Friday, August 21, 2015

What We Posted One Year Ago: Movies We Watched in 2014

Movies We Showed at the Library in 2014, a blog post from one year ago.

Did you miss one of our Third Thursday Movie Nights? All of the movies shown in 2014 are part of the library’s circulating collection and can be checked out.
January                       Shun Li and the Poet (Italian, Mandarin)
February                     Austenland (English)
March                         Aliyah (French)
April                            Broken (English)
May                             Clandestine Childhood (Spanish)
June                            Watchtower (Turkish)
July                              Son of the Bride (Spanish)
July                              Philomena (English)
July                              Barbara (German)
July                              The Hunt (Danish)                
August                        Caesar Must Die (Italian)
August                        Wadjda (Arabic)        
September                  The Lunchbox (Hindi, English)
October                      Chef (English)
November                   Words and Pictures (English)
December                   The Hundred Foot Journey (English)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Selecting Research Databases for the Library

Librarians are raised on selecting books,but database selection is another kettle of fish entirely.    Professional journals contain reviews of new and updated online research resources and comparisons to similar products.  Some databases are necessary because they have replaced commonly used print resources.  Like books, new or recommended databases are brought to our attention by patrons, visits to other libraries, professional development webinars and advertisements. 
Our database subscriptions, other than those provided through the New Jersey State Library, are reviewed annually before it is time to renew.  We consider usage, upgrades, competition, overlap with other resources and price. When we purchase a new database we try our best to promote it through in-house demonstrations, word-of-mouth to patrons, website advertising and an article to the local on-line paper.  Classes are held periodically to introduce the public to our electronic resources.  We normally give a database two years to prove its worth. Depending on the outcome of the review, some databases are eliminated completely or, depending on the content, a similar resource may be considered.
We request a staff demo or trial when a new database is being considered.  Staff will then spend time navigating around, clicking on buttons, uploading or downloading, and following links.  They will consider if the product fills an informational or instructional need and if it provides what is promised.
First impressions are important – is the user welcomed in or overwhelmed. Ease of navigation is equally important so that no one will become frustrated and feel the need to leave a trail of breadcrumbs.  The information housed in a database is only as important as a user’s ability to access it. 
Purchasing a database is more complicated and labor intensive than simply placing an order and waiting for a box to be delivered.  During the implementation period we work closely with the vendor in hopes of a smooth roll-out.  Questions about SIP, patron authentication methods, our ILS provider, and firewalls must be answered.  Are we paying for a defined number of seats or unlimited concurrent users?  Can the database only be used in-house or is remote access available?  Will the database cooperate with our aging LINUX system or should we wait for the installation of a Microsoft based system?  What about the logistics of staff training?  All of these questions must be answered.
A final and very important consideration in subscribing to a new database is the cost.  As our annual budget continues to decrease, adding a new resource normally involves canceling an existing subscription.  As an example, I am currently researching a new resource for language instruction which, if successful, could replace two existing databases and save money.  That would be a win-win for the budget – adding one site to be used by both children and adults.  At this point in the 2015 budget year, that savings will help us plan and possibly increase what we can offer in 2016.

-S. Bakos

To use databases from the Berkeley Heights Public Library from home, have your library card handy and go to these pages on our website to see lists of databases:
Upcoming Databases in September 2015:
Language learning database will be available remotely
Streaming TV, movies, music, books and more