October 2007
Volume 28 No. 4



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News You Can Use
Eureka! Leadership Applications Revised for Re-submission - October 31
Eureka! Leadership Institute training is designed to train the next generation of future library directors and managers. To participate, you must be working in a California public library, young enough to take over from the current generation of leaders and old enough to have demonstrated some leadership ability.

The cost is $500. Infopeople has also posted more information and materials from previous workshops on the registration page. The new application package incorporates suggestions made by last year's group.

The Institute is a week-long intensive session to be held from April 27 through May 2, 2008 at the Kona Kai Resort in San Diego. An integral part of the Eureka! Leadership Program, and a requirement for those participating in the Institute, is the selection by the participant and the sponsoring library of a project that will engage the participant for up to a year after the Institute. Because of the serious nature of this requirement, all applications must include a certification of commitment from the library director.


Conference and Classes
The System Reference Center maintains links to upcoming and past conferences on its conference page and to workshops and ongoing training on its classes page. The SRC site's Training page is a portal to these links and more. Let us know what other sites you'd like to see on these pages. Contact.



Book Clubs in a Box -- Free!
The California Center for the Book - www.calbook.org - offers free "Book Clubs in a Box" for teens and would-be mystery lovers and graphic novel fans. The kits include enough books for a small group, discussion questions, a list of supplemental activities and suggested additional book and film/DVD titles for tie-in programming or for continuing the group.  The kits may have more enhancements such as tips for author interviews and background articles.

While you're on the Center's site, look at the booklists for reluctant readers or for multicultural awareness. The home page features a toolbox for PBS' The War and a case study on an author visit. The Center is also coordinating California's contributions to Letters About Literature, an annual national contest for students in grades 4 through 12, in which students write a letter to their favorite author. Prizes include community grants up to $10,000.

NOTE: The California State Library, California Center for the Book and representatives from PBS will hold an informal conversation about the Ken Burns' documentary, The War, and how the series inspired library programs, discussions, and further reading within each community, Sunday, October 28, 1:30 - 2:30.

San Jose Public Library Links to The War
PBS' seven-part series The War, (World War II) ran in September on KQED and is repeated in October on KTEH, KQET, and KIVE. San Jose Public Library was able to link one of its events to a page on the KQED site. Since the series is being repeated on San Jose's local PBS affiliate, KTEH, the library's events run for two months.

On Saturday, November 10, 11am - 2pm, veterans of all wars will participate in a memoir-writing workshop led by writing coach Judy Brynda, with teen volunteers there to type up memoirs. Participants will be invited to contribute their work to a shared collection that will be made available in-print and posted online. The Friends of the Almaden Library and the Almaden Senior Association are providing a complementary buffet lunch.

System Reference Center Focus Groups
The System Reference Center will be holding focus groups in each system the last week of October or in early November. Representatives from each system's adult services, e-resources, teen's/YA, and children's committees will consider libraries' needs for databases and e-materials and e-services. Each system's focus group will meet for no more than two hours. Staff is also exploring the possibility of joint committee meetings to gather the libraries' needs. If you have questions or suggestions, please discuss them with your library's representative to one of these committees.

Certified Public Library Administrator Budget and Finance Workshops
The Public Library Association has organized preparatory courses for its new Certified Public Library Administrator (CPLA) certification. The workshops are also worthwhile for librarians desiring to develop their professional skills. The workshops have been designed to be practical rather than theoretical and include interactive exercises and group work.  Now is the time to sign up for the Budget and Finance workshop, if you haven't already done so.

February 19-20, 2008: Budget and Finance, with Sandra Nelson (Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San Jose)

April 29-30, 2008: Fundraising, with June Garcia
(Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, San Jose)

Information, full schedule, instructor profiles, CPLA description and registration

Libraries' Return on Investment (ROI) to their Communities
ROI studies show that a public library can return $5 to $31 to the community for every tax dollar. These figures become persuasive in library advocacy and fundraising materials.

To learn more, look at the just-completed study of ROI in several Colorado public libraries of varying sizes and organizational structures by the Library Research Service. Consider using the page's calculator to estimate your local ROI. There are suggestions for interviewing key informants to write a case study. The State Library and Archives of Florida posted its study in 2005, along with the survey instruments. The 2004 study found that Florida's public libraries returned $6.54 for every $1 invested. Details at Taxpayer Return on Investment in Florida Public Libraries

Slam the Boards - September 10, 2007
Local librarians staffing AskNow participated in the "Slam the Boards" publicity effort on September 10. Librarians "invaded" answer boards, such as Yahoo! Answers, in a campaign to raise awareness: for librarians, of a large potential patron base for chat answers; and for patrons, of libraries' question-answering services.

Bill Perdue, virtual services librarian at Arlington Heights Memorial Library, in Illinois set up a "Slam the Boards" wiki at answerboards.wetpaint.com/ to provide links to boards, tips for answering, suggested tag lines and signatures, and reports by participating librarians, including their impressions after the event and exemplary answers. "Boards" offer librarians practice in answering front-line reference questions in a chat environment while raising public awareness of library services at the same time. Some of the wiki's links offer suggestions for publicity in answers to email reference questions also.


Questions and Answers
System Reference Center's Quarterly and Yearly Statistics
In answer to requests, here are the statistics on the number of second-level questions received from each system last quarter, with some numbers for comparison. Whenever you have difficulty finding the answer to a question, consider sending that question to the System Reference Center. Our researchers may have more time and resources, or perhaps a different strategy. Contact
Mary Beth Train whenever you and your supervisor are uncertain if sending the question on would be appropriate or to learn more about sending in questions.



News from our Members
Sunnyvale Goes for a Bond Election
Sunnyvale voters will decide on a $108 million bond issue for a new, larger, green library on November 6. The current library, having been expanded twice in its 50 years, cannot be expanded any more. The proposed new library will be built next door to the current library. Details

SFPL Increases Hours and Days
San Francisco Public Library is adding new open days and/or hours at nine branch libraries-- Bayview, Ingleside, Merced, Mission Bay, Ocean View, Park, Portola, Visitacion Valley and Western Addition starting October 21.

The library developed the extension plan with the input of community groups such as the Library Citizens Advisory Committee and the Council of Neighborhood Libraries; with support from Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Board of Supervisors and the Library Commission.

The library is also in the midst of its Branch Library Improvement Program (BLIP), the $105.9 million bond measure passed in November 2000. The program called for renovating 17 branches, replacing four leased facilities with City-owned buildings, replacing two branches with new buildings, and constructing one brand-new branch, the hugely popular Mission Bay.


Palo Alto Reopens Historic Childrens Library - September 29, 2007
Palo Alto may have the only free-standing childrens library in the U.S. The much-loved building opened with 2,000 books in 1940. When a bond issue in 2002 failed, cooperative efforts by the city, the Friends, library foundation, raised the necessary $4.1 million.
The "new" library, which meets seismic and ADA requirements, added about 2600 square feet to the original 3300 square feet and more computers and is built to accommodate future technology requirements as well. Volunteers rallied to shelve its 35,000 books in time for the re-opening and the celebrations were prominently featured in all the local newspapers.

One Book, One Community
San Francisco Public Libraries and the Peninsula Library System libraries both celebrate "One Book, One Community" events this month.

The Peninsula Library System One Book One Community selection is Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende. Isabel Allende, who rarely makes public appearances, kicked off the program in a conversation with Michael Krasny, host of KQED's Forum, on Thursday, October 11 at 7:30 pm at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center.

There will be over 70 events in libraries, featuring talks about local Chileans and Chinese immigrants, author readings of related books, and performances by dancers, musicians, and storytellers.

San Francisco's One City, One Book selection is Cane River, by Berkeley author Lalita Tademy. Events include an in-depth conversation between Lalita Tademy and Scott Shafer, host and correspondent of KQED’s The California Report on October 23 at 6:00pm in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library. Lalita Tademy will speak at several branch libraries and bookstores throughout the month.

Several Cane River events are about genealogy and family history research, including a presentation about genealogical resources for Chinese Americans by Jeanie Low, author of China Connection: Finding Ancestral Roots for Chinese in America on Saturday, October 27, 10:30am-Noon in the Koret Auditorium, Main Library.

If your library has interesting statistics or press releases, please share them with your staff, post them on committee listservs, and send them to Mary Beth Train for inclusion in Search. 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.

We're part of the Library!

To send a Second Level reference request:

  • Web form
  • Email us at info -AT-plsinfo- DOT -org
  • Fax: (650) 349-5089 or (800) 505-5583
  • Phone: (650) 349-5538 or (800) 644-6244

System Reference Center Flyer Use for staff orientation and training.


Who we are:

Linda Crowe -

Executive Director,
Gail McPartland -
Assistant Director, Services,
Mary Beth Train -
Search Editor
Angel Kao - Program Assistant



Volume 28 Number 4