Archive for August, 2009

Getting your first library card…what was it like?

August 31, 2009

In tough economic times, parents might find it harder than ever to make sure their children have everything they need for school.  Luckily, the most important school supply of all does not cost a thing.  It’s a library card.  A library card can give kids access to free homework help, materials to research their papers or a source for their next book report.  And a library card opens up a world of exciting stories for a young person.

Do you remember the moment when you got your first library card? In celebration of September as Library Card Sign-up Month, we invite you to share your first library card experience. How old were you? How did you feel getting your card? How has it made a difference in your life?

This month, bring a friend – young or old — to the library and let them experience the joy of their first library card, too.

Library Volunteers are urgently needed Aug. 24 – 29

August 11, 2009
Volunteers make an important difference!

Volunteers make an important difference!

Would you like to make a difference in our community? In response to a growing need in Mecklenburg County, the library has launched a new initiative aimed at helping people find jobs. This initiative will include a new Job Center in uptown’s Main Library.  Volunteers are needed the week of August 24 to help move books and other items to make room for the new center.

Volunteers are needed Aug 24 – 29 at Main Library
(310 N. Tryon Street)
•    1st shift-9:30 to 12:30
•    2nd shift-1:00 to 4:00
•    3rd shift-4:00 to 7:00

If you can volunteer for any or all of the above times, please contact Chauna Wall, Volunteer Coordinator at 704.416.0711 or email cwall@plcmc.org.

Thank you!

Click here to learn more about the Job Center.

Rate items, write reviews and create lists in the new library catalog

August 11, 2009

One of the new personalized features of the enhanced library catalog is a tool called ‘My Discoveries,’ which lets users rate items, write reviews, create lists and apply subject tags to items. This content can be kept private or shown to other users. And the best part is, you can create your own user name and password for ‘My Discoveries’ that is easy to remember.

We caught up with Library Director Charles Brown to find out how he uses the new tool.

“Like most library customers, I enjoy keeping track of the items I’ve read and plan to read,” says Brown, “’My Discoveries’ is a great way to create and save a list of items one might want to check out later. Plus, being able to rate books and share reviews makes using the library’s catalog even more interactive and enjoyable for book lovers like me.”

Library Director Charles Brown enjoys finding good reads.

Library Director Charles Brown enjoys finding good reads.

So what’s on the Library Director’s list of books?

“I’m currently reading ‘Lady in Red: An Eighteenth-Century Tale of Sex, Scandal and Divorce’ by Hallie Rubenhold. I’m also looking forward to reading Pat Conroy’s highly-touted ‘South of Broad’ and completing ‘The Emperor of Ocean Park,’ Stephen L. Carter’s beautifully written but somewhat overlong first work of fiction.”

Visit the enhanced catalog and give ‘My Discoveries’ a try, then tell us what you think. You can even watch a short video that gives a guided tour of this cool new feature.

It’s all about the search

August 10, 2009

The enhanced library catalog has a lot of helpful new features, including a large text version for customers with low vision and a Spanish-language version. But the biggest enhancement is in how users can find things.

We caught up with Frank Blair, the Library’s Director of Research, Innovation and Strategy to find out more about the catalog’s improved search capabilities.

Improved searching with more relevant results was a key factor in the decision to launch the new catalog interface. It’s important that customers find the information they need whether they are using the catalog from home or come in to the library. The enhanced catalog lets you not only find results that match what you’ve typed in, but it will also present relevant alternatives, and help customers easily refine their search.

So, what has Frank used the enhanced catalog for?

My ninth-grader has to do a book report on “To Kill a Mockingbird” this year.  I typed in the title in the enhanced catalog, and not only did I find a copy of the book, and the Gregory Peck DVD, but also a teen-friendly biography of the author, Harper Lee.  I would never have thought to look for the biography, but the enhanced catalog just suggested it.

My eighth-grader loves horses, and loves to read the “Phantom Stallion” series.  With the enhanced catalog, I can just type in “Phantom Stallion” and the 20+ books in that series come right up.  The ease of use is extraordinary.  In the classic catalog, I would have had to know how to do a special kind of search to find all that information.

I like foreign films.  With the enhanced catalog, I just type in “DVDs” in the search box, and then select a language to refine the search.  Instant access to cinema from around the world!  It also works great if you just want to see English-language releases in the last year.

I was helping a customer about 10 years old find the “mail-order ninjas” graphic novels – very popular with 5th and 6th graders right now, especially boys who don’t want to read a chapter book, or longer fiction.  I typed in his search, and sure enough, all our copies were checked out.  But the enhanced catalog was smart enough to suggest “ninja” as a search term in the visual search pane.  With one click, we found “Blue fingers: A ninja’s tale” as another option, and the Accelerated Reader information in the catalog indicated it was perfect for his age and reading level – and we had it in.  When I got the book for him, he said “I don’t usually read books this long, but in this case I’ll make an exception.”  The delight of discovery is what the new catalog is all about.

Have you had a chance to use the enhanced catalog? What do you think about the new search tools? Leave a comment and let us know.

Enhanced catalog to debut Monday, August 10

August 4, 2009

Finding what you’re looking for at the library will soon get easier. No, the shelves aren’t changing. Instead, the Library will soon be offering customers a better way to search for items with a new and improved catalog interface. The new catalog, powered by Aquabrowser, debuts to the public on Monday, August 10, and aims to address customer requests for an easier-to-use catalog with more personalized features.

One of the new personalized features of the catalog will be a tool called “My Discoveries”, which lets users rate items, write reviews, create lists and apply subject tags to items. This content can be kept private or shown to other users.

The new catalog has many other benefits, including a large text version for customers with low vision, and a Spanish-language version. But the biggest enhancement is in how users can find things. The enhanced catalog lets you not only find results that match what you’ve typed in, but it will also present relevant alternatives, and help customers easily refine their search.

On August 10, the catalog will be accessible online at http://www.plcmc.org or from within libraries. To see some of the new features in action, a series of short, guided tour videos will be available on the enhanced catalog page, and library staff will also be available to help. Customers will still have the option to use the old catalog interface by clicking the “Classic Catalog” link at the top of the page.