Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians

#96, April 20, 2001


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Guru Interviews

  1. Tara Calishain
  2. Jenny Levine, part I
  3. Jenny Levine, Part II
  4. Reva Basch
  5. Sue Feldman
  6. Jessamyn West
  7. Debbie Abilock
  8. Kathy Schrock
  9. Greg Notess
  10. William Hann
  11. Chris Sherman
  12. Gary Price
  13. Barbara Quint
  14. Rory Litwin

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Wanna See Your Name in Lights?

Or at least on this page, anyway? I'd like to print here your contributions as well as mine. As you've noticed, articles are brief, somewhere between 200 and 500 words -- something to jog people's minds and get their own good ideas flowing. I'd also be happy to run other people's contributions to the regular features like Favorite Sites on _____. I'll pay you the same rate I pay me: nothing.

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Cool Quotes

The collected quotes are at

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Drop me a Line

Want to comment, ask questions, submit articles, or invite me to speak or do some training? Contact me at: marylaine at

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When and How To Search the Net

Visit My Other Sites

My page on all things book-related. NEW STUFF ADDED in August

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Best Information on the Net
The directory I built for O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, still my favorite pit stop on the information highway.

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My Word's Worth
a weekly column on books, words, libraries, American culture, and whatever happens to interest me.

Subject Index to My Word's Worth at

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My personal page

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SUBJECT INDEX to Past Issues

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Neat New Stuff I Found This Week
April 20: academic murder mysteries, arts and crafts fairs, military maps, kids gardening, and more.

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My resume
Or why you might want to hire me for speaking engagements or workshops. To see outlines for presentations I've done, click on Handouts

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What IS Ex Libris?

The purpose and intended scope of this e-zine -- always keeping in mind that in response to readers, I may add, subtract, and change features.

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Highlights from Previous Issues:

My Rules of Information

  1. Go where it is
  2. The answer depends on the question
  3. Research is a multi-stage process
  4. Ask a Librarian
  5. Information is meaningless until queried by human intelligence


Rachel Singer Gordon. Teaching the Internet in Libraries. Americal Library Association, 2001. 0-8389-0799-7. $38 ($34.20 to ALA members). [Can be ordered direct at (800) 545-2433 press 7]

This is a comprehensive how-to manual. It considers virtually every issue you can think of, and some you may not have, including:

  • Who's going to do the training?
  • How do you choose a professional trainer?
  • If you use staff or volunteers, how do you train the trainers?
  • What do you want to teach?
  • Who are you training, and what are their special needs?
  • What kinds of supporting material should you provide?
  • How do you promote the training program?
  • How do you evaluate its success?
  • Where are you doing the training?
  • What kinds of hardware and software do you need (low-end and high end)?
  • How might we get the funding for it?
  • What kinds of programs have other libraries sponsored, and how did they work?

    Gordon takes a step-by-step approach, assuming no prior experience. She walks you through the technology options, the basics of presentation (maintain eye contact, don't overload people with information, etc.), and specific information about the needs, likes, and dislikes of specific target populations like seniors and Hispanics. The case studies, which include the Muncie Library's "Cybermobile," and a CyberSeniors program at a public library in Michigan, illustrate a variety of approaches and solutions to similar training issues. The book also includes a bibliography of books, articles and online training resources.

    I would recommend the book not just to librarians who are just beginning to plan Internet training, but also to librarians who are dissatisfied with the training they've already conducted and wondering whether there's a better way of doing it.

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    When I mentioned last week how handy it would be if somebody (not me, please) would create a clearing house for all the individual reading lists put on the web by librarians, several of you wrote in to tell me about sites that offer reading lists. Among the sites you mentioned were:

  • the Reading Lists at BookSpot (, which do link in some libraries' reading lists, as well as a host of genre and theme lists (Black detectives, frontier women, love triangles, etc.), reading lists by grade level, and "If You Liked ___, You'll Like ____" lists.
  • BookBrowser: Reading Lists (, which has a nice listing of series and sequels by genre and "If You Like..." lists.
  • NoveList, from Ebsco. If you already have it, enough said. If you don't, find out about what it does and how to license it at

    Useful as all of these services are, however, I think we still need that clearinghouse, because librarians all over the country have already done the work putting the lists online, and we all have different good ideas. We should be able to see these reading lists all in the same place, compare them, borrow ideas from them, use them to plan displays or to decide not to discard certain books after all.

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    The Industry Standard for April 23, 2001 reports on a Media Metrix study of Internet use which reveals that 92% of U.S. households still access the net via dial-up connection, and nearly 40% of those have modems that operate at 33.6Kbps OR LESS.

    Before you add one more glitzy icon or animation to your site, maybe you should check how long it takes your page to download by way of a dial-up connection and a slow, slow modem. Remember, for most users, if a site doesn't download in ten seconds, they're outta here.

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    More than anything else, a good reference librarian hates to say, "I don't know." And most would find it severely painful to have to say, "And I can't think of anything else." Vince Lombardi would never admit that anyone could beat his Green Bay Packers, though he would occasionally concede that sometimes his team ran out of time. Good reference librarians can run out of time and resource, but they never let their client go without hope for an answer, without a suggestion as to where the answer might be, or how much money and time it might take to get it.

    Barbara Quint. Wilson Library Bulletin, May, 1988. [The QUINTessential Searcher: the Wit and Wisdom of Barbara Quint, which I edited, is due out in July from Information Today.]

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    You are welcome to copy and distribute or e-mail any of my own articles for noncommercial purposes (but not those by my guest writers) as long as you retain this copyright statement:

    Ex Libris: an E-Zine for Librarians and Other Information Junkies.
    Copyright, Marylaine Block, 2000.

    Publishers may license the content for a reasonable fee.