Thursday, September 22, 2011

Florida Association of Museums conference 2011

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of leading a panel of presenters at the annual Florida Association of Museums (FAM) conference over in Tampa. The four of us shared about the unique situations in which museum libraries find themselves, smashed between the two similar but disparate worlds of museums and libraries. It was so much fun. I love conferences, and I remembered that I really love to share with others. I love talking about libraries with other librarians, but I love even more talking about libraries with people that are not librarians. I love sharing ideas and hearing ideas and re-energizing myself and others for the banal tasks we have to do every day. It was great. I only wish that I could have stayed for the whole conference, but budgets are what they are. I was able to get in to the lunch yesterday and hear the keynote speaker. He challenged the listeners to push limits, look for audiences outside the norm, and take risks. Great advice for any business.

For part of the take-away of our presentation, I compiled a list of library resources. During the conversations our panel had, I discovered that many museum professionals that find themselves working in a museum library are not aware of the wealth of information available for training, grants, and general reference. I decided to include my list here. It is in no way complete. I tried to keep it to one page, front and back, so there were many resources that I was unable to include.

We're not all librarians, but what are some of your favorite go-to resources for what you do?

Library Resources for the Museum Professional

Compiled by: Joy M. Banks, Librarian, Anton Brees Carillon Library, Bok Tower Gardens
for Florida Association of Museums, Sept. 20, 2011

General Websites
Florida State Library Resources for Librarians – A source for resources too numerous to list including state wide job postings, a registry of libraries in the state (be sure to register yours!), information about grants, contact information for regional library consortia, and general resources to improve library services.

Library of Congress – The LOC website is filled with rich information for libraries and archives. Check out the sites dedicated to preservation (, building digital collections (, and their general librarians and archivists resource page (

LISNews – A great source for the latest in news and blogs related to libraries and library services. Sign up for their email digest to get summaries of stories sent straight to you.

IMLS Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills – While this initiative took place during 2010-2011, the resources on this website include self-assessment tools to see how an institution rates with 21st century skills and a report that includes case reports and the vision for libraries and museums in the future. Check out the rest of the IMLS website for grant opportunities.

Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science – One stop dictionary for defining all of those acronyms that fill library and information science vocabulary. A great way to help you help others understand the value of what you do.

Resources for Museum and Curatorial Librarians – a general listing of both electronic and print resource for librarians. Many of the resources are geared towards art institutions.

Special Libraries Association – For best library practice, networking, and finding colleagues in similar library situations. Of particular interest may be the Florida & Caribbean Chapter (, the Museum, Art, and Humanities Division (, and the Solo Division (

Library of Congress Catalog – a great reference to find MARC records and call number.

Library of Congress Authority file – a definitive reference for finding authorized subject headings, name authority headings, and uniform titles.

OCLC – One of the largest consortia of library in the world with over 72,000 member libraries. Their website includes great resources for bibliographic standards, training (many of them free), and a long list of helpful listservs to which you can subscribe. – This is the open version of OCLC’s extensive, international WorldCat database. It’s a great resource to see who else has books you have or who has books your patrons may need.

Library of Congress guide to Library Discussion Lists:
IFLA guide to Library Discussion Lists:

The following list is in no way complete but includes lists of general interest.
Fl-lib Listserv - This list is devoted to messages and discussions relating to the library community in Florida. Participation in the list is open to anyone, anywhere.

AutoCat – For all your cataloging questions. If they can’t answer you, they know someone who can.

Circplus – Library circulation and related issues.

LIBJobs – A mailing list for librarians and information professionals seeking employment and employers wishing to advertise their jobs.

Libref-L – Discussion of library reference issues.

DigLib – A discussion list for digital library researchers and librarians.

Wateren, Jan van der. The importance of museum libraries. INSPEL 33 (1994)4, pp. 190-198.

Continuing Education
Lifelong Education at Desktop (LE@D) – Offerings from the University of North Texas for professional development of librarians. Some are offered for free (sign up for their e-newsletter) and some are more in-depth for a fee. All are online.

Other sources for free and low cost library training include OCLC, regional consortia (, professional organizations, and schools with LS programs

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back to Crafty

Let's just call the last month and a half of silence a Summer break and get this thing rolling again.

Life has been keeping me busy with future planning at work, future planning with the Florida & Caribbean Chapter of SLA, and a little future planning at home. Unfortunately, all that future planning didn't leave me much time or desire to reflect on what's happening in the here and now. I'd just like to take a moment and update what few faithful readers I may have left on my current crafting project.

Back in 2003, my mom thought it would be a great idea to make matching Christmas pj's for me, my sister, and her. Aren't we cute?

For the next few years, she continued this tradition, expanding her repertoire to include my nieces, sister-in-law, brother, dad, and husband. After a few years, it was just too many pajamas. A while back, I started thinking about all that flannel going to waste in her drawer. Florida climate being what it is, there isn't much call for long sleeve flannel nightgowns even in the dead of winter. She was glad to make room in her drawers and gave me her nightgowns to turn into a quilt.

You probably thought I was going to post a picture of the completed quilt next. Fooled you!

I finally have all the squares cut from the three nightgowns. Can I also just say at this point that I detest cutting fabric. I'll even go one step further and say I loathe cutting fabric. I am convinced I am not an avid quilter simply because of the amount of fabric that one must cut before sewing begins. So. There you have it. I also have additional fabric from another year that I didn't even bother cutting plus a pair of pj pants that Jeff no longer wears, but with over 300 squares, I think I'm good for now. I didn't really think about making a tutorial for this until I was just about done with all my cutting, so bear with me a bit.

The first step was deconstructing the nightgowns to get the most use of the material without loosing my mind. I decided to just cut off the seams rather than rip them out. I started by cutting up the sides, cutting off the sleeves, and cutting the shoulder seams. I didn't bother trimming off the hem of the sleeves or shoulders, but I did cut off the neck line. The finished product looked something like this:
I chose to make 5 inch squares for my quilt mostly because of the the width of the sleeves (just over 15 inches at the narrowest point). I wasn't too concerned with grain and all that since I'm using scrap fabric. Just make a straight cut somewhere, and go from there. There are about a million tutorials online for cutting fabric, but I found this one on Make and Takes pretty useful.

Oh, and since you're using old nightgowns, be sure to iron the fabric really well after you detach all the seams and before you start cutting your blocks.

I started with the sleeves, cut long strips 5 inches wide and then cut the strips into 5 inch blocks. For the body of the nightgown, I folded the fabric in half to create a straight edge before trimming. While folded in half, I cut the material into the 5 inch strips. I layered these strips on top of each other (I only did 2 layers) and then proceeded to make my 5 inch squares. Twice as fast, twice as fun? Maybe. All of the scraps, I set aside to make my 1 inch squares. I followed the same method to do the inch squares, but they are just tinier. Here are my piles of squares:

Each nightgown gave me over 100 5 inch squares, but your results would all depend on the size of the nightgowns and the size of the squares you cut. I have no idea how many 1 inch squares I'll get because I'm still cutting them. Did I mention my feelings toward cutting?

I am now working on sewing together the 1 inch squares into several mini postage stamps quilts so that I can imbed them in the quilt. I am using a denim quilt I made many years ago as a model.

That's me, my sister, and dad a million years ago. You can see that the seams are frayed and fuzzy. I chose this method since flannel is nice and cozy, will fray in a similar way as denim, and you rarely need anything any thicker than a single layer quilt in Florida.

Here is the process I am using for the postage stamp portion of the quilt. I did a little geometry and figured that I would need to make these 8 x 8 squares with a little less than a 1/4 inch seam between each block. That gets the square down to the 5" x 5" size so that I'll be able to sew them easily into the quilt. Here we are in process and with my first completed block:

You can see on the right, the last row I've already sewn the blocks together. I am doing this part of the sewing by hand (I'm pretty good at judging the 1/4 inch seam allowance). Sew the blocks WRONG sides together (I know, it's a bit counter-intuitive) so the seams will be on the top of the quilt. My sewing machine is a bit... persnickity, and I didn't want to deal with the hassle. You can see how much the size of the block shrinks after you sew it. Once all the rows are sewn in this method, I took them upstairs to iron them. Alternate the direction of the seams so the rows will fit nicely together. Sew the rows together wrong sides together with the same size seam on your machine that you used while sewing by hand. The completed block is on the left.

I am taking the time to arrange each block, but as you can see, since only about 1/2 inch square is visible after everything is sewn together, you can pretty much just combine the blocks in any way you wish. I haven't quite figured out if I'm going to make the completed quilt 10 x 10 or 8 x 8. We'll have to see. I was hoping that I could submit it to Joann's Quilt Your Colors Contest since my mom did buy all the fabric at that store. After reading the entry requirements, though, you have to show the receipts of purchase. I doubt that she still has those :-) Besides, this will be more country comfort than work of art.

I'll be sure to post pictures when I'm done. Hopefully before Christmas.