Link Love- Dec 2013

Each month I share articles from the library world from the previous 30 days that were thought-provoking, informative, or just plain entertaining.  I’m a little late publishing my Link Love for December, but I think you’ll find these articles are still worth reading.  Enjoy!

I Can Totally Relate

Best Time-Saver
Unsubscribe from all your junk mail at once with (It takes a few minutes, but it’s well worth your time)

Funniest Trip Down Memory Lane

Best Conversation-Killer (in a good way)

Best Collection of Lesson Plans

Best Infographics
A Media Specialists Guide to the Internet with Are You a Social Librarian?

Did you read something note-worthy last month?  Please share in the comments below.  

Interview With a School Librarian: Libby Bergstrom

It’s been awhile since my last interview, so I’m happy to post my conversation with Libby Bergstrom. Libby is the librarian at IDEAS, and has spent many years working in school libraries overseas. She blogs at  I hope you’ll enjoy her interview as much as I did.

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Q. How did you get your start in libraries?

I decided I wanted to be a librarian back in third grade – because I thought they got to sit and read books all day! Of course, I learned differently but didn’t lose my love of libraries. I volunteered at a local elementary school library and paged at a public library in high school, worked in my college library, and since then have worked in a special library, public libraries and school libraries.

Q. You’re currently working overseas developing and creating libraries. What kind of impact has this cross-cultural work had on your faith?

Living and working overseas has helped me look at my faith through fresh eyes. I have realized that parts of my faith experience, while good and valid, are very cultural. My brothers and sisters in other parts of the world have taught me a lot about faith outside of America. Truth is constant; how we live out that truth is very much impacted by time and place. And of course, living in parts of the world where the events of the Bible actually happened definitely opens up greater understanding to Scripture.

Q. What do you think librarians in the West should know about libraries in developing nations?

Let me change the question a bit. I think librarians in general have the skills, mindset and passions to transfer what we do to less developed areas. We know how to find out what our patrons need/want and provide it in whatever format is most appropriate – whether that’s online or with “old-fashioned” physical books.

The bigger question is what people in general need to know about libraries in developing nations. Part of what motivated me to start the Global Reach Libraries project through IDEAS was seeing a lot of well-meaning non-librarians to start libraries overseas. They would often gather book donations, ship them to a location, help with some sort of initial set up, and then leave, not knowing that the books they’d brought sat unused because they were out-of-date and falling apart, there was no plan for ongoing support for the library, no library programs or promotion. The donors were happy, but the impact of the libraries was minimal.

One of the stories I often tell is about when I first started working with a school in Morocco. The school was 10 years old and I was their first trained librarian. The library had been started with a container of donated books sent from the states. Among the books I found on the library shelves that first year was one published in 1964 talking about someday when we go to the moon. Kids in developing countries deserve and NEED up-to-date, current information as much as American kids!

We librarians know there is a lot more to starting a library than collecting books. Someone needs to help the library become a place where people can learn and grow in all areas of their lives.

So, my challenge is for librarians, especially librarians of faith, to help educate our friends who are doing development and ministry work overseas and who want to start libraries. We need to be using our skills and gifting to make these libraries into places that will impact their users and their communities.

Q. Brag a bit! What library-related accomplishment are most proud of?

Most proud of??? That’s hard. I can point to “bigger” accomplishments, but I’m most proud when I’ve seen a child who used to hate books and reading get excited and WANT to check out a library book. And I’m excited when a group of 5th grade boys chooses to hang out in the library rather than go outside for recess, because then I know the library is a welcoming place. And when a middle school girl who rarely finishes a book tells me she loved Wanting Mor because there were Arabic words; it felt familiar and drew her in.

Q. Do you have any thoughts on how Christian librarians working overseas can be a light for Christ while respecting the local cultures and traditions?

As Jesus said in Matthew 7:12, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…” I start by thinking about how I want to be treated by those who don’t share my worldview or beliefs. Then I treat my patrons and co-workers in the same way. This means I listen well to them, I learn about what they think and feel, and then I enter into real friendships and conversations. Actually, the challenges and the joys are the same as when I worked in a public library in the states. The most important thing is just to be truly present and praying.

Q. What advice would you give to a librarian who is thinking about looking for work overseas?

First, take time to pray. Figure out where God is leading you. Then start looking for opportunities – they take many forms. International schools often need librarians; recently the national library in Qatar has been looking for librarians. And various ministry groups also know of opportunities. I work with IDEAS: International Development and Educational Associates and through my project, Global Reach Libraries, I know of several opportunities in libraries involved in transformational, hope-giving work. If you want to know more, check out the website or email me.

Q. Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about you and your work?

I’ve just started my own foray into the world of blogging, exploring issues related to global libraries. Please check out my blog and join in the conversation. I also send out a newsletter with updates on my work with Global Reach Libraries. Email me if you like to be added to my update list.

Many thanks to Libby for taking the time to talk with me during the busy holiday season.  Let me know if you’d like to be featured in an upcoming interview.  You don’t need to be a “professional” librarian to participate.  If you’re a Christian and have had school library experience, I want to interview you!

Link Love: November 2013

Each month I share some of my favorite links from the world of libraries and librarianship.  Enjoy!

Shameless Self-Promotion!

In case you missed it, I was featured on Joyce Valenza’s NeverEnding Search Blog on School Library Journal!  Never in my wildest dreams did I think my little blog would end up on hers.  Many thanks to Joyce for her kindness.  

Good News for Kindle Users

Library Journal with Amazon Launches New Program That Provides Readers to Early Access to Some Books

Interesting Article on Common Core & Readability

Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post with Common Core:  How Are Books Judged?

And the ‘Meanest Library’ Award Goes to…

Consumerist with You Can Go to Jail for an Overdue Library Book

Best. PowerPoint. Ever. 

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet with You Suck At PowerPoint

On My Christmas Wish List

Book Riot’s Quarterly Subscription Box

Great Slide Show on Weeding

Library Grits with Weeding Inspired Creativity

Favorite Infographic

The Busy Librarian with Major Decisions Infographic

2 Articles that Make Me Glad to Be a School Librarian Instead of a Public Librarian

Excellent News for Travelers With E-Readers!

CNET with FAA Green-Lights Gadget Use During Entire Flight

Best-Named Library Pinterest Board

Passive-Aggressive Library unMarketing

Most Useful Fundraising Post

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet with 10 Fundraising Ideas Without Having to Sell Products

Database Information Sheet: Free Printable

I love all the different databases my library has.  But sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the information I need to manage them.


I created this printable so I could keep all the important information I need for each database in one place.


FREE UN-EDITABLE PDF (click on image)


Even if you don’t have trouble keeping all this information organized in your head or in the cloud, I suggest you keep a hard copy documented somewhere.  It may come in handy in the event that you need a long-term substitute or if you leave your job.  You will save your sub or successor several hours of work if you provide them with all this information on one piece of paper.


You can download your own copy of the printable by clicking here or on the image above. Please let me know if you have difficulty downloading or accessing the printable.


Update 11/22/13: Many readers contacted me and asked me for an edit-able PDF that allows you to type into my printable forms.  I have created an fillable form which allows for saving or printing, but I had to purchase Adobe Reader Pro in order to do so.   I used my own personal funds, so in order to help me re-coup the cost I’m now selling the editable version. This is a “Pay What You Want” item, so feel free to enter whatever price works for you ($1 minimum).

Buy this on Selz
Sell digital downloads on Selz

 Let me know what you think about the printable!  Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.