Category Archives: Library love

Imagine It

Hey Indianapolis readers in particular —

You know what would make me REALLY happy? If you bought a ticket to the Library Foundation’s new Imagine It! event.

Here’s the deal: For $30, you get to join us for a fun evening at Ash & Elm Cider Co. You Imagine It Cider Logoget some drink tickets, some refreshments and you get to vote on a new Library program that will be funded by YOUR ticket proceeds. That’s right, you pick. It’s like American Idol meets Library programs.

If you read just one adult book/month from your public Library, that’s approximately an annual value of $204. If you read more, or listen more, or download more, you save more by using the awesome free resource that is the Library.

Which means, for all the things you love about the Library, a $30 ticket is a bargain compared to all that the Library gives you. I know the last time the hubby and I did dinner and movie, we spent nearly that on an evening’s entertainment. And trust me — as funny as Guardians of the Galaxy might be — it won’t make you feel as good as supporting a Library program. (Seriously, they’ve done brain scans. Making a philanthropic gift lights up the same part of your brain as when you eat chocolate or have sex. It feels that good.)

The projects you’ll get to hear about are amazing. The librarians involved have busted their tails for these awesome ideas.

They just need you — the Library needs you — to help implement their idea.

Buy your ticket here.

Trust me. If you don’t love it, find me, and I’ll buy you a Snickers bar to make your brain feel better a different way instead.



National Friends of the Library week

The Word Nerds are unabashed library lovers.

I became a Friend of the Library here in Indianapolis in 2011 because I used their services heavily and had ever since I moved here. For a time, the Library was my access to the internet and source of entertainment.

I’m still a Friend of the Library even as I work for the Library Foundation. We have hundreds of people across the community who are also Friends and to them I say a giant THANK YOU.

We’re not the only library/library foundation with Friends and so to everyone who is a Friend of the Library in whatever library system you claim as yours, thanks. You really make a difference for your library.

If you, like the Word Nerds, benefit from the services your library offers, I’d encourage you to become a Friend of your library system.

ALA 14

alaAs part of my job for the Library Foundation, I got to attend the American Library Association conference in Las Vegas from June 27-July 1. Today, I’m presenting in staff meeting about what I learned, so I decided to write a blog about it as as way to get organized. (Aren’t you lucky….)

First, and just to get this out of the way: Vegas in late June/July is hot, as in “welcome to hell” kind of hot. Don’t give me that “it’s a dry heat” crap. When it’s 111 in the shade, that’s just hot. Thirty seconds outside and I felt my skin turning into scales as whatever moisture existed there was instantly evaporated.

Now, to the things I learned:

Libraries can’t run away from games and gamers. The opening session featured Jane McGonigal, author of “Reality is Broken.” McGonigal cited a lot of interesting research about how games are changing our brains in good ways. I know not everyone agrees with her statistics, but it does open a door for dialogue about the effects of games. Most interesting fact to me: Gamers spend 80% of their time failing. Also, game jams are a super lot of fun and an inexpensive program for libraries to run. In one program, we were given 15 minutes with a partner to improve on a very basic board game. By the time we were done, we had a little game that involved math, number rounding, money and risk. It’s not going to win any MENSA awards, but more proof that games can be vehicles for creativity and learning.

Libraries need to be at the table in the discussion of education reform and college readiness. In some places we are, but we have so much to offer. I went to a great session about the new Aspen Institute report “Learner at the Center of a Networked World” and another good one about how school and academic libraries in Kansas City are trying to team up to help make sure that high school grads have the information literacy chops they need to succeed in post-secondary education.

The best session I attended was one on PR storytelling. It wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before, but it’s good to be reminded of the basics. The Library’s story needs to be about the people it serves; not that the collection or the building isn’t important, but they are just the vehicle for serving people.

A session on advertising was clever as they brought in a digital content manager from the Bellagio to explain how SEO and paid ads really drive people to sites and influence their decisions. Not sure how much of that is actionable in my job (I am the digital manager and the annual fund gal and the newsletter writers and a grant proposal writer…you get the idea) but it was interesting. Also, they had free breakfast. Free anything in Vegas is stellar.

Meanwhile, wearing my Word Nerd hat, I tracked down Anthony Breznican in the exhibit hall. He was gracious enough to wait for me after I was late trying to get from one session to his signing. Andrew Mayne did close-up card tricks before signing his new book and Hank Phillippi Ryan and Deb Coonts did a great panel on the seedy sides of their cities (Boston and Vegas). Expect to see a guest something with Deb Coonts later this year and I’m definitely going to try to ask Andrew Mayne too (Maybe he’ll remember that I uncreatively drew the smiley face on the eight of hearts during his card trick? Could he have found anyone less artistic than me? Does he know that moment of panic — draw something?  Draw? What? A smiley face? A heart – no not that. A flower? Should I write my name? No, he said draw. AHHHH….) A special sci-fi session with the folks from TOR netted a bag of books that I managed to get in my suitcase and still be under the weight limit. (Nobody tell my Dad that I’ve got a copy of the new Douglas Preston book for him, ok?)

Probably nobody should tell work, either, that I skipped out on a boring Sunday afternoon session so I could have time to go buy a cheap ticket to see “Million Dollar Quartet.”



Book Boy Friends

I really have a pretty amazing husband.  I mean, he puts up with my priorities (yes, I did spend the day reading a book, dear, instead of cleaning.  How kind of you to notice and not say anything!)

Recently, he proved his worth again by showing me a picture on Facebook about book boyfriends.


Seriously?  How did I miss that phrase?  It completely describes my relationship with several fictional characters:


I decided that for this weekend, while Harry Dresden is going to be occupying most of my thoughts, he probably looks something like Gabriel Macht.  Whether he is scruffy or sensational, he is delish.  I’m content with this book boyfriend.



Who’s your book boyfriend this weekend?


National Library Week 2014

Happy National Library Week!

Earlier this week, I had this conversation (again) as I was introduced to a friend-of-a-friend who explained I worked for the Library Foundation.

“Boy, I bet the Library is really struggling because of eBooks.”

“No,” I said. “Not really. The Library isn’t going anywhere.”

National Library Week started in the late 1950s because people were all up in arms that radio and TV were going to spell the demise of libraries.

To be clear, it’s 2014 now and libraries are still here. I’d lay good money on the idea that in 2070 or so, libraries will still be around, even as we have this conversation over and over that eBooks do NOT mean the demise of libraries.

Will they look different? Sure. In the 1950s (heck, through the 80s and 90s when I was in public school), I used a CARD CATALOG card catalogto find the books I needed for school projects. I couldn’t bring a beverage into the library because it might get spilled on the books. We used ZIP disks for saving high school newspaper pages because those disks would hold 2GB. The idea that I would daily carry around devices that can hold 8 to 16 times that much data was science fiction.

Libraries are one of the most important places for both preserving the past and pushing into the future. Today, there’s a Google Glass demonstration happening at Central Library. Twenty years ago, we probably never imagined that the library would be checking out eBooks. In 20 years, we might be able to check out wearables (or whatever is next) from the library. On the 6th floor of the Indy Library, there’s a leaf from a Gutenberg Bible. Old and new, together.

Here’s some good news about libraries/reading, from Pew research:

  • 95 percent of Americans in a Pew survey say that libraries are important to promote reading and literacy.
  • More than 85% of 16-17 year-olds read at least one book in 2012. The majority of those were print books.
  • Those under age 30 are just as likely as older adults to visit the library, browse the shelves and check out books.

Still, even while the stats are good, I want to offer a few challenges for all of us.

  • Don’t just buy the eBook; download it from your library. Even if it’s 2 a.m.
  • Attend a Library program. There’s so much more happening inside the building. Borrow a friend’s kid if you have to and go to story time.
  • If you’re already a library lover, consider becoming a donor. (Sorry, I can’t help wear my job hat sometimes.) Truth is, I was a library donor before I started fundraising for them. If you love story time or computer classes or books or whatever service you use most, become a Friend of your Library.

national library week



Thursdays keep sneaking up on me and finding me without blog posts and today is no different.

It’s not an Arthur Dent-ish “I never did get the hang of Thursdays” reaction, more of a Monday to Wednesday went whooshing by in a lot of projects, emails, and life and I’m not getting to the blog on time.

However, things are going smashingly at The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation! So, I’m off to get things done.

But first, a little story:

I was shopping with a friend on Sunday and I tried on this awesome pair of suede shoes (they didn’t really fit right but they were super cute) and I said to my friend, “These are really hipster shoes.”

“You wear glasses and cardigans and work for a Library,” she responded.

“Oh,” I said.



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Library savings


I always knew that I would go broke if I bought all the items I borrowed from the library.

For the day job, I found this great calculator on the Poseyville Carnegie Public Library’s website that lets you get a dollar value for your library loans.

Using the library for books (both print and digital), CDs, movies, audiobooks (both physical and digital) saves me $371.55 every month.

That’s $4458.60 per year. 

While I’ve always loved the library, I’ve been an avid library user since 2003 (coincidence that this is when I finished graduate school? I think not…) So, in the past decade, that’s $44,586.

The truth is, I consume media far faster from the library than I would if I had to shell out money for all of it. I would never take a chance on so many CDs and I wouldn’t buy the DVDs of TV shows that I check out. And the reality is, I still buy some books, and some music and occasionally a DVD. A library doesn’t replace buying things, it augments it, or helps me make better choices because I’ve previewed a material first.

I’m a fundraiser for a library, so this where I pitch making a donation to your library in appreciation for the value they provide for all of us bookworms. I can’t help it. I was a library donor before I became a library fundraiser (… gah, that sounds like the old Hair Club for Men commercials…)

Think about what you get from your library and what you’ve saved. If you’re like me, even before finding the calculator, you probably know that giving back a little won’t ever balance it out.


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Every Library and Museum in America, Mapped

Hey Starbucks and McDonald’s, libraries and museums have you beat. Maybe knowledge really is power.

Every Library and Museum in America, Mapped.



Judging a personal library

For the weekend, enjoy this beautiful post about unearthing treasures in an unwieldy number of personal library books.


The only card you’ll ever need

I’m not talking about a VISA.

September is Library Card Sign-up month. And while it won’t buy you dinner like a credit card would, you won’t have to pay it off later. In fact, you’ll have invested in yourself through all the resources a library has to offer — from books to movies to classes to great community space.

I distinctly remember standing at the Children’s Department circulation desk of the main branch of the Stark Country District Library — with my dad — getting my first library card. I remember going back there with him a few years later to get my young adult card with the special sticker he signed, allowing me to check out anything in the library. Even books from the adult section. (For the record, maybe Ludlum’s Bourne books aren’t the best choice for a HS freshman to read…)

After five years here, my key chain library card is about worn out. They offered me a new one and I turned it down, because I have my library card number memorized. Memorized. I don’t have my credit card number memorized; or my BFFs’ telephone numbers.

Visa may say it’s everywhere I want to be. But, Visa won’t get me to Bag End, or the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I need my library card for that.

What’s your favorite place you’ve gone, thanks to your library card?