Lost book makes its way back to state library after 40 years

Recently, after a 40-year, 10-month and 27-day absence, a long-missing item was finally returned to the Indiana State Library. Arriving in a United States Postal Service (USPS) box, the package was postmarked from Arlington, Virginia. The book inside was well-worn and much-used. As you can see in the lower right corner it must have also moonlighted as a coaster at some point. With a due date of Aug. 23, 1976, we can only image what an overdue fine would be back then. Today, we charge 25 cents a day for overdue books, which would make the fine $3,735.25.

The book? William Bast’s 1956 James Dean biography, which was published a year after the native Indiana actor’s death in a California auto accident. Bast was also Dean’s roommate at UCLA.

For now, the book goes back on the shelf with a flag for our conservator to find at a later date for repair work. As for the overdue fine, if there was circulation pardon that I could bestow, this would earn it. However, it had been missing for so long there is no way to trace who had it. Let this serve as a reminder to us all that it is clearly never too late to return an overdue library book. Even though it was due six years before I was born, I’m glad to see it back.

This blog post was written by Stephanie E. Smith, circulation supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the circulation supervisor at stsmith3@library.in.gov

DNR and Indiana State Library extend park pass program

The Indiana State Library (ISL) and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have agreed to extend the Annual Parks Pass Program for one more year. The passes will be sent to libraries as soon as they arrive in January.

Indiana Dunes State Park

ISL is thrilled to partner with DNR to continue to offer this program. ISL is purchasing one pass for each public library in every library district. Passes are limited to one pass per building and libraries may purchase additional passes through the DNR site for individual branches. The passes are non-transferable and DNR is again allowing libraries exceptions for these passes.

The passes can be checked out by library patrons and will provide access to Indiana’s 32 state parks and also to Indiana’s state forest recreation areas where entrance fees are charged.

This year, DNR would like libraries help to get direct feedback from the users of the passes. A user survey will be posted on ISL’s site so that libraries may print as needed. Libraries should send completed surveys to Wendy Knapp through InfoExpress throughout the year.

For more information on Indiana State Parks, please visit the DNR’s state parks page.

Video game collections in your library

Today we welcome guest blogger Eric Fisher of the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

After doing a presentation at the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) conference this this year, I thought I’d try to answer many common questions and considerations that a collection developer might face when considering circulating video games.

First, the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library does not circulate consoles. Your average console will run you anywhere from $200 to $450, or so, and consoles do not operate like they did several years ago. They are now essentially computers with proprietary operating systems. They usually require games to be installed off of the disk and often have game patches that need to be downloaded. They are also usually tied to an individual’s game account (e.g. a PlayStation Network account or an Xbox Live account). Therefore, the console itself usually contains some level of personally identifiable user information. It would be a bit like circulating laptops to people to take home for days at a time and allowing them to be able to install software on them at their own discretion. This is not to say that you couldn’t circulate game systems, we just feel that the cost and other challenges/logistics make it more trouble than it’s worth. Just last week, however, we did purchase a PlayStation 4 (PS4) and an Xbox One S for use in the library and for programming; a practical option for us.

Video game collection at the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

Second, we currently purchase primarily for PS4 and Xbox One, with the increasingly rare purchase of a PlayStation 3 (PS3) or an Xbox 360 title. The reason for this is that both the PS4 and Xbox One were released in November 2013, which means that PS3 and Xbox 360 systems are at the very end of their lifecycles and are getting very few new title releases now. The Nintendo Wii was replaced by the Wii U in December 2012 and the Wii U was extremely commercially disappointing with abysmal adoption rates. In fact, Nintendo is releasing their successor console, Switch, in March of 2017 partly because the Wii U was such a failure. All that being said, our collection contains PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii and a small handful of Wii U games. The games for the older systems do still circulate, so we’re not in a hurry to weed them out, but at the same time I’m interested in putting funds toward current generation games as opposed to previous generation games, especially since backward compatibility is non-existent or limited. For example, PS4 will not play PS3 games and Xbox One can only play a number of Xbox 360 titles. However, the Wii U will play Wii titles. We do not currently purchase for the Nintendo 3DS or PlayStation Vita handhelds, as their media formats are small cards, not unlike SD cards, which makes them a bit more difficult to secure. The systems we do collect for use disk-based media, so they’re very easy to secure using standard lockable cases; the type we use for DVDs. You could collect for handheld systems depending on how you plan the logistics. Some libraries do circulate handheld systems and their accompanying media.

Video game collection at the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

Third, we collect games of all ratings. Some libraries, for example, opt not to collect games rated M (mature), which I feel is based on the misconception that “video games are for kids.” According to the 2016 Entertainment Software Association report on sales, around 75 percent of gamers are over the age of 18, with the average age of gamers being 35. An ESRB M rating is akin to the MPAA’s R rating for movies. The ESRB also has the AO (adults only) rating category, which is akin to an MPAA NC-17 rating, but just like the movie rating, you really never see any games that come out with an AO rating. Since their inception in 1994, ESRB has rated about 30 games as AO and all have been released on computer, not consoles. The report also notes that female gamers make up 41 percent of the game playing community, so it truly is a medium that is consumed by all public age and gender demographics. Our collection practices try to reflect the demographic makeup of the gaming community.

Video game collection at the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library

Finally, your collection decisions regarding title purchases and the number of formats you’ll support will rely heavily on your gaming collection budget. Games typically retail at $59.99 on release, and depending on popularity, will start to drop significantly in price over their first six months, usually settling around the $20 to $30 price point. PS4 currently dominates the console market in regards to number of titles released and number of consumers who have purchased a console, though Xbox One is a close second. Each brand has their own exclusives (e.g. Mario and Pokemon games for Nintendo) as well as versions of multi-platform titles (e.g. “Call of Duty”). I try to purchase very well-known titles/franchises at launch while waiting for less anticipated titles until the price drops a bit. It’s not unusual for the console companies to release around four “must have” titles in any given month. Some times of the year see heavier launch lists, particularly during the fourth quarter holidays. I will generally purchase those titles at launch. Additionally, many games are offered in “special editions,” as well as a “standard edition.” Most of the extra game content released exclusively in a special edition is in the form of a redeemable one use code. So, for circulation purposes, it’s usually best to purchase the standard edition. Bonus content tends to be digital downloads in the form of a code tied to the user’s game account, so it can be safely ignored. Efficient collection development of games generally requires a decent level of familiarity with the gaming landscape and the big franchises, so collections usually benefit from frequent game journalism research. That being said, big titles are often announced far in advance of release, so it’s possible to build a wish list well ahead of time and tweak it as release dates change or as previously un-hyped, but worthwhile, titles are released.

I think this post should give you a good foundation for starting a video game collection in your library. Video games have been an extremely popular collection for us. We service a community of about 8,000 people and typically our monthly game circulation is about 600. We let patrons check out up to three games at a time with a one week loan period and we allow one renewal. My budget for 2016 was about $6,000 and will be about $7,500 for 2017. You can view the documents relating to my ILF presentation here and let me know if I can answer any questions. Good luck!

Eric Fisher is the assistant director of the Alexandria-Monroe Public Library. For more information on video games in your library, contact Eric at efisher@alexlibrary.net.

ISL welcomes Lauren Patton as its new Circulation and Support Supervisor

As many of you may know, the Indiana State Library (ISL) is in the process of opening the Young Reader’s Center in the former manuscripts room on the second floor. Christy Franzman has accepted the position of young reader’s center librarian, which opened an opportunity for Lauren Patton to step in as the circulation and support supervisor.

Lauren Patton comes to the ISL from the Indiana State Museum where she was the store manager. For the past two years, Lauren has been volunteering at the ISL and possesses a Master of Library Science from Indiana University. “I was already familiar with the collections and a lot of the great people who work here,” stated Lauren.

Lauren_web

A long-time cardigan sweater enthusiast and volunteer at the ISL, Lauren’s transition from State Museum store manager to librarian just made sense. “You just can’t find that kind of comfort and convenience anywhere,” Lauren explained. “It’s not just a sweater; it’s a state of mind.”

On a serious note, the ISL is excited to have Lauren on board and looks forward to seeing what she can accomplish as circulation and support supervisor. “I’m here to assist and supervise the circulation and support staff to ensure that items are moving seamlessly within the library as well as out of the library,” said Lauren. “I can answer questions pertaining to registering for a library card, obtaining library materials through inter-library loan or Evergreen, and checking out materials. I have spent many years working in customer service, most recently the Indiana State Museum, and also have diverse experience within libraries. I’m excited to join the team here at the library and hope you come by and check us out!”

This blog post was written by ISL Communications Director Ryan Brown. For more information about the Indiana State Library, please visit http://in.gov/library/.

Top Ten Things to know about Interlibrary Loan

  1. It’s accessible! You do not have to have an Indiana State Library card or be a member of an Evergreen library to request items from the Indiana State Library.  Interlibrary loan allows sharing of resources among libraries.
  2. It’s easy! You simply make the request through your local public, academic, or special library. Your library will send us the request for you!
  3. It’s convenient! Once interlibrary loan requests are approved, the items are sent directly to your local public, academic, or special library for you!
  4. It’s affordable! If your library is in Indiana and uses InfoExpress, delivery is free!  If your library does not use InfoExpress or is located out of state, the cost of postage is all you will be charged.
  5. It’s flexible! Up to two renewals may be requested for interlibrary loan materials not on microfilm. As long as the item is not on hold, we’ll extend your loan period.
  6. It’s unique! The Indiana State Library has the largest collection of Indiana newspapers on microfilm and they are accessible through interlibrary loan. Our materials focus on Indiana history and may not be found many other places.
  7. It’s fast! Interlibrary loan requests are processed every weekday the library is open. Indiana State Library staff work hard to respond to requests in a timely manner in order to get materials to you quickly.
  8. It’s LARGE! Print, that is. Items from our vast large print collection may be requested through interlibrary loan by Indiana libraries.
  9. It’s adaptable! If an item cannot be loaned out, the material, or a portion of the material, may be copied for a fee in order to fill the request.
  10. It’s for work! Indiana state employees may request work-related items from other libraries through the Indiana State Library. Contact the Reference division for more information.

This blog post was written by Christy Franzman, Circulation & Support Supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3675  or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

How to get a library card at the Indiana State Library

Did you know that any Indiana resident is eligible for a FREE Indiana State Library card? Similarly to your local public library, the Indiana State Library offers a borrower’s card to Indiana residents. This gives card holders access to a vast amount of materials that can be loaned on a regular, short-term, or interlibrary loan basis.

There are two ways to apply:

  • In person
    Visit us at 315 W Ohio St. with your picture ID and proof of current address. If you are a minor, a parent/guardian must provide these when applying
  • Online
    Go to http://www.in.gov/library/2451.htm. Download and print a library card application, state form 44689. Fill in application and mail the application to the Indiana State Library with a photocopy of picture id. The library card will be mailed to the applicant.

ISL 007

This blog post was written by Christy Franzman, Circulation & Support Supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3675  or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.