Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Welcome Evergreen!

Happy Tuesday! MVLC's Great Memorial Day Data Migration is over, and the new system is live! You can try it out at lowell.mvlc.org. And please, let us know what you think by sending an email to mloref@mvlc.org. We appreciate your continued patience and understanding while we work to address any challenges the new system might present in the coming weeks.

It looks like we're not the only library consortium to make the switch to Evergreen over the weekend. Bibliomation in Connecticut made the switch to the open source integrated library system too! There must be something in the late spring air.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Pardon the disruption

Just a reminder, the MVLC will be migrating our data over to a new system over the holiday weekend. So, the current catalog will be disabled at the end of the day (9pm) Friday. And we'll be going live with the new system Tuesday morning. So, over the weekend we will not have any online library catalog for you to search for materials (books, audiobooks, dvds, etc) or to place requests for said materials or to request renewals. We will be open on Saturday from 9am-5pm and you can come into the library to check out books or return them but we will not be able to place requests or reserve museum passes. Also, our online databases will be affected.

We appreciate your patience while we take our systems offline this weekend to implement the new system. Perhaps more importantly, we appreciate in advance, your patience with us as we learn to master the new system. This upgrade, along with any large system upgrade comes with unforeseen challenges and a natural adjustment period for all users (staff and patron alike) and we want to thank you in advance for your patience and understanding.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Friends Booksale isn't over yet...

Thanks to the dedicated volunteers and Greater Lowell bibliophiles, the Annual Friend's Booksale this past weekend was a great success. But those of you who missed it (or those of you who want even more!), don't forget there's a Second Chance Sale coming up this Saturday from 9am-1pm at the Senior Center. The Friends want to sell everything...so there will be even better deals than before. You'll want to stop by.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Library will be closed on Memorial Day - Monday, May 30, 2011

In observance of Memorial Day, the Library will be closed Monday, May 30, 2011. The library will reopen 9AM Tuesday, May 31, 2011.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fresh Fish Anyone?

For those seafood lovers out there (I'm looking at you, Linda Greenlaw event attendees). Here is some exciting news from the City Manager's Blog:

"Cape Ann Fresh Catch (CAFC)- Community Supported Fishery (CSF) will be joining this year’s Lowell Farmer's Market LOWELL FARMERS MARKET with a fresh seafood deliveries set to start at the beginning of July. The fish is locally caught, fresh and delicious and the price is right—this program offers a sustainable and fun way to try something interesting and new this summer! Along with unparalleled freshness and flavor, this fish also comes with an added benefit: peace of mind...Deliveries are scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and as whole fish or fillets to best suit your family’s needs. You can pick up your fish at THE LOWELL FARMERS MARKET at JFK PLAZA on FRIDAYS from 4-6pm. Please see the CAFC website for more information on the program and to sign up for the new season: www.capeannfreshcatch.org. The program has gained national press attention, for more see this article in Saveur Magazine.

Before CAFC can come to Lowell, at least 50 people must express an interest in signing up by emailing Lowell@capeannfreshcatch.org be sure to spread the word so this great program can come to Lowell!!!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The New Library Catalog will Go Live May 31st

Here's an update on the New "Evergreen" Catalog:

The Pollard Library along with the other libraries of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, will be launching a new catalog over Memorial Day weekend. The current catalog will shut down at the end of the day on Friday, May 27, 2011. Patrons will be able to check materials in and out at the library from 9am-5pm on Saturday, May 28th but they will not be able to search the catalog or place holds on materials or book museum passes over the course of the Memorial Day weekend. Access to some online databases may also be disrupted. The new system is scheduled to go live on Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Access to the statewide Virtual Catalog was shut down May 17th.

Any holds previously placed on materials should carry over to the new system. Users will find that their personally-created lists in the bookbags will be available in the “My Accounts” area of the new catalog. Library users will enjoy some new features with the Evergreen system, such as the ability to share their bookbags with others, more flexibility in creating user passwords, and the ability to update their street and e-mail addresses. Patrons will also have more flexibility and control over their catalog searches with the new system, including setting account preferences to search the Pollard Library only or MVLC as a whole. If you want to try it out here is a link to the demo version of the new catalog -- (FOR TESTING PURPOSES ONLY).

Coming attractions over the next few months include an improved catalog design, a feature allowing users to track their reading history, and a version of the catalog usable on mobile devices.

The Merrimack Valley Library Consortium will be the first large library system in Massachusetts to use Evergreen. The move to Evergreen is part of a larger project that will see MVLC, along with two other Massachusetts’ library consortia, NOBLE and C/W MARS, using Evergreen by early 2012. These three library networks encompass approximately half of the public libraries in the Commonwealth along with a number of academic libraries. The project includes locally-sponsored development funded with a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and by participating libraries.

We appreciate your patience while we all get used to the new system and work to utilize the great new features. If you have any questions or concerns please don't hesitate to ask a librarian or email mloref@mvlc.org.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Philip Roth wins the Man Booker International Prize

It was announced today that Philip Roth has won the International Man Booker Prize. This is a biannual prize given to a writer for their body of work as opposed to the annual Booker Prize given for a single book.

Philip Roth is the author of many many books including Pulitzer Prize winning American Pastoral. Some of his other famous novels are Portnoy's Complaint, Goodbye, Columbus, and the series of novels featuring favorite fictional narrator Nathan Zuckerman (American Pastoral was one of these). Roth was one of only three writers to have his works canonized in their lifetime by the Library of America series. And he's not stopping yet, his latest book Nemesis was published just last year.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Bookish Weekend

Friends Sorting Books at Donation Drop Off
Saturday, May 7, 2011

First of all, we would like to thank Nancye Tuttle for her article in last Thurday's Stepping Out section of the Lowell Sun. The article covered a lot of information about local area library booksales and our own Friends were fortunate enough to have been featured prominently.

So, don't forget, the Annual Friends Booksale is this Saturday from 9am-3pm at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway St, Lowell, MA.

And also, don't Forget, Friday is the Friends' Preview Night. Dues paying members of the Friends are invited to join us for first dibs on the cream of the crop of this sale. There will be light refreshments for this event. 5:30-7:30PM Friday May 20th at the Lowell Senior Center.

There are some real deals to be had at the sale and the money raised ultimately goes to the library for programs and services. For example, the Friends buy many of the library's museum passes which allow free or discounted entry for our patrons into many New England attractions (everything from the Boston Children's Museum and the New England Aquarium, to Zoo New England and the Museum of Fine Arts). These passes end up providing a great cost saving to our patrons. For example, two of our most popular passes are the Museum of Science and the Aquarium. Over the past year, they were used 237 and 206 times respectively. The cumulative average savings for patrons who used these two passes (depending on whether they used the 'maximum' number of entries available on the pass) totals more than $15000. For more information about what passes are available and how to reserve them please visit: http://pollardml.org/passes.html

The Friends also sponsor library programming. Such as our highly anticipated Summer Reading Kick-Off Event with the Pumpernickel Puppets, Wednesday, June 22nd @ 7PM (Free tickets available June 1st). For more information about the Friends and to find out how you can help you can email friendsofthepml@yahoo.com.

And in case the Annual Booksale only whetted your bookish appetite this weekend you should head down to UML's, O'Leary Library on Sunday, May 22nd at 2pm for a special book release party for three new 'Lowell' books being published by Loom Press. Two books of poetry and one of testimony. Welcome, all.

I would also be remiss if I didn't remind you we have the perfect lead in to this book related weekend—Steven O'Connor will be reading from his new book The Spy In the City Of Books Thursday, May 19th @ 7PM in the Ground Floor Meeting Room of the library. Don't miss it.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Lots to Do This Weekend!

Lowell TeleCommunications is having their grand re-opening Friday from 5:00-8:00 at their new space at 246 Market St. And, at the same time, Doors Open Lowell will begin. So, while you're touring Lowell's hidden architectural gems, stop by LTC to check out the new space and enjoy some entertainment and refreshment.

Doors Open Lowell continues Saturday and we'll be showing a matinee of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull at 1PM. And there's some exciting stuff planned for Saturday night as well.

Powerspeak Languages Now Available at the Pollard

Powerspeak Languages is a new online language learning course that uses a variety of methods to engage learners. The core languages available are Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and ESL for Spanish-speakers. Each course uses a variety of multi-sensory activities to take full advantage of the brain’s ability to acquire language. Designed specifically for use by the diverse audience of library users, the courses include a combination of scored online activities, exercises, lessons and games. Course lessons are bound together with rich graphics, audio, video, music and an intuitive way to check answers and track progress. Learners find a friendly structure that introduces vocabulary and are challenged to practice speaking and writing in a variety of interactive modules designed to simulate real conversations with native speakers. You can find it, along with the other Pollard Library Databases on our website. Ask a librarian if you have any questions, we're here to help!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Non-Fiction Book Club! The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Thursday, June 2, 2011 @ 6:30PM

The Pollard's Non-Fiction Book Club is officially cooking with gas. Last month we had a smaller group, but no less spirited discussion of Jill Lepore's A is for American: Letters and Other Characters in the Newly United States. And now we turn our sights to June's selection: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The subject of this book first came to my attention last year during a RadioLab podcast episode on Famous Tumors. Ms. Skloot's critically acclaimed bestseller tells the story of Henrietta Lacks and her immortal HeLa cells. Ms. Lacks died in 1951 from cervical cancer, and 60 years later cells from her tumor are still reproducing in petri-dishes around the world. They've been on the moon, and were used to test the effect of cells during a nuclear explosion. If you've ever had a flu shot or a vaccine, you may have gotten some yourself. The most compelling part of this book however, is the fact that Ms. Lack's family only found out that science was using Henrietta's cells 20 years after her death. Ms. Skloot tells a surreal story of the family coming to terms science's use of their mother's cells, the ethical issues surrounding the use of human tissue in research, and the human story of the woman behind the famous HeLa cells. Read up and come down. Join the discussion, Thursday, June 2nd @ 6:30 in the Ground Floor Community Room. Free and open to the public. Snacks served.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MP3 Audiobook CDs

MP3 Audiobook CD's? What does that mean? Well, you probably know that an MP3 is a digital form of audio file that enables us to walk around with thousands of songs held in a device the size of a pack of cards (or smaller). The compactness of this technology has finally transferred to the world of audiobooks. So, instead of a 7 or 8 disc audio CD set, we now have entire books available on 1 MP3 audiobook CD. No more, changing CDs in the car, or carrying around bulky cases. You'll have to make sure your CD player can read MP3s most recently released CD players have the capability to play MP3 CDs, check your owners manual to be sure. The MP3 CDs are interfiled with our traditional audiobooks on the First floor of the library. Ask a library staff member for assistance if you have any questions. Happy listening!

Author Event - Stephen O'Connor - The Spy In the City of Books - Thursday, May 19th 7PM

The Pollard Library is pleased to welcome Stephen O'Connor next Thursday, May 19th @ 7PM to read from his latest book "The Spy In the City of Books" (Sons of Liberty Publishing). Mr. O'Connor is a well known and respected Lowellian and author, and he led a popular writing workshop last year at the Pollard. We're excited to have him back. This event is free and open to the public. For more information please contact the Community Planning Department at 978-970-4118 or email sthibodeau@mvlc.org.

Saturday Matinee - "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" - May 14th @ 1PM

Those of you who celebrated Star Wars Day last Wednesday (May, 4th...as in "May the Fourth Be With You"...) might already know that this Saturday, May 14th is George Lucas's birthday. Did you know it's also Cate Blanchette's. We thought we'd pay homage to both by showing a movie to which they each contributed their talents. So come on down for the latest action packed installment of the Indiana Jones series. Rated PG-13. 122 min. Saturday, May 14th @ 1PM. Ground Floor Community Room. This showing is made possible by The Friends of the Pollard Library.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Independent Film Night This Thursday, May 12th @ 6:30 - How I Ended This Summer - a film by Aleksei Popogrebsky

How I Ended This Summer (2010) - a film by Aleksei Popogrebsky. 130 min. Unrated.

We have a special treat for you this Thursday, May 12th @ 6:30PM. We're taking a trip with us to a place where winter never ceases—The Arctic Circle—and you thought winter was over! This latest film in our Thursday Night Independent Film Series is a psychological drama set in an meteorological station on an island far in the Russian arctic. The station has a staff of two men who have been given the job of recording readings from their radioactive surroundings. One of the men is a gruff seasoned vet and the other a college kid complete with mp3 player. But when the college kid gets some disturbing news that he decides for a while to keep from the vet the consequences of his decision are startling. This is a compelling study in human nature and a stripped down, almost allegorical story for the human condition.

The Pollard Library Independent Film series occurs the 2nd Thursday of every month! Please note: These Independent films are not rated by the MPAA and should be considered for mature audiences.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Snapshot Day Numbers!

The numbers are in for last month's Snapshot Day. On April 13, 2011 the Pollard Library took part in a National Library Week effort to document a day in the life of a library. The numbers and comments below are compiled from observational records from staff and an optional patron survey.

Snapshot Day Numbers:
Total Visits: 502
Total Circulation: 465
Interlibrary Loan Requests: 131
General Reference/Research requests: 142
Reference questions related to computers and printers: 18
Reader’s Advisory Questions answered: 37
Museum Pass Questions answered: 7
Tax Form Questions answered: 4
Attendance at programs: 44
Use of meeting rooms: 44
Use of Internet PC's: 223
Newly registered borrowers: 17

Optional Surveys completed: 95
From the surveys completed here are the number of patrons who listed as a reason for their visit:

Visit General: 45
Check items out: 60
Job Search: 13
Research: 33
Homework: 17
Use Internet/Library computers: 44
Interlibrary Loan: 17
Get a library card: 16
Get tax forms: 4
Attend a Class: 2
Attend a program: 13
Volunteer: 3
Use a quiet room: 2
Read newspaper: 3
Play chess: 1

Here is what people wrote in the feedback portion of the survey. I have corrected obvious spelling and grammatical errors but by and large remained true to the original message. The question on the survey read:

Other feedback is welcome:

  1. “The kids programs at the PML are awesome!”
  2. “I really like the library – I like the interlibrary loan”
  3. “The library is invaluable to me—for research and writing. Great collection and staff.”
  4. “Love this library. But the video collection is pathetic.”
  5. “I love the library, it helps me give my child an A. When it comes to making memories from the videos, books, down to puppets. Awesome place to be!!! Thank you.”
  6. “The library is the best thing Lowell and Massachusetts have to offer”
  7. “I have been coming to the library for over 50 years and it remains one of my favorite places in Lowell. Staff are always pleasant and helpful and the general atmosphere is equally pleasurable.”
  8. “My visits to the Pollard Memorial Library are always pleasant, as I receive service with a smile!”
  9. “More time to computer up to 1 hour. Also some employees are crast [sic]. Most are friendly and very helpful.”
  10. “Computer time is short. Cannot complete tasks.”
  11. “Enjoy being able to order items from other libraries.”
  12. “The workers are very polite”
  13. “Outstanding people.”
  14. “What ever they decide for the library program. They should keep this option available for current residents and children.”
  15. “In general, I have found the staff to be very helpful and informative, not just to me but to others. This is particularly so at the reference/research section.”
  16. “I believe the staff here is very friendly, and helpful. Always willing to answer questions and address me politely and professionally.”
  17. “Through the Interlibrary Loan section of the library, I was able to borrow the most recent edition of a physics textbook by name Conceptual physics, Paul Hewitt which has been very useful for me. Making use of the Library’s quiet reading room is such a great idea. Thank you, Pollard Memorial Library.”
  18. “Staff is pleasant and helpful”
  19. “Staff is pleasant and helpful”
  20. “The library is of crucial importance to the community. There are some great staff at the library. However recent difficulties expressed in the press are one sided and patrons in general suffer due to mis-perceptions that have been created. There are obvious staff issues that need to be acknowledged and addressed as well as the difficulties with a small percentage of patrons.”
  21. “The atmosphere is very pleasant. And the staff is very helpful.”
  22. “Great music and other media such as movies / books / DVDs. Great source of community activities and classes/programs. Awesome activities for children. Other historical activities throughout the year are awesome.”
  23. “Very quiet and relaxing library. Nice staff.”
  24. “This library is very helpful for me in terms of getting on the internet and doing homework.”
  25. “We love our public library!!”
  26. “Always enjoy working—environment friendly and helpful”
  27. “The library is a quiet place, most of the time, where I can go, relax and do my homework, research and studies in peace and serenity. Plus, not many people bother you, unless you’re doing something ridiculous. It’s a students’ paradise.”
  28. “Love the Lowell Library. Building is beautiful, librarians are accommodating and you always have what I need. Thank you.”
  29. “TTY is very old. We want to you suggest set up for the video phone only deaf people to the communications.”
  30. “In restrooms use electric dryers.”
  31. “Good place for me, interesting.”
  32. “Helpful – professional – informed.”
  33. “I like how the library is well ordered and the librarians are helpful and nice. If I could choose anywhere to be, I’d be here to focus on school and such.”
  34. “The library is great. Thank you.”
  35. “All your employees are very helpful and welcoming always bright and cheery”
  36. “Staff are very professional and proactive. They are an enormous asset to one of Lowell’s greatest assets.”
  37. “We love the Lowell Library’s history and stately beauty. Have used it since moving to Lowell in 1977. I love to see libraries in other places as well.”
  38. “I mostly use the website to get books rather than picking them off the shelf.”
  39. “The library is a quiet place to study”
  40. “Excellent help.”
  41. “The library is invaluable”
  42. “I have found the staff to be very helpful and pleasant. Beth is great with the children during youth programs. Love the children’s reference librarian. Thanks to everyone.”
  43. “Exceptional architecture. Pleasant staff.”
  44. “Parents don’t realize they can check puppets out.”
  45. “I love the library. To browse, read, just look….walk through the stacks reading whatever catches your eye.”
  46. “Staff is great. Should wear name tags.”
  47. “We do a weekly visit, my 2 year old grandson love this library. We also love story time.”
  48. “We found that getting DVDs for our small children helped us and them to come back every week without fail to get books also. Now they are older they get several books each a week and they still like the DVDs.”
  49. “Huge library fan—love getting items for free. Library staff is friendly and helpful!”
Thank you to everyone for your patronage, and for making 2011 Snapshot Day a success here at the Pollard and across the Commonwealth!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Updates Updates

Don't forget tomorrow is the first Thursday of the month. Which means two things.

1) We will have a delayed opening. The library will not be open to the public until 11AM so the library staff can have meetings and trainings. This delayed opening will happen on the first Thursday of each month. We apologize for any inconvenience.

2) Non Fiction book clubbers will be gathering tomorrow night to discuss the latest non-fiction gem. Jill Lepore's A is for American is up for tomorrow's discussion. The initial reaction to this book has not been warm but that doesn't mean we won't have a great conversation.

Also, Saturday is the last Book Donation Drop Off for the Annual Friends of the Library booksale. Meaning this is the last chance to donate books from your unwieldy collections for a good cause. I know there is a big banner in front of the library advertising this sale but please know: EVERYTHING will be happening at the Lowell Senior Center, 276 Broadway. So, bring your gently loved tomes this Saturday, May 7th from 9am-12pm to the Senior Center. Then come back to the Senior Center Saturday May 21st to buy some more books you might not need but surely want. And members of the Friends are also invited to a special Friend's Preview sale (with light refreshments) Friday, May 20th from 5:30-7:30 at the Senior Center.