February 2007
Volume 27 No. 8


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Member Feedback About Search
Puzzled about Search's Funny Email Addresses? To foil spammers, we write email addresses as name - AT - host - DOT - domain, for example, puzzler - AT - puzzle - DOT - org.

News You Can Use
Future of Libraries Workshop - March 20 and 21, 2007

BALIS/MOBAC/PLS/SVLS is presenting this free half-day workshop for all staff. Sign up online for either of these dates and times:

  • March 20, 2007 - 1 to 3:30 pm at the Los Altos Library
  • March 21 , 2007 - 9 to 11:30 am at the new Alameda City Library

The presenter, Steve Abram, is a noted futurist, vice-president of Sirsi/Dynix, president-elect of SLA (Special Libraries Association), and frequent speaker at Internet Librarian and other conferences. A witty speaker and writer, he is noted for advocacy of user-centered services which leverage technologies and trends to make libraries more responsive and easier to use. Learn about him at his blog, Stephen's Lighthouse.

ACL Performers Showcase - February 24, 2007 - Fremont
The 22nd annual Performers Showcase sponsored by the Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California (ACL) will be on Saturday, February 24, 2007, at the Fremont Main Library in Fremont. The all-day event features four sessions in which children's performers demonstrate their skills and programs. Organizers expect over 30 performers, including many newbies. Advance registration is $10; on-site registration, $15. Children up to age 10 are particularly invited. They will be admitted free and will have many opportunities to get up on stage when the performers ask for volunteers. Bring your calendars to sign up summer performers on the spot!

Details and registration:
Bayviews - www.bayviews.org.
Questions or comments:
Elizabeth Overmyer, Berkeley Public Library, (510) 981-6224/ eovermyer - AT - ci - DOT - berkeley - DOT - ca - DOT - us.

Grants for your Library on Stephanie Gerding's Blog
Visit Stephanie Gerding's
 Library Grants Blog to view grant announcements. The following grants may be applicable to public libraries for building readership in their communities.



  • IMLS Leadership fosters partnerships between libraries, museums, and other community cultural organizations in three areas: "Building Digital Resources, Library and Museum Community Collaboration, and Research and Demonstration."
  • Kids are Authors encourages K-8 students to use their reading, writing, and artistic skills to create their own books, guided by a project coordinator.
  • Target Local Store supports programs such as weekend book clubs, after-school reading programs, and events encouraging family reading time.
  • Pathways Within: Roads to Reading promotes literacy by supplying books.

These are just a few from Library Grants Blog. Although other grants in that blog are for school or academic libraries, they might be possibilities for public library partnerships. Tip: Use the "Find" command to find the deadline month.

Califa Returns 59:1
Califa members received to a 59:1 return on their membership fee in the first 10 months of 2006. That's $59 back for every membership $1.

At the request of its Board, Califa recently completed a Member Benefit Analysis to quantify how much Califa saved member libraries in direct costs from January 1 to October 15, 2006. The membership fees collected during this period were subtracted from discount differentials for the same period to calculate a net member savings of $4,178,542.33.

Califa then calculated the average return on investment (ROI) for its member libraries as $59.27 in savings for every $1 spent in membership fees. These savings included 35 different products. Ten different libraries saved over $100,000; 31 libraries saved over $50,000.

Before you buy, check Califa's website. If you don't have a login, or can't remember yours, email califa - AT - califa - DOT - org or call 800-209-5439 (California only.)


Reference Picks
Schoolwork Contests and Curriculum Months
Here are some links and tips for those reference questions that pop up this time of year. Some of these links were suggested by ALA/ALSA's "Great Web Sites for Kids," which groups sites under topics, then subdivides them by grade level.

National History Day - February-March
National History Day is a contest for students in grades 6-12 to encourage the study of history. This year's theme is "Triumph & Tragedy." March 30 is the due date for registration forms, county fees, and historical papers, but students will be preparing this month and next. This event may be big with home schoolers.

Black History Month - February 2007

  • Gale Free Black History Resources Web Site
    contains many biographies taken from the Gale databases, a February calendar with pertinent dates, bookmarks to help you promote your Gale subscription, and more.
  • Alexander Street Press' Black Women Writers brings together more than 100,000 pages of literature and essays written by black women from Africa and the African Diaspora in electronic format. There is free registration for this collection.
  • Historical Text Archive
    has 21 items for Black History Month, including "I Have A Dream," "Letter from Birmingham Jail," five bibliographies, and 19th century speeches and letters. From HistoricalTextArchive.com.
  • Patchwork of African-American Life has a hotlist, treasure hunt, cultural sampler, and "Web Quests" on "Little Rock Integration" and "Tuskeegee Tragedy." AT&T/SBC, the site's publisher, includes a link to their "Filimentality" tool for technically-challenged schools and teachers.

Women's History Month - March 2007


Questions and Answers
Here's this issue's stumper and its story. Sometimes what we turn up in looking for the answer can be informative just in itself.

What's that Word?
Our patron wanted to know the word that describes a word that is both a noun and a verb. We thought of "gerund" which is a word which librarians and patrons or a certain age may remember from diagramming sentences in English classes. In those days, a "gerund" was a verb made into a noun, usually made by adding "ing," e.g. the joy of reading. But the patron was ahead of us with his example, "rain."

Our researcher also thought of "gerund," but verbs can sometimes be adjectives, e.g. a "going concern," or a "growing suburb." Nothing came from her search of word sources - word games, grammar texts, or works on words about words.

The closest our researcher could come to finding the answer were the entry for "gerund" in Fowler's Modern English Usage, 3rd edition, 1996, pp. 318-19 and an article from the Autumn 1994 issue of Verbatim pp. 22-23, titled "To verb or not to verb" by Robertson Cochrane.

The Fowler entry had this prefatory note: "Readers should be warned at the outset that some modern grammarians have abandoned the term all together and speak instead of verbal nouns in <ing." Fowler added that "the adjective corresponding to gerund is gerundial."

The upshot was that there is no definitive answer. Fowler and Cochrane seem to suggest that if you think that the word is a noun derived from a verb, then it's a "noun-verb," and vice versa.

Prompted by our patron's question, we tried to see how many parts of speech we could make from the word "puzzle." Here's our attempt:

After not solving a puzzle on his own, a puzzled patron turned to his librarian, who puzzled on the question a while before forwarding this puzzling question to us for our puzzle-solvers to answer. Our puzzlers couldn't answer this puzzler either, but all appreciated the research report and accompanying documentation. More puzzling, anyone?



News from our Members
Library 2.0 in San Jose

San Jose Public Library and San Jose State University Library, in a new initiative at the joint library, are working together on Learning 2.0. The initiative runs from January 8 through March 10, and is coordinated by a 13-member team representing both the public and university libraries. The program is open to all SJSU and SJPL library employees regardless of position and status (full and part time). Non-regular staff must do the lessons outside working hours and are ineligible for any incentives. All regular staff who complete the program will earn a flash drive. We counted about 197 library participants and 5 non-library participants. The project team has posted their program's link on the Learning 2.0 website.

Several member libraries are mulling a Learning 2.0 staff training initiative and are thinking about the policy and procedure needed. However, they and other member libraries are now offering some Library 2.0 services. Look for articles on some of these libraries' services in subsequent issues of Search.

What about your library? Tell us what you're doing your colleagues can learn from you.

Community Reads
Community Reads events are events to encourage reading in a community. Usually spearheaded by libraries, working with school districts and other community cultural partners, the project centers around one book and organizes events related to that book. Activities may be book clubs, author readings, movie showings, performances, talks about the locale of the book, and more.

Silicon Valley Reads 2007-08
Santa Clara County Library and San Jose Public Library Foundation are two of the main sponsors of Silicon Valley Reads. SVLS is also a sponsor. The featured book is The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle. There are many activities being held at SVLS member libraries in February.

The Big Read
The Big Read is funded by grants from the NEA and the IMLS. It is designed to encourage reading as a part of the American cultural experience by promoting community partnerships for events planned around a single book, which the community reads. Almost all grants are awarded to applicants which have at least one public library in the partnership.

Redwood City Library will conduct a Big Read program in March. The book is Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, one of the Big Read selections. The co-sponsor is the Montalvo Arts Center. Canada College Library is also a project participant. Check out the event's multi-media site, created by Mission College and the South Bay Regional New Media Center. The site features streaming sound effects, book-related games, a message board, along with a calendar of events and lists of sponsors. Redwood City's Big Read's site will lead you through that city's activities. There are at least 16 events, including a a live discussion with Ray Bradbury (via satellite) at Sequoia High School on March 23rd. at 4:00 pm.

The Peninsula Library System (PLS) will be leading a Big Read month in April. The book that the community is reading for PLS's event is To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. PLS's offerings include film showings, discussions and readings of the book, author lectures, a parenting seminar, and music venue and restaurant participation.

Is your library doing a community read? Tell us so your colleagues can read about it in Search!

If your library has some interesting statistics or sends out press releases, please share them with your staff and on committee listserves; and send them to Mary Beth Train. One good idea begets another!



BALIS/PLS/SVLS System Reference Center

For libraries to submit an article for Search or a suggestion, email Mary Beth Train at train-AT-plsinfo- DOT - org.
Find Search archives at Search Newsletters.

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Mary Beth Train -
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Volume 27 Number 8