Summer Library Reading Program Handbook," I would ask that if you are reading this that you find all the children you can and bring them to the library...BUT not just for the summer reading programs! 
     Be one of those caring adults outside of school!  Gather up an armful of kids in your spare time, maybe Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon, and take them to the library.  Help them get their own library cards, help them select books suitable to their reading level, spend time helping them read or discussing what they read. 
     Those little children are our future.  And goodness knows, if they can't read, THEY don't have much of a future. 
     Join with your local public library in supporting Summer Reading Programs.  Help close the achievement gap.
     And thanks for reading this long, long, but important, blog about the Summer Reading Programs.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our Bookmobile and its unsung heroes

     Our library has a couple of unsung heroes.  Well, to me, that is.  I guess it's because Sheila and Holly have an office at the back corner of the Children's Library, close to Bookmobile stacks (bookshelves).
     The Bookmobile library was placed in the renovated three-bay garage when the Children's Library was moved to its present location.  So...because Sheila and Holly are at one end of the main library and I'm at the other, I don't see them very often.  Unless, of course, they're working at the circulation desk on the days they aren't on the road.
     The Bookmobile library is just one of four libraries in the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library System.  Not many people think of it that way, but the system has the Bookmobile and main library (headquarters), as well as the Doerun Municipal Library and the Ellen Payne Odom Genealogical Library.
     The Bookmobile library (housed in the main library) is not a library just everyone can visit, like the others.  It's actually the place where there are seven long, long stacks of over 20,000 books for Bookmobile patrons.  The Bookmobile, itself, also holds over 2,500 books...the library on wheels with our unsung heroes, Sheila and Holly, taking it all over the county.
     They told me they just finished their first run for June.  They covered nine routes with approximately 15 stops per day, serving approximately 150 people each day.  (Can you imagine how hot it was out there on all those roads in our 100-degree South Georgia weather?)  Holly said their turnover is about every six weeks, with a week or two in between runs to catch up on office work and other stuff.
     They'll have their second run after the July 4th holiday, starting on July 11th.  Their final run for the summer will be July 25th, because when August comes around and school starts, they will begin their school runs also, bringing their routes up to a total of fourteen.
     Holly told me a little something special about Sheila.  I found out she's an exceptional Bookmobile librarian.  Because she knows the adult patrons on her routes so well, she often bags pre-selected books for them.  She knows exactly what kind of books they like.  And since one little boy loves alligators, they bag "alligator" books especially for him!  Now, that is personalized attention!  In fact, Holly said Sheila is so organized she will have bags of books stacked in the Bookmobile library ahead of time, just waiting to be put on the Bookmobile and delivered to their patrons on each route they take.
     Sheila said they have over 100 children this year on the summer routes.  She and Holly call the patrons a day ahead of when they plan to be in their area and then again when they reach the designated stopping place.  The mix of patrons is about half and half of adults and children.  The children also include the young adults, ages 12 to about 18.  There are less than ten men who are patrons, making the majority women and, I suppose, lots of children.  The limit of books to check out is 25 per person and patrons are allowed to keep the books for six weeks.
     Sheila recently took a trip to Jacksonville to Mumford Library Books to purchase new books for the Bookmobile, most of which were children's and young adults' books.  You can bet her patrons look forward to their new selections for summer reading.
     Just remember, the next time you see our Bookmobile sitting beside the library, it's not a permanent fixture.  Remember it has wheels and travels the county with Sheila and Holly taking books to the many patrons who watch for them.  You can bet your bottom dollar, those people don't think of our Bookmobile librarians as unsung heroes.  They sing their praises as they hollar:  "Here they come!  Here they come!"
     If you have a hard time obtaining library books and need assistance, call the library at 985-6540 and ask for Sheila or Holly.  They'll see what they can do to get books to you, because they're good at their jobs!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's fun to hear the little kids laugh

     Our library is in the middle of its Summer Reading Programs.  For the last three weeks, programs for the kids have been held on Tuesdays and Thursdays here in the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library.  The programs are being held on Wednesdays at the Doerun Municipal Library.
     But this past Tuesday night must have been an exception to a good time for all the kids who attended the Ron Anglin entertainment in the adult reading area of the library.  Our adult book club, "Novel Destinations," was meeting in the classroom adjacent to the Children's Library and we could hear the laughter through our closed door.  It made us want to go out there and see what all the laughter was about.
     So, out of curosity, I talked to Miss Norman, our Children's Librarian, this morning about all that fun and she gave me the low-down.
     There were about 50 attendees to see Ron Anglin, a magician, juggler and clown, known in the Atlanta area as "Dr. Tiny."  He is a bonafide member of Cirque du Soleil and often takes his act to the Atlanta hospitals to jolly-up the patients.
     Miss Norma said he is a true professional, performing silly slapstick stuff with an elegant pause that just cracks people up, even the little kids.
     Tuesday night he played around with magic tricks that he pulled from a diaper bag, a long piece of plastic that he used as a tourniquet, and "boomwackers," plastic tubes of different lengths that made different notes when they hit something.  On this particular night he played "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" on a little boy's head and the kids just ate it up.  They couldn't get enough of his entertainment.
     Miss Norma said that Ron was a helicopter pilot in the war and then became a high school teacher.  He was very proud to say that one of his students has also become a professional clown, and together they are planning on doing a two-man show.  How great that we can provide such professional entertainment to the patrons of our library.
     Of course, there are still more programs coming to the library for kids and their parents to enjoy.  But the group Tuesday night took a vote and decided that this Thursday morning at 10 a.m. they want "Movies on the Wall," and everyone will be entertained by Miss Norma's old movies.
     Why not bring the kids to the library auditorium tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. and watch the fun and hear the kids laugh.  It will just make your day.  That's a promise.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Traveling to novel destinations

     Has anyone noticed I haven't been around in a while?  It's true!  I've been on vacation for three weeks, something not many people get to do.
     Where did I go, you ask?  Well, not anywhere in particular.  About 30 minutes, 30 miles in all directions.  Mostly stayed home and enjoyed reading.  Remember in an earlier blog I told you about all those books I want to read this summer?
     And I joined another book club!  Just can't seem to get enough of those book clubs.  One club meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at Western Sizzlin'.  Another book club meets the first Monday at 10 a.m. at an apartment complex's clubhouse.  But the third book club is right here at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library.  And its theme is "Novel Destinations."
     Meeting each Tuesday evening in June from 6:30 to 7:30 in the library, our little group consists of about 14 people, just the right size for sharing what books we're reading (or have read) and having a program.
     Last week Janet Litherland from Thomasville, an author who has traveled to Ireland and Scotland, gave a program about how she researches for her books.  She showed us pictures of the various sites she has visited and told how the scenery and people influenced her stories.  Tonight we're going to have a speaker talk to us about cruises she has taken, the various ports where she landed, and how enjoyable her trips were to foreign lands.
     Our displays around the library consist of suitcases filled with books that pertain to different countries, different cultures, adventures, and fabulous travels.  Our two lighted glass cases hold items from a variety of foreign countries; some items that will make you even more curious about that particular land.
     As for some of the books we have in the library that might interest you in joining our book club, maybe these will encourage you to read about novel destinations.
     A Book of Travellers' Tales Assembled by Eric Newby.  There are some 300 plus writers and subjects represented in this book, a veritable Who's Who of travellers from 430 B.C. to the 1980s.  There is a story about David Livingstone being attacked by a lion in Africa.  Cecil Beaton has an evening with the Rolling Stones in Marrakesh.  Hannibal crosses the Alps.  And Byron visits Ali Pasha, the bloodthirsty governor of Albania.  Even a story about John Steinbeck trying to get out of a small town in upstate New York.  Sounds like a good read to me.
     A book I think I'd really like to read is My Love Affair with England, A Traveler's Memoir by Susan Allen Toth.  In her book, Ms. Toth brings a special England vividly to life as she tells about exploring the countryside, traveling in both second-class and in luxury, theatre-hopping, ghost-hunting, and honeymooning.  It's not only a humorous and bittersweet writing, but wonderfully eccentric and gives us a different view of England, rather than being an extension of the States.
     The Way of the Wanderer, Discover Your True Self Through Travel is by David Yeadon, who has also illustrated the book with delightful pictures.  Jan Morris, author of Fifty Years of Europe, said, "This book is full of strange, moving, and entertaining experiences, drawn from 25 years of wandering our mysterious globe."  Yeadon takes us on his solo jaunt at age four just outside his Yorkshire front door, through Iran in later years, into Aboriginal old ways, on a deer hunt in Norway, and into a Shinto temple in Japan.  His stories provide a road map for fellow wanders to realize their dreams and experience travel as a key to their own multifaceted selves.
     There are so many books about travels you can find at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Library.  Be sure when you start your search for the perfect travel book that you look for the one with the alligator on the cover.  It's titled Up the Amazon Without a Paddle, 60 Offbeat Adventures Around the World, written by Doug Lansky.  I'm going to give you a's on the table with the big green suitcase!
     If you can't make tonight at 6:30, then plan to come next Tuesday, June 28, for The Virtual Tourist.  And schedule your calendar so you can attend on July 12 for Romanzo Destinazioni (about Italy) and August 9 for a surprise program.
     You just can't beat a good book club as a wat to find out about great books!!!!