31 December 2008

2009 Agreements Due

Don't forget to return your 2009 agreements as soon as possible! Things are always hectic around the holidays, but it is important that we know who is participating in 2009. We're assuming current participants are re-upping, unless we hear otherwise!

Fax your agreements in to 253.4808, or return by mail to Post Office Box 264, Middlebury, 05753. Be sure to contact Stephanie at schase[at]stowelibrary.org with any questions, or if you didn't receive an agreement.

30 December 2008

Welcome Round Three Members

As many of you know, we are in the process of signups for Round Three, estimated to be patron ready in February 2009. Please welcome the following libraries to the Listen Up! Vermont project:

Bent Northrup Memorial Library, Fairfield
Fairlee Public Library
Flood Brook Union School, Londonderry
Georgia Public Library
Hartland Public Library
Mark Skinner Library, Manchester
Martha Canfield Library, Arlington
Middletown Springs Public Library
Reading Public Library
Platt Memorial Library, Shoreham
South Burlington Community Library
South Hero Community Library
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum

29 December 2008

Digital Library 101 and Reports trainings

In preparation for Round Three, we have trainings scheduled for:

Digital Library 101s –

Tuesday January 20th at 10am EST

Wednesday January 21st at 11am EST

Reports --

Tuesday January 20th at 3pm EST

As in the past, these trainings will be conducted using ReadyTalk, so all you need is a computer that's online and a phone that you can be on at the same time. There's no need to RSVP -- just show up! Please email Stephanie at schase[at]stowelibrary.org if you need the passcode information.

15 December 2008

Troubleshooting Question: Logging in

A librarian asked me if other folks have had a similar issue:

"Wondering if you have seen the problem I am having. I sign in as a patron, say their number is: 114. Then if I sign out, and try to sign in as another patron, say 115. It automatically goes to patron 114. It doesn't give me the chance to sign in as someone else. Any ideas?"

I know we've come up against this before -- at a school, where the Librarian is handling and demonstrating downloads, and at public library demos. Can anyone share what they did to get around it, aside from clearing out the cache?

08 December 2008

Promotional Materials

Don't forget -- there's lots of promotional materials available for Listen Up! Vermont. You can even order custom materials directly from OverDrive (let me know at schase[at]stowelibrary.org if you need contact information). For example, they've made us a nice custom poster, which you can order direct. If you can edit PDFs, you can change the Library name on the poster and print.

In our handy Box widget, you'll find a great introductory handout created by Amy Grasmick at Randolph (intro handout.doc or .pdf), a generic press release by David Clark from Middlebury (downloadables march 2008.doc), and a generic press release put together by OverDrive (Green Mountain Digital Library Consortium.doc). You'll still find our logos, small business cards, and some standard materials from OverDrive in the widget -- OverDrive has a great handout with instructions, too, called "trifold.pdf" Look too for their "Best Practices" handout -- on page 4, there is a great photo showing how one library circulates their mp3 players. I never thought of nestling it in foam!

We'll also be ordering more bookmarks for Consortium members in 2009. Let us know if you'd like some now -- I've still got one box!

05 December 2008

More on mp3 Players

I wanted to share these results, collected by Susan in Manchester, in addition to Cindy's. Sorry for any duplication!

Hi Publics,

As we prepare to join ListenUp, we're considering whether or not to have portable players available for loan. Anybody else do this? If so, what kind do you have, and do you require a damage deposit? It would seem to make sense to buy players that can handle both WMA and mp3 files, and from my limited research the biggest names are the various models of Creative Zen and SanDisk players. Even if you don't offer loaners, I'd be glad to hear any feedback (positive or negative) on portable players. I'm cross-eyed from information overload! Thanks!

Mark Skinner Library
P.O. Box 438
Manchester, VT 05254
802) 362-2607

We bought a Sansa Clip and a Creative Zen Stone. They were each about $30 at the time (some colors are cheaper than others!), both are 1GB. We put them in CD cases with multiple sleeves so they also hold directions and cable. We do not provide earbuds, patron must supply their own. We do not require a damage deposit. It's been nice to have them for several reasons. Some people just want to try them out before they buy one. Some people who have one but are having trouble getting it to work, can try ours out to see if the problem is with their player or not. So far we haven't had any trouble.

Kimball Public Library
67 Main St.
Randolph, VT 05060

We have 4 Creative Zen Stone players and they seem to work fine. Good luck!

Jill Tofferi, Fletcher Memorial Library

I went for inexpensive and bought three SanDisk players from Overstocks.com for about $28 each. I had previously bought an RCA player from Demco which isn't as good and cost more than twice as much. Because they are relatively inexpensive I haven't asked for deposits. So far everyone has treated them very kindly. We are a small library and only a few people have tried borrowing an MP3 player so far. The main problems I see with them: 1) the screen is too small for chapter titles, so time can be wasted trying to locate and start the next chapter (solution is to load all of the chapters at one time so they go on to the player in order); 2) no bookmarks to keep your place (solution is counterintuitive, the way to keep your place is to turn the player off, then it will start right where you stopped, if you use pause you'll lose your place). I'm not going to bother with the particular model name as things change so fast they may not be available anymore anyway.

Oh, one more problem: if you download on one computer, and then try to remove the files on another computer it may not work. You might not be able to see the files at all, making it impossible to erase them. Solution is to reformat the SanDisk player, which removes the files but doesn't affect anything else. Weird.

Deborah (
Warren PL)

I have three portable players, donated by my Friends of the Library group. They are all Creative Zen Stone players, which were about $35 at amazon.com. I don't do anything different when people check them out -- they are cheaper than most audio books anyway -- and I figure if they get broken, it's likely the end of that unless the Friends agree to purchase some more. The Creative Zen Stone players are like the iPod shuffles, in that they don't do anything complicated (they have about four buttons), but they also don't have a display screen. I know people have been happy with the next product up (which I forget the name of), which does have a little display screen. It might be worth asking the schools listserv -- I do know many Listen Up! schools have purchased players for student use.

Stephanie Chase
Stowe Free Library

We have 3 Sandisk Sansa clips that we loan out. They are relatively easy to use – nothing fancy –and I think go for about $40 each.We don’t require a deposit. We do have an MP3 borrowing policy that it includes a line about liability in the case of damage, and the policy goes out with the MP3 player. We have an age minimum and we limit borrowing to our own town’s patrons (i.e., no homecard or out of town; also no ILL). Our players are catalogued like our books and check out in Follett.The players don’t circulate a lot, but they are a nice service for the people who do borrow them. Our biggest challenge is the technology part. Because the players’ circulation is limited, we don’t work with them often – that means when there’s a support question, we are not always able to give a quick answer. Also, our library security software doesn’t always allow transfer to the MP3 after downloading from overdrive, and we haven’t yet fixed that problem. All that’s to say: we have more work to do to get the MP3s to be a ship-shape service to our patrons.

Ginger @ Burnham in Colchester

03 December 2008

new MARC records

Are you adding audiobook records to your catalog? There are new MARC records for our most recently acquired audiobooks. The latest file is in the box widget is grmlc-20081119a.mrc

A tidbit for all

I love when I get emails like this:

"I have not been a fan of audio books but...last weekend I asked my daughter if she would remove the Overdrive software from her computer so I could do the whole thing on my own, using her account. It worked so well! I selected a book and actually enjoyed listening to it on my MP3 as I walked the dog this week. I can't wait for our library to have Listen Up! now!"


01 December 2008

A round up of notes on circulating mp3 players

Below are answers Cindy from Cobleigh received about lending MP3 players, and posted on VALSPub:

I have two of them. Surprisingly not too many people have borrowed them. I have a two week lending period, but with the idea that people can renew (even by phone) and if there is no one waiting the can have it longer. It is the only thing I do charge overdue fine for. Again because of lack of demand, this has not been an issue. I definitely require that people provide their own ear buds. I also purchase the cable that allows the MP3 player to be plugged into a car that has an auxiliary cable.

Lisa Daudon
Starksboro Public Library

The Dorset Library bought 6 Creative Stone Zen 2GB players and have them in zip lock bags with barcodes, earphones, etc. People are free to use their own earbuds. They may be borrowed for a 3 week period. No charge, no deposit.
Gail Woll

We have two that we lend out (also without earbuds). At Stephanie Chase's suggestion, we put them in CD cases: player in one sleeve, directions in another sleeve. They are barcoded and have a catalog record, so they can be reserved. We lend them for 3 weeks.

Kimball Public Library
67 Main St.
Randolph, VT 05060
(802) 728-5073

From Warren:

We have four of them, one RCA and the other three SanDisk. We put them into old videocassette cases with a hunk of foam. We cut out a little hole for the player and included the cable to hook up to the computer. We are still on a manual system, so no barcodes. They go out for two weeks but can be renewed as long as we don't run out of them. If we start running short of meeting demand we'll ask people to bring them back in. So far, not a problem. The worst thing is the lack of bookmarks. I'd love to see an MP3 player designed specifically for audiobooks--these are mainly for music and they don't work all that well.

Hi, We're just getting ready to loan MP3 players. We're barcoding them and adding them to the collection. Check-out will probably coincide with the loan period for Listen Up! Vermont. I don't think we'll ask for a deposit since we have other materials that we loan that cost as much as the players.
from Brown Public Library

Dear Cindy

We do loan out MP3 players. We have a lending period of one week and patrons are required to provide their own headphones. Our solution to barcoding and storing the players was to put them in individual VHS hard plastic cases. We created artwork that shows a picture of the MP3 player, the barcode number, information on how to use the player, and what each case includes. This helps us to double check it every time one is checked out/in.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.


Katie Martin-Woodard

Circulation Assistant

Pierson Library