January/February/March, 2005
Volume 51, Number 1

2004 VLA Conference

Getting Graphic at Your Library! A Graphic Novels Workshop for Librarians
Wednesday Preconference–1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Presenter: Michele Gorman

In an outstanding three-part session, Michele Gorman, author of Getting Graphic! Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens (ISBN 1-58683-089-9), introduced the graphic novel format; reviewed comic book history; and provided helpful tips and guidelines on the acquisition and management of the graphic novel collection, along with creative ideas for promotion and programming, successful book-talking strategies for graphic novels, and ways to deal with challenges to individual titles or the collection as a whole.

Gorman began her session with questions from the audience to gain a sense of what participants wished to learn. She pointed out that studies have shown that adding comics to libraries results in an increase in library traffic, as well as an increase in the circulation of other materials. In a world where young people are saturated with visual forms of entertainment–movies, video games, and even the graphics-heavy Internet–graphic novels help bridge the gap to text and foster an interest in reading. Graphic novels really do help visual learners connect with books, addressing a learning style that is often ignored in the dramatic leap from picture books to books that have few, if any, illustrations. Some children who are non-readers and get interested in graphic novels go on to become successful readers of traditional print books, while others who enjoy graphic novels are already avid readers.

Comics and graphic novels also appeal to children and youth because the stories often address their own fears, hopes, and dreams. Children today are inundated with images of violence and war–from the daily news to occurrences in their own neighborhoods, or even their own homes. In this genre, the superhero allows the child to live out the fantasy of actually having control and the ability to fix problems in a confusing world, thus helping to foster self-confidence; likewise, the hero often has to face and overcome many everyday problems that superpowers will not cure. Graphic novels in more realistic genres also deal with issues of acceptance, grief, and coping with a variety of difficult situations.

Despite disapprobation that began in the 1950s with the deceptive and often erroneous findings in Fredric Wertham's 1954 Seduction of the Innocent, many comics are valuable, particularly for reluctant readers. With self-regulation in the industry and increasing acceptance of this format, the genre has come of age; the literary quality of some is so high that graphic novels have won the Pulitzer Prize and World Fantasy Award. Graphic novels now make a regular appearance in trustworthy review journals such as Booklist, Knowledge Quest, Library Journal, Library Media Connection, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), and Teacher Librarian, as well as a number of online sources maintained by librarians.

Gorman described several ways to make a new graphic novel collection a success through marketing and programming. Graphic novels should ideally be located in a separate section to highlight their unique format, much as video and audio recordings are. In terms of display, one should shelve as many books face-out as possible, as it is the artwork that attracts readers. (Shelf space is rarely an issue once the collection is started, as circulation is normally so heavy that few books stay on the shelves.) Posters are available from ALA; local comic stores may also be interested in donating old posters for display or prizes. Flyers, bookmarks (which can be created using art from advertising and review sources), webliographies, pathfinders, and posted "teen picks" are all good ways to generate excitement. In terms of programs, some ideas include inviting a local caricature artist or cartoonist to host a workshop on creating comic characters; a superhero trivia contest; or a program that pairs youthful writers and artists to create their own comic-style stories.

General Opening Session
Thursday, 10:00-11:30 a.m.

Keynote Speaker: Ron Culberson, "FUNdamentals of Humor"

The 2004 Virginia Library Association Conference was held at the Williamsburg Marriott from October 28-29, 2004. VLA President Sam Clay called the opening session to order. After welcoming attendees to the conference, he reflected on the conference theme, "Defining Moments."

Dr. Franklin E. Robeson, chairman of the board of the Library of Virginia, welcomed VLA members. Dr. Franklin shared a few of his "defining moments" as a library patron by acknowledging the public librarian who encouraged him to read classics in addition to well loved novels, the academic librarian who helped him identify and use resources for an undergraduate project that was 100% of his grade in a class, and the government documents librarian who assisted him in graduate school.

One of the major "defining moments" for VLA in 2004 has been the finalization of plans for the VLA Foundation. Cy Dillon, chairman of the board of directors, gave a brief presentation reviewing the history of the foundation and outlining goals for the future. The motto of the foundation is "Investing Today for the Libraries of Tomorrow." The foundation plans to raise one million dollars in the next ten years for the endowment that will support several VLA activities (scholarships, advocacy, continuing education, and awards). Beginning in 2005 and in celebration of VLA's 100th anniversary, the foundation will launch its fundraising campaign with a goal of $100,000 (10% of the endowment). Cy announced that over $12,000 had been raised through the 100% participation challenge extended to all VLA officers and foundation board members and a generous contribution from Rita Mae Brown. Members of VLA were also encouraged to make a contribution or a pledge (payable over three years) to the foundation.

Martha Walker Baden, chair of the Jefferson Cup committee, announced the winner of the 2004 Jefferson Cup award: Grape Thief by Kristine L. Franklin. Committee members read 275 books during the selection process.

Keynote speaker Ron Culberson, author of Is Your Glass Laugh Full?, began his presentation by standing on a chair and challenging the audience to look at situations from different perspectives. He stated that "Time flies whether or not you are having fun," so he encouraged us to have fun, look for humor, and make it work for us. How to Put a Bolt of "Lighten"ing in Your Life and Work was a lighthearted but serious look at incorporating humor into our everyday lives to create balance. Mr. Culberson's presentation included several "Lightening Bolts" (keys to finding or using humor).

  • Strive to maintain the best values and skills that you can–attend classes and conferences, and read, read, read.
  • Read comics, look for humor in headlines and road signs, watch people, watch children.
  • Find time to laugh with others each day–share a joke or cartoon, hold laugh lunches (no serious topics permitted), spend time with funny people.
  • Use humor in your communications and presentations.
  • Incorporate humor in the work environment–decorate your workplace, celebrate birthdays and accomplishments, and look for ways to make routine processes fun.

If a laughter gauge had been available in the auditorium, the needle would have registered "off the chart" as we laughed together and learned the importance of humor in our lives.

–Caryl Gray, Virginia Tech

Son of CIPA
Thursday, 1:00-1:50 p.m.

Presenter: Julie Ramsay, Mary Riley Stiles Public Library, Falls Church, and Chair, VLA Youth Services Forum

No topic addressed by library advocates–and all VLA members should count themselves among library advocates–requires more tact and consideration of mitigating factors than the topic of Internet filtering. Julie Ramsay gave an excellent presentation on advocating for local control of filtering. She explained the latest developments on the issue of state or federally mandated filtering, and gave a detailed history of filtering legislation, including the Children's Internet Protection Act. Then Ramsay named Virginia's principal filtering proponents in the legislature and went to some length to describe the Family Foundation of Virginia, a political action organization with considerable resources and media sophistication. But Ramsay did not end there. She explained carefully how library advocates should respond, and listed specific talking points, such as the desirability of local control, the cost and limitations of filters, the advantages of user education versus filtering, and the fact that there is no discernable problem of Virginia children using library computers to view pornography or correspond with pedophiles. Ramsay's complete slide presentation is available at http://vla.org, and is well worth downloading as an aid in dealing with a very delicate and important issue.

–Cy Dillon, Ferrum College

The Unquiet Library
Thursday, 1:00-2:50 p.m.

Presenter: Nancy Tessman, Director, Salt Lake City Public Library System; Panel: Mike Mabe, Director, Chesterfield County; Doug Henderson, Director, Loudoun County

The Salt Lake City Public Library may be unlike anything you've ever expected to experience in the library world. Stereotypes are broken with relish as this library grasps the 21st century with both hands. Taking inspiration from successful bookstores and popular gathering places, as well as redesigned and newly built libraries, Salt Lake City has created an artistic, stimulating environment intended to serve both current and future community needs. The library provides all the traditional services one might expect; in addition, it serves as a nonpartisan location for public forums and meetings, a popular gathering place for youth, and a destination of choice for both business and pleasure. The library encompasses an entire city block, including a public plaza and shops that the library rents upon condition that the stores located there provide cooperative functions, such as joining in library programming, partnering for film festivals, and the like. There are kitchens, a café, a terrace, copious meeting space, and entertaining programming; music plays in the background, and the chatter of a busy library is encouraged as a sign of good health.

Following Nancy Tessman's description of the Unquiet Library, panel members Mike Mabe and Doug Henderson commented on the viability of this model in terms of the future of library services. Offering commentary from both points of view, the panelists alternately expressed pleasure that libraries are exploring all available routes to create patron satisfaction and increase library attendance, with a fuller use of all the library has to offer; and, conversely, dismay with a setup that draws attention and resources from traditional library services, creating an atmosphere that seems counter to library strengths.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library, with assistance from Doug Henderson, Loudoun County Public Library

Open Access Publishing and Memberships–Who Benefits, Who Pays?
Thursday, 1:00-1:50 p.m.

Presenters: Lene Palmer and Victoria Shelton, George Mason University

Victoria Shelton, Life Sciences Librarian at George Mason University (GMU), and Lene Palmer, Head Collection Development and Preservation Officer at GMU, teamed up to offer an overview of the open access (OA) publishing movement and address related collection development and licensing issues. An overflow crowd of interested librarians listened as Shelton, creator and webmaster for the Open Access @ Mason website, described the concept of open access publishing. This idea of free, immediate, and worldwide access to full-text research articles began in the late 1990s in the biomedical sciences. The current leaders in the provision of OA materials are BioMed Central and the Public Library of Science, both of which provide full-text access to a great number of peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The benefits of publishing in open access journals are many. They include: rapid peer review, immediate publication, free access for researchers, copyright ownership by the author, high visibility that encourages open communication with colleagues, and little or no space constraints limiting article size or inclusion of extensive data, graphics, or video materials. Shelton also pointed out that although these journals are free to access, they are not free for publishers. Publishing in this manner is actually quite expensive and is paid for in a variety of ways. Authors or institutions pay publication charges to have their research appear in these journals. Other revenue is generated through institutional membership fees, grants, donations, limited advertising, and additional subscription-based products.

Palmer discussed GMU's participation in the open access movement. GMU pays institutional memberships to BioMed Central, the Public Library of Science, and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), both to help support the open access movement and to help provide publishing opportunities for its scholars. Copyright and licensing issues are usually less complicated with OA journals than with those published by more traditional commercial publishers. The potential benefit in decreased workload for both InterLibrary Loan departments and Print Reserves is also considerable. In conclusion, the presenters stated that although the open access movement is still in its early stages of development, its advantages in terms of monetary savings and more open scholarly communication clearly outweigh any drawbacks.

–Bill Fleming, George Mason University

New Revenue Streams for Your Library: New Methods of Creating Active Revenue Streams for Your Library with Charitable Giving Programs for Your Community
Thursday, 1:00-1:50 p.m.

Presenter: Andrew Sanderbeck

Andrew Sanderbeck, president and founder of the People~Connect Institute, presented techniques and strategies for developing successful charitable giving programs for libraries. The goal of a successful charitable giving program is to benefit both the library and the person or group making the donation. The library gains valuable resources that it might not be able to attain through its normal municipal funding. The person or group making the donation benefits by helping to sustain and support an important service for the community, receiving a better return on an investment than they would normally receive in the market, and realizing federal income tax deductions as well.

The three steps of the program include the following: 1) choose a financial advisory company or attorney that will facilitate and manage all legal and tax aspects of the donations; 2) design a program that will work well with the particular library's patrons and surrounding community; and, 3) market the program through various avenues, including newsletters, signage, and information on the library's website. Successful new giving programs should break even financially within one to two years, and then markedly improve within three to five years. Gifts to the charitable giving program can include a lump sum of money, property, art, jewelry, or insurance policies. A capital campaign should be considered as a way to inaugurate a library's giving program or to reinvigorate an existing one.

–Alyssa Altshuler, Williamsburg Regional Library

Feeling Lucky? Learn How to Use Google's Advanced Searching Features
Thursday, 1:00-1:50 p.m.

Presenter: Michelle L. Young, Virginia Tech

Michelle L. Young from Virginia Tech spoke to an SRO crowd as she presented advanced searching techniques for Google. Although Google is the most widely used method for navigating the web, searchers may be unaware of the many great features available in this versatile search engine.

Michelle recommends that everyone download the Google toolbar. With the toolbar at the top of your browser, you can start your search from any webpage. You can also customize your toolbar to block popup ads, rank pages, autofill, highlight search terms, etc.

Michelle covered several basic search tips, including adding a ~ before your term in order to prompt Google to search for synonyms, and preceding your search term with + to guarantee that this particular word will be in the results. Conversely, using the minus sign (-) excludes a term. Use the logical operator "OR" to search either of two terms. In order to tailor your search to retrieve more authoritative information, click on "Advanced Search" and select a specific domain type (e.g., .gov or .edu). In advanced searching, you can also limit your search by language, file format, most recently updated sites, and more.

Did you know that Google can also be used as a calculator, phone book, metric converter, or stock ticker? In addition, you can track a package with the tracking number, search a vehicle by VIN, and search UPC numbers, area codes, and more. Are you curious about what websites link to your webpage? Try preceding your web address with the word "link" (e.g., link: hamptonpubliclibrary.org). If you are looking to purchase a particular product, whether unique or common, then try Froogle, one of Google's newer services.

To further explore Google's capabilities, click on "More" or the "About Google" link. You will find a wealth of options to enhance your Googling!

–Becky Perry, Hampton Public Library

Matchmaking: Books and Readers
Thursday, 2:00-2:50 p.m.

Presenters: Neil Hollands, Charlotte Burcher, Andrew Smith, and Barry Trott, Williamsburg Regional Library

Looking for a good book? Williamsburg Regional Library (WRL) can probably help! In their ongoing quest to provide better reader's advisory services, the reference staff devised a survey that will help them more accurately assist patrons in finding what they'd like to read, going into a level of detail that might not be possible in a real-time interview at the desk. As patrons answer the survey, completing as many questions as they wish (the more they answer, the more accurate the results), patrons not only provide the reference staff with the tools to help them, they also educate themselves about their own reading tastes. Another benefit is that shy patrons, who might fear being judged for their reading tastes or feel their questions are too trivial, may feel more comfortable with the survey. The level of reader's advisory requests has certainly increased: indeed, the paper survey was so successful that it's now offered online at www.wrl.org/bookweb/ra.

The survey requests information on both likes and dislikes in terms of genre, length, authors, specific books, types of moods and situations, number of plot-lines, character development, settings, themes, and personal interests. While this might seem like a lot to ask, the readers seem to enjoy providing it, and the level of detail permits much more accurate and thorough recommendations using a variety of reader's advisory resources–a huge step up from the few hit-or-miss suggestions that might be possible in the midst of a busy reference shift. Patrons can choose to be advised by email, paper pickup at the library, a phone call, or a face-to-face follow-up. They are told how long the request will take–usually about a week.

WRL has had success with this service both due to the accuracy of results and to the emphasis on publicizing the service to patrons. Press releases, articles in the library newsletter, signs in the library, information on the website, and hand-selling have all helped to increase the use of this now-popular service. Meanwhile, continuing work with the service has given the reference staff the experience they desire, allowing them to become ever more accurate–and speedy.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Info Rx
Thursday, 2:00-2:50 p.m.

Presenters: Jean Shipman, Director, and Shannon D. Jones, Education Services Outreach Librarian, Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University

Health sciences library staff members Jean Shipman and Shannon Jones from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) reviewed the Information Rx pilot project that was launched in Virginia in early 2004. The project is sponsored by the American College of Physicians Foundation and the National Library of Medicine (NLM). It had its roots in projects begun in Georgia and Iowa in 2003.

The goal of the Virginia pilot was to explore how libraries might empower consumers to get involved in their health and to promote physician-patient interaction. Outcomes included training 160 public librarians to use MEDLINEplus to locate health information and exhibits held at library and healthcare conferences to promote the use of MEDLINEplus. VCU staff also presented a poster at the ACP annual meeting. Participating Virginia librarians collaborated with NLM staff to create a web-based toolkit of informational and promotional materials for use by libraries following the national launch of the project in April 2004. The Virginia project was nominated and won a Consumer Health Information Award that was sponsored by the National Commission of Libraries and Information Sciences. Future project activities will focus on securing additional feedback from patients, involving military facilities, outreach research at selected Richmond-area clinics, and ongoing promotion of MEDLINEplus by libraries.

Public and academic libraries are encouraged to become more involved with consumers and local healthcare providers and to partner with their local health sciences library to participate in the project. Information on how to get involved may be found at http://nnlm.gov/hip/infoRx/index.html, while toolkit materials for establishing a local project are available at http://nnlm.gov/hip/infoRx/libraries_index.html.

–Karen W. Dillon, Manager, Library Services, Carilion Health System, Roanoke

The Jamestown Adventure
Thursday, 3:00-3:50 p.m.

Presenter: Ed Southern, Author

Ed Southern has recently put together a volume of first-hand sources relating to the colonization of Jamestown: The Jamestown Adventure: Accounts of the Virginia Colony, 1605-1614. In a dramatic panel, Southern presented the historical background of the English colony, describing the harrowing events, the setbacks, and the suffering of the settlers. Southern provided a vivid depiction of the death toll in the colony by calling for volunteers from among the audience, who were then picked off by disease, starvation, attacks by Native Americans, and even, in the desperation that ensued, acts of barbarity among the colonists themselves. The Jamestown Adventure includes letters, journal entries, and other such documents that tell the story of the settlement, the daily lives of the colonists, and the individuals who endured the adventure.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Wireless Crazy?
Thursday, 3:00-3:50 p.m.

Presenter: Steve Helm, Radford University

Steve Helm, Coordinator of Library Technology at Radford University and VLA Webmaster, spoke to a standing-room-only audience about the pros and cons of deploying a wireless network in a library setting. Helm based his presentation on his research on and experience with Wi-Fi in McConnell Library. Beginning with an explanation of the types of wireless networking available and the places they have been installed, Helm considered why there is so much current interest in going wireless in libraries, pointing out that many library users are equipped to take advantage of this technology and that places offering wireless connectivity are increasing at a geometric rate. The presentation moved on to a discussion of misconceptions about wireless access and then to a review of engineering standards for wireless networking. Helm's chart comparing standards was particularly helpful to those attendees who are considering what equipment to purchase. After this, the session focused on reasons libraries consider wireless networking worthwhile, and included a list of Virginia libraries that have gone wireless. Then Helm launched into an overview of the process of creating a wireless network in a library, with a complete list of things to consider before, during, and after installation. A lively and informative question and answer session followed. The illustrative slides that supported Helm's presentation, and slides from many other presenters, are available on the VLA website at http://vla.org.

–Cy Dillon, Ferrum College

The Future of Library Education
Thursday, 4:00-4:50 p.m.

Introduction: Carole C. Lohman, University of Virginia Education Library

Panelists: Sam Clay, Faculty Associate, Catholic University, and Director, Fairfax County Public Library; Matthew Todd and Pat Szarek, Northern Virginia Community College; Judy Bateman, Catholic University of America

If the future of library education has a single central theme, then that theme is change. However, the focus and direction of that change are complex and multifaceted.

According to Pat Szarek, the increasingly multidisciplinary trend of library education has a nucleus consisting of two interrelated concepts: Knowledge Management and Economics of Information. Both concepts provide tools for librarians to use in enhancing and assessing services to internal and external patrons.

Matthew Todd addressed the reasons for the growth of online education, particularly among those students who are in geographical proximity to a library school. He concluded with a brief discussion of the role of librarianship as vocation or profession.

Judy Bateman continued with an analysis of the changes in library school students since 1977. She echoed the viewpoints of other panelists that library education has become multidisciplinary.

Sam Clay succinctly stated that the entrepreneurial librarian best embodies his idea of the future of libraries. Clay further asserted that the future of libraries is not to be the disseminators of information but to be the producers of information. Clay theorized that in the future, "Most librarians won't be working in traditional library settings."

Each panel member emphasized the changes taking place in library school curricula to keep abreast with information and technology.

–Susan M. Catlett, Special Collections Coordinator, Perry Library, Old Dominion University

Café Book: Connecting Teens and Books
Thursday, 4:00-4:50 p.m.

Presenters: Rebecca Purdy, Central Rappahannock Regional Library, and Martha Baden, Edward E. Drew, Jr. Middle School

Café Book provides an exciting book club experience for seventh- and eighth-graders at five schools in the Fredericksburg area. Interested students meet at lunch to discuss books that they have selected, with librarians serving as moderators. Teens have a chance to share their opinions about books while expanding their reading experiences; the program sparks enthusiasm for reading while giving teens exposure to a wider range and higher quality of books than they might otherwise encounter.

Café Book is an active partnership between the Central Rappahannock Regional Library System and Chancellor Middle School, Edward E. Drew, Jr. Middle School, James Monroe High School, T. Benton Gayle Middle School, and Walker-Grant Middle School. During the summer, committee members read the current year's books and hold spirited discussions about their merits. By October, these meetings result in a list of about twenty books, with a few slots left open for the end of the year. Each school library buys two copies of every book, while the public library orders three copies per participating school. These books are checked out to a generic Café Book status.

To generate interest, librarians visit Language Arts classes in the fall and book-talk previous titles. Signs and bookmarks, as well as teacher support, also help. At the first book club meeting in November, students fill out library card applications. At the second meeting, librarians book-talk the new titles; at the third meeting, discussion begins.

To discuss a particular book, at least three students must read it. To achieve this number, the books are presented only five at a time for students to choose among. Students are encouraged to think critically while reading. The group uses discussion guidelines from the Cooperative Children's Book Center (http://www.soemadison.wisc.edu/ccbc/discguid.htm).

In late April, a pizza party offers students a chance to vote for their Top Teen Picks and complete surveys about the program. In May, students take a field trip to the public library to vote for the ultimate Top Teen Picks. These picks, prepared as bookmarks, offer a memento as well as a way to attract new participants.

One great result–aside from getting teens involved with books–is that librarians learn what young people really think. Often, the librarians have been surprised, as teen readers have a completely different take about protagonists and storylines. Sometimes the most popular books are not the best, but the ones that cause doubt or controversy, lending themselves to discussion.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Our Jefferson Cup Overfloweth
Friday, 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Presenters: Martha Baden, Edward E. Drew, Jr. Middle School, and Donna Hughes, Handley Regional Library, with members of the 2004 Jefferson Cup Committee

Since the 1982 publishing year, the Youth Services Forum of VLA has presented one Jefferson Cup Award each year for a shining example of American biography, history, or historical fiction for young people. The criteria for the award include that the book be an "original work published in the year prior to the selection; the book must be about U.S. history or an American person, or fiction that highlights the United States past, 1492 to the present; the author must reside in the United States; the book must be published for young people; and the book must be accurate, informative, well researched, unbiased, literate, and give a clear and interesting picture of America's past."

The 2004 award went to Kristine L. Franklin's Grape Thief, which chronicles the aspirations and hardships of a twelve-year-old boy growing up in a mining family in 1925 in Washington State. Three Honor Books were also chosen for 2004: A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, Ben Franklin's Almanac: Being a True Account of the Good Gentleman's Life by Candace Fleming, and In Defense of Liberty: The Story of America's Bill of Rights by Russell Freedman.

However, in addition to these wonderful books, the committee found a wealth of worthy titles that should be of interest to all Virginia librarians. A separate brochure lists 47 such noteworthy books for 2004. In an intense and exciting session, the members of the Jefferson Cup Committee book-talked as many of these titles as they possibly could, providing attendees with an intriguing glimpse of many interesting books to pursue.

For more information about the Jefferson Cup Award and a complete list of winners and honor books by year, visit VLA's Youth Services Forum online (http://www.vla.org/cyart/cyart.html, or see "Forums" under "Organizations" at www.vla.org).

For information or to submit a nomination, please contact Donna Hughes, Handley Regional Library, P.O. Box 1300, Stephens City, VA 22655, dhughes@hrl.lib.state.va.us.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Friday, 9:00-9:50 a.m.

Partnering with a Purpose

Presenters: Janet Crowther, Barry Trott, Noreen Bernstein, Patrick Golden, and Lee Welch

Janet Crowther, Barry Trott, Noreen Bernstein, and Patrick Golden from the Williamsburg Regional Library and Lee Welch from the Williamsburg-James City County Schools presented a panel discussion that highlighted the partnership or "marriage" between the two entities as a way to illustrate how to develop a library partnering program. The Williamsburg Regional Library has developed and maintained successful partnerships with area schools, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government entities that are mutually beneficial to each party. These partnerships maximize resources and promote services.

Using a human relations model, these relationships range from glances (any overture or contact between the library and a community group, organization, business, school, or government agency); dates (an agreement between the library and a community partner to accomplish a specific, short-term activity or commitment); engagements (a formal agreement between the library and a community partner to work together toward a marriage after an experimental phase; this either evolves into a marriage or dissolves); to marriages (a formal agreement between the library and a community partner with compatible goals to share the work, risk, and results or proceeds). Engagements and marriages are formalized by a Letter of Agreement that enumerates the responsibilities for both entities and includes a timeline to accomplish goals. An evaluation of the partnership is performed by the library and its partner on a yearly basis, and changes are made to the Letter of Agreement accordingly.

Any relationship between the library and another entity can be initiated by a staff member through a written proposal that adheres to specific partnership guidelines. The entire process from proposal to marriage is overseen by the Community Partnership Development Director and reviewed by the Community Partnership Development Group.

For further details, please see the new book by Janet Crowther and Barry Trott, Partnering with Purpose: A Guide to Strategic Partnership Development for Libraries and Other Organizations, published by the Greenwood Publishing Group.

–Alyssa Altshuler, Williamsburg Regional Library

FRBR: All the Rage in Europe
Friday, 10:00-10:50 a.m.

Presenters: Patricia Howe, Longwood University, and Patricia Powell, Roanoke College

FRBR, or Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records, is a conceptual model for catalogs developed by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in 1992-95 and approved and recommended in 1997-98. The model provides an intriguing means of linking all manifestations of a work. FRBR is an entity-relationship model, allowing great sophistication in meeting user needs by providing stronger and more readily comprehensible links between entities (the works themselves, their creators, and their subjects) and the items that embody them. For example, in FRBR, all manifestations of Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol"–including such things as the original English text, a translation, and an annotated edition–would be linked to the same overarching record representing the Idea of that work. This allows a "family of works" to be grouped together more strongly, showing, for example, a clear and interactive link with West Side Story as a derivation of Romeo and Juliet. In this sense, FRBR provides the user with a more complete picture of a Work by showing its manifestations as well as its relationships with other works. At the same time, it also provides users with a faster means of finding what they want. In public libraries, classic works of literature on a school reading list in multiple editions would be grouped together under the umbrella of the Work itself, thus shortening the patron's wait if a specific edition is not sought. FRBR facilitates collocation and increases ease in navigating a catalog, as well as finding manifestations of a single work.

Currently, there are several examples of prototypes or outright adoption of the FRBR model, such as Denmark's Visual-Cat, Australia's AusLit, and Indiana University's Variations2 Project (http://www.dml.indiana.edu/overview.html). VTLS and Innovative Interfaces Inc. are working on a prototype. OCLC's FictionFinder (http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/frbr/fictionfinder.htm) and RLG's experimental RedLightGreen (http://www.rlg.org/en/page.php?Page_ID=435) are further examples. OCLC has developed a conversion algorithm (http://www.oclc.org/research/software/frbr/), while the Library of Congress hosts an FRBR Display Tool (http://www.loc.gov/marc/marc-functional-analysis/tool.html).

In terms of the impact of conversion, OCLC estimates that 80% of its records are for single manifestations, while only 1% have 8 or more manifestations. Furthermore, FRBR is neither a substitute for MARC nor a replacement of AACR2. As electronic catalogs continue to grow and be enhanced, librarians have a great opportunity to work with vendors to find new ways to envision catalogs to better serve user needs–going beyond traditional models as new options are increasingly available through advances in technology.

Among the recommended resources for additional information are Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records: Final Report by IFLA (http://www.ifla.org/VII/s13/frbr/frbr.htm), What Is FRBR? A Conceptual Model for the Bibliographic Universe by Barbara Tillett (http://www.loc.gov/cds/FRBR.html), and OCLC Research Activities and IFLA's Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (http://www.oclc.org/research/projects/frbr/default.htm).

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

The Magic Moment: A Storyteller's Gift
Friday, 11:00-11:50 a.m.

Presenter: Michael Kerry Williams and Barbara O'Neil, Young Audiences of Virginia

Substituting for Tom Crockett, Michael Kerry Williams introduced storyteller Barbara O'Neil and the programs available through Young Audiences of Virginia (www.yav.org). This nonprofit organization focuses on the arts in education, providing professional artists to educational programs, offering workshops and residencies, and organizing programs tied to Virginia state reading program themes.

Barbara O'Neil, a costumed, professional storyteller, engaged the audience with a lively and interactive rendition of an East Indian folk tale. O'Neil, who researches her material in local libraries and brings broad acting skills to her craft, then used her presentation to illustrate many of the principles of storytelling. To make storytelling particularly striking and memorable, distill the story down into memorable phrases that will be repeated. Many of the characteristics employed for good oral reading are applicable here: different voices for different characters; varying vocal pitch, tempo, and rhythm; and acting out motions. The storyteller's intensity helps to hold an audience, while the story's meaning can be "read" in the expressions of the actor's face and body. Using patterns such as repetition and well known storytelling phrases help to bring an audience close quickly, setting up the comfortable familiarity of the oral tradition. Further, patterns can help an audience interact with the storyteller as listeners anticipate and offer up the next plot point.

Brain research suggests that many traditional storytelling techniques actually address factors that need to be present in order for information to be processed into memory. Keeping these factors in mind can help the storyteller or instructor tailor a presentation to a particular audience. These factors include the perceived need for the information; the novelty of the information and presentation; how meaningful it is in terms of the listener's own experience; the intensity of the presentation; emotional connections that are made with the story; the strength of symbols, icons, and images, which can be evoked through mime-like gestures; music and rhythm, which can be conveyed through the storyteller's voice; and social interaction, which the use of audience participation provides. In today's media-rich world, it is more important than ever to keep these factors in mind to engage audiences of every age.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Advanced Web Searching for Librarians
Friday, 11:00-11:50 a.m.

Presenter: Paul Barron, University of Mary Washington

Paul Barron, Library Manager of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies Stafford Library at the University of Mary Washington, presented a lively and wide-ranging session on advanced web searching tips and techniques for academic librarians. An enthusiastic overflow crowd was captivated by Mr. Barron's entertaining and informative foray into the dynamic world of web research. Observing that "the web has moved from the periphery of a good researcher's awareness in 1998 to the very center of it in 2004," Barron made a compelling case for the necessity of a high degree of web search fluency and Internet research skills for all librarians.

A discussion of some of the basics of web content structure (surface web versus deep web, "bowtie" theory of searchable content) and web search techniques (Boolean operators, domain, URL, and country-of-origin searching) served as the underpinning for the presenter's rapid-fire review of the four main search engines that he predicted would survive the current climate of heavy competition and consolidation–Google, Yahoo, Amazon, and Microsoft. He emphasized the importance of link-checking as a measure of the quality of a webpage, and demonstrated the value of Touchgraph interactive graphs to visualize the "ocean of information" at the center of which any particular website is located.

Tools to check website credibility and domain name registrants were also introduced, as was the Thumbshots ranking tool. Thumbshots performs a comparison of the results lists of two search engines and displays the rankings and comparative positions of pages within the results. This tool is useful in light of the fact that no search engine covers more than 20% of the web, and the average overlap in results for the same search performed in two unique search engines such as Google and Yahoo is only about 12%. Mr. Barron closed by emphasizing the use of simple search statements that mimic the way you think and the importance of thoroughly evaluating the quality of your results, both en masse and as individual websites.

–Bill Fleming, George Mason University

Reading at Risk
Friday, 1:00-1:50 p.m.

Presenters: Tom Bradshaw, Director of Research, and Keith Stephens, Senior Analyst, National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts has measured an alarming decline in literary reading across all levels of society in the United States. Literary reading is defined as the reading of any fictional work in any format: novels, short stories, poetry, and plays. The type of fiction (mainstream, mystery, science fiction) and the mode of reception (book, magazine, newspaper, Internet) are equally irrelevant. The only type of "literary" reading excluded from the survey is compulsory reading for work or school.

In 2002, the Census Bureau once again conducted the large-scale Survey of Public Participation in the Arts, polling over 17,000 people. Results indicate a dramatic decline in literary reading over the last twenty years. In 1982, 56.9% of the U.S. population had read at least one novel, short story, poem, or play in the past year, while in 2002, only 46.7% of Americans met that criteria. When nonfiction is factored in, there is still a heavy rate of decline: in 1992, 60.9% had read a book of any type, while in 2002 this dropped to 56.6%. Even more alarming, the repeated survey (1982, 1992, 2002) shows that the rate of decline is increasing–there was only a 5% rate of decline between the first two decades, while there has been a 14% drop since 1992. The amount of literary reading is declining much more sharply among men; in 2002, only 37.6% of men identified themselves as literary readers, as compared to 55.1% of women. However, literary reading is still declining among women as well. The study shows further that while literary reading is declining among all ethnicities, education levels, and age groups, the sharpest drop is occurring with the youngest age group–a 28% rate of decline among readers 18-24. Further information is available in the NEA publication Reading at Risk (http://www.arts.gov/pub/ReadingAtRisk.pdf).

As the survey shows, the decline in literary reading also seems to be linked to a decline in cultural and social participation. For example, depending on the activity, between 43-49% of literary readers engage in volunteer and charity work, visit art museums, or attend performing arts events, while only 12-17% of non-literary readers do so. Even attendance at sporting events seems linked: 45% of literary readers attend, while only 27% of non-literary readers do.

Literature has to compete with a wide variety of other entertainment possibilities–not only television and movies, but the Internet, video games, and a variety of portable electronic devices. No single factor can be identified as a cause in the decline of literary reading; however, studies show that non-readers watch more television, and that in 2002 recreational spending on electronic items soared to an average of 24% (up from 6% in 1990), as opposed to 5.6% on books (down from 5.7% in 1990). On average, each American child in 1999 lived in a home with "2.9 televisions, 1.8 VCRs, 3.1 radios, 2.1 CD players, 1.4 video game players, and 1 computer" (NEA, Reading at Risk).

In an attempt to understand and counter the disturbing downward trend in literary reading, the NEA has consulted and partnered with community reading programs, the American Library Association, and the Public Library Association, seeking ways to increase reading levels. They welcome our help in combating this downward spiral.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Insert Content Here: Effective Beginnings and Endings
Friday, 2:00-2:50 p.m.

Presenter: Jimmy Ghaphery, Virginia Commonwealth University

Ghaphery presented a number of general tips for successfully engaging an audience, enhancing learning, and measuring results. He then provided examples from his own experiences at the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries to demonstrate effective means of opening and closing a presentation. A handout provided additional examples and resources to illustrate his approaches.

To avoid glitches in any presentation, it's best to know your equipment beforehand, get to know the technician who might assist you, and anticipate glitches that might occur. To pique an audience's interest and hold the attention of potentially reluctant listeners, use humor suited to that particular audience. Try out approaches from other cultures and genres, such as structuring a presentation around the stylistic cues of folktales or music, both of which often make use of circular structures with repeating themes. Be willing to take risks to engage an audience and get your message across–remember that great ex tempore artists know how to improvise. Consider the interest factor for each section of the presentation and how to spice things up; but keep in mind that the first ten minutes of a presentation can make or break that learning experience.

At VCU, Ghaphery and his colleagues have taken the ACRL standards for educational competencies that are used to evaluate the effectiveness of training and fashioned them into a means to address the learning needs of each group of students, as well as providing an effective opening and resolution to each training session. Students begin the session with a pre-test to measure their current knowledge. This test is interactive, displaying results for the class as a whole so that both the students and instructor get immediate feedback on strengths and weaknesses. The instructor uses this information to guide the presentation, focusing on areas of greatest need. At the end of the session, a second test provides satisfying closure not only for the students and instructor, but for the professor who requested the training module, demonstrating what students have gained from the class, and helping them reinforce their knowledge. An online bulletin board for group comments and a concluding online evaluation of the experience also further these goals. Finally, students are asked to email their research results both to themselves and their professor, providing a tangible outcome with practical results.

–C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

Closing General Session
Friday, 3:00-5:00 p.m.

Guest Speaker: Dr. Carla Hayden

Sam Clay began the meeting by thanking Fran Millhouser and her committee for planning and organizing an excellent conference.

Carla Hayden, director of the Enoch Pratt Libraries and a past president of ALA, shared some "defining moments" that have had an influence on librarians and librarianship. She indicated that there is a paradigm shift in the services that libraries provide as we respond to the needs of traditional as well as nontraditional users (for example, Generation X and growing immigrant populations). Public libraries especially are exploring new territory and offering innovative programs that appeal to youth. The "Unquiet Library" is becoming the norm as programs such as "Boogie to the Beat" connect with youth. "Sex in the Library," another program offered by a public library, provides a safe environment for young adults to discuss topics of concern.

Technology has also contributed to the changing library. The card catalog has been replaced by an electronic catalog; patrons have access to information via the web using Google and other search engines, and to the "invisible web" through subscribed resources; and email and IM (Instant Messenger) are preferred forms of communication. Technology has given libraries the opportunity to expand services beyond their four walls. Library patrons can access information from their personal computers. For patrons who do not own a computer, libraries provide access to computers and opportunities to learn computer skills.

Although funding to support libraries continues to be a major concern, Dr. Hayden shared several statistics that illustrate that libraries are significant to our society: libraries provide $14 billion in economic revenue for vendors; libraries circulate four times the number of items handled by Amazon.com and circulate the same number of items shipped by Fed Ex; and there are more public libraries than McDonald's restaurants in the United States.

Libraries have and continue to cooperate with schools to support student research projects; however, teachers need to clearly communicate the nature of these assignments to librarians so that students can receive appropriate guidance and assistance in locating information. Dr. Hayden also discussed Internet filtering and the Patriot Act as libraries and librarians fight to protect the library patron's right to know. She encouraged us to be "feisty fighters for freedom."

In the brief business meeting following Dr. Hayden's address:

  • Sam Clay outlined several significant VLA accomplishments for 2004–establishing the VLA Foundation and successfully advocating for libraries and library issues in the state legislature.
  • Susan Paddock, VLA Secretary, presented the minutes from the VLA Annual Business Meeting of November 7, 2003. The minutes were approved.
  • Steve Preston presented a brief financial overview of the association.
  • Morel Fry presented the Nominating Committee's report and announced that Ruth Arnold had been elected vice president/president-elect and Lydia Williams had been elected secretary.
  • John Moorman presented the legislative agenda for 2005 (available on the VLA webpage, www.vla.org).

Sandra Shell of the Scholarship Committee announced that over $1,700 was raised through the Scholarship Raffle. Scholarship awardees include:

  • Julie Short–scholarship funded by the estate of April Bohannan
  • Susan Larson–Clara Stanley VLAPF Scholarship

Heather Blicher–VLA Scholarship Connie Gilman, chair of the Awards and Recognition Committee, presented the VLA awards:

  • Ann Friedman–George Mason Award
  • Richard "Dick" M. Hamrick, Jr.–Trustees Award
  • Sam Clay and Susan Paddoc—tokens of appreciation in recognition of their service as VLA officers

Ruth Kifer, VLA President 2005, accepted the gavel from Sam Clay. Prior to adjourning the meeting, she announced several activities that have been planned to celebrate VLA's 100th anniversary, including an exhibit at the Library of Virginia, a proclamation from the governor, and a gala celebration at the VLA Annual Conference in Williamsburg, October 20-21, 2005.

–Caryl Gray, Virginia Tech VL

Michele Gorman has a wealth of ideas and helpful suggestions on incorporating graphic novels into library collections. She can be reached at comixlibrarian@aol.com. –C. A. Gardner, Hampton Public Library

by KMB