The Seattle Public Library breaks world record for longest book domino chain

An announcement from Seattle Public Library:

It took a total of seven hours of setup and five tries, but at around 11 p.m. Friday, May 31, The Seattle Public Library set the world’s record for the longest book domino chain. (Note: Confirmed by

The record-breaking event was held on the third floor of the Central Library, 1000 Fourth Ave. A total of 2,131 books followed a complex pathway that included ramps up and across book stacks, around a large planter in the center of the floor, up and down sets of stairs, bridges and more. At one point, one book has to fall from a shelf to the floor to continue the book domino chain. At different locations while the books are dropping, patrons are reading. One woman, for example, looks like she is reading at the beach, while another couple appears to be having a picnic and reading. A portion of the book domino chain spelled the word “read.”



Texas State Library third most social media state library

According to this American Library Association report (which I found via, the Texas State Library (TSL) is ranked as the third most social media-friendly state library in the country. 

To determine which state libraries are doing the best job of managing their social media presence, we gathered usage stats for each of the 50 libraries on the top social media platforms. Points were assigned based on the amount of activity and number of followers and weighted to put more emphasis on the platforms that were used by the most libraries. The maximum possible score was 100, with 28 points possible for Facebook, 22 for Twitter, 21 for Flickr, 20 for YouTube, 5 for LinkedIn, 3 for Pinterest, and 1 for Google Plus.

TSL scored 83.5 out of the possible 100 points. You can follow them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn


Focus on the value

Last month American Libraries Magazine ran a great article entitled “There Are No Free Libraries.” The article focuses on the need for libraries to market their value and impact instead of focusing on the fact that their services and programs are free. 

I agree.

The truth is that people don’t value the things for which they didn’t pay. In the case of libraries, I should clarify that most people don’t see the value of libraries beyond being a source for “free” reading material and (sometimes) internet access. The rest — the business resources, the research, the other services — that gets lost.

“The best messaging promotes our real-world value.” A good suggestion. So this is where we point out that the economic benefit of libraries in Texas was $2.4 billion in 2011 alone. According to an article in Library Journal, “Collectively the libraries cost less than $0.545 billion, for a return on investment of $4.42 for each dollar spent.”


Links, posts and stories you may have missed: April 11


District Dispatch has an interesting article about the new Copyright Alert System. The post attempts to explain the three stage warning system. 


Anyone who works in an urban library system knows that the word “homeless” impacts libraries in a big way these days. I found a few articles related to this topic this month. 

How Public Libraries Have Become Spare Homeless Shelters (Hard Times USA)” discusses the vital role libraries now play as a safe place for those who have no other options. In particular this article talks about libraries that are actually providing staff whose job it is reach out to homeless customers to connec them with necessary social services. 

The American Library Association recently hosted a webinar entitled “Extending Our Reach: Reducing Homelessness Through Library Engagement.” The recording of the webinar is still available online at the Office for Literacy and Outreach Services website


Tacoma Food for Fines collects 18k+ items

The News Tribune reports that Tacoma Public Library‘s Food for Fines program managed to collect more than 18,000 items for food banks. That’s impressive. These items managed to reduce 1,097 customer accounts by an accumulated total fines of $24,284.50. This was accomplished by allowing customers to reduce fines by $10 for each three items donated.

I’m not sure how long libraries have been doing food for fines programs, but they’ve been around as long as I’ve been in the library world (more than a decade). The idea is to give customers a way to reduce their fines and come back as customers once again, all the while doing something good for the community. Doing some reasearch I found an old article in Marketing Library Services dated March 2001 that gives tips on how to run and promote a Food for Fines program at your library. 

Suggested Reading:



    Video: Houston ABC13 interview re Teen film contest, Tween photo contest

    Houston Public Library holds an annual Reel Teen Film Festival, with the submission deadline for this year’s festival on March 20, 2013. This year we added the Tween Pix Contest, with the deadline on March 1, 2013. 

    The video below is an interview I did recently, promoting the events. 



    Is your MLIS worth it?

    American Libraries does a great job of addressing the noted Forbes article stating that an MLIS, a master’s degree in library and information science, is one of the worst choices for a graduate degree. 

    As a communicator, my concern isn’t as much with the value given to the degree, but to the implied value given to the profession. 



    Upgrades for Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum

    Learn more about the proposed changes to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum at culturemap Houston or the Houston Chronicle.



    Meet Austin’s proposed $120M Central Library

    There’s a story in the American-Statesman featuring the proposed Central Library for Austin. Estimated at $120 million, this will be a literary jewel for the city. Read more at “Austin’s new central library to go beyond just books.”


    Congratulations I Love My Librarian Award winners

    From the ALA site:

    Yesterday, 10 librarians were recognized for service to their communities, schools and campuses as winners of the Carnegie Corporation of New York/New York Times I Love My Librarian Award.

    More than 1,700 library patrons nationwide nominated a librarian. The 10 award recipients are:

    Venetia V. Demson
    DC Public Library, Adaptive Services Division
    Washington, D.C.

    Martha Ferriby
    Hackley Public Library
    Muskegon, Michigan

    Jennifer O. Keohane
    The Simsbury Public Library
    Simsbury, Connecticut

    Dr. Rhonda Allison Rios Kravitz
    Sacramento City College
    Sacramento, California

    Jennifer U. LaGarde
    Myrtle Grove Middle School
    Wilmington, North Carolina

    Elizabeth “Betsy” Long
    Doby’s Mill Elementary School Media Center
    Lugoff, South Carolina

    Michelle Luhtala
    New Canaan High School Library
    New Canaan, Connecticut

    Saundra Ross-Forrest
    North Avondale Branch Library (Birmingham Public Library System)
    Birmingham, Alabama

    Rebecca Traub
    Temple University Harrisburg
    Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

    Barbara K. Weaver
    Ivy Tech Community College Northwest
    Gary, Indiana

    Each receives a $5,000 cash award and was honored at a ceremony and reception in New York, hosted by The New York Times, on Dec. 8.

    In their nominations, library patrons told stories of how their librarians make a difference in their community. This year’s winners include a librarian who makes the library easier to use for people with disabilities, an innovator who integrates technology throughout her school for improved collaboration among students and teachers and a business outreach librarian who creates a space for the unemployed and local business community to learn new skills, network and collaborate.

    Nominations were open to librarians working in public, school, college, community college and university libraries. Forty librarians nationwide have won the I Love My Librarian award since 2008. More information about the award recipients is available at

    The award is a collaborative program of Carnegie Corporation of New York, The New York Times and the American Library Association.

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