Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Fun: The End of Summer

Most kids are back in school. Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, is next weekend. Want to get in that last little bit of summer fun, before the leaves start changing and the warm weather goes away?

Here're a few suggestions:

1) Make the trek to Kansas City! Soon the weather will be rainy and sloshy. right now it's cool and the days are still long, which makes it the ideal time to spend the day in the big city. Check out Kansas City events here:

2) Visit the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. It's everything you wanted to know about the history of our planet, and more! A great way to get kids fired up about learning, just as school starts.

3) Attend the Kansas City Renaissance Festival with your kids, and your pups! Visit the vendors, hear the musicians, play games and interact with a host of historical characters. Better yet--go in costume! (Starts next week) 

4) Want to stick around Leavenworth? Check out First City Museum, the Richard Allen Cultural Center, the Farmers Market at Haymarket Square, the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, or Fort Leavenworth's Frontier Army Museum (free and open Mon-Sat).

5) Check out all the great state parks nearby!

6) Worlds of Fun amusement park's regular season has ended, but they have special hours just for fall. There are haunted attractions for adults and days and times with no-scare attractions for kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Nafziger Collection of Orders of Battle - American Civil War

New to the collection: The American Civil War portion of the Nafziger Collection contains orders of battle from 1861-1865 with over 800 individual pdf files. It may be accessed at CARL's Digital Library at

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An interesting video on motivation

What motivates us? Money? Accomplishment? Psychologists, sociologists and economists have all been hard at work on the topic!
Video also includes entertaining drawings :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Discovering Who You Are": A Conference Hosted by the Wichita Genealogical Society

*Saturday, October 16, 2010*
Registration: 8:00AM - 9:00AM
Conference: 8:45AM - 4:00PM
Held at the Mid-America All-Indian Center in Wichita, Kansas.
Open to all interested in genealogy and family history.

Speakers include representatives from and The National Archives.

The Wichita Genealogical Society is pleased to be hosting the "Discovering Who You Are" conference.

During the 2009 WGS Research Trip to the Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, the group was privileged to be the first genealogical society to receive an invitation from for a "behind the scenes tour" of their campus in Provo, Utah.

This tour sparked a partnership between WGS and to index Kansas and local historical documents.

In return, has accepted a WGS invitation to speak at our "Discovering Who You Are" conference in October. In addition, the National Archives and Records Administration has also agreed to participate.

WGS is grateful to have as a primary sponsor of this conference the Mid-America All-Indian Center for the use of their facilities. This is a wonderful example of community cooperation.

Please see the attached brochure or WGS's web site at for more information.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Fun: Need some free fun this weekend?

Looking for some free fun? Check out our new DVDs and audio books!

Stop in, or look at our catalog HERE.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DoD report

The Department of Defense released its 2010 DoD Report to Congress on the "Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China."  The report can be found at

Sunday, August 15, 2010 - Free Homework Help

It's never too early to think about getting ahead this school year! And it doesn't matter if you're in grade school, graduate school, or entering the workforce, there is help available online, for free, if you know where to look! offers assistance with everything from K-12 homework help to college and graduate school-level tutoring to resume and job hunting assistance. There is something for just about everyone!

And the good news is, the DoD has provided access for active military families!

Army Online Tutoring is available in Army MWR Libraries, CYS Services in the School-Age and Youth Centers and at home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The tutoring service is closed on the following holidays: Jan 1, Easter, Jul 4, Thanksgiving & Dec 25.

Through Army Online Tutoring, Soldiers, spouses, children and youth can connect live with a tutor for help with homework and college assignments in math, science, social studies and English. In addition tutors will help with adult education, resumes and citizenship.
Don't fall into that category? The State Library of Kansas system also provides access. If you are a patron of any SLK library (such as CARL!), you can request a SLK library card for free, which will grant you access to the system. Details on accessing through the State Library of Kansas (called "KanEd") can be found at:

If you're not a CARL patron, or the patron of a public library in Kansas, check with your local library system to see if they have access available.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Join us tonight between 5-11pm in Haymarket Square for Leavenworth's Hometown Welcome celebration!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Nafziger Orders of Battle Collection additions

New to the collection: The American Civil War portion of the Nafziger Collection contains orders of battle from 1861-1865 with over 800 individual pdf files. It may be accessed at CARL's Digital Library at

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Research resources 

Intute is a free online service that helps you to find the best web resources for your studies and research. With millions of resources available on the Internet, it can be difficult to find useful material. Our subject specialists review and evaluate thousands of resources to help you choose the key websites in your subject. We can also help you develop your Internet research skills through our Virtual Training Suite tutorials, written by lecturers and librarians from universities across the UK. Intute is created by a consortium of seven universities, working together with a whole host of partners

The CARL digital library is on this website. So it has to be pretty good :-) 

Thanks to the CARL staff member who provided the link! 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Statistics and librarians

Most librarians live and die by statistics. In many public libraries, funding is given to the library by local governments based on how many people in the town have used the library each year, and how many materials they have checked out. Librarians worry about statistics an awful lot, maybe more than some people in some other professions, since, for the most part, libraries are not-for-profit organizations. Since libraries don't have profits to show at the end of the year for their hard work, they use statistics to show how effective or ineffective they are being.

Over at the Information Wants To Be Free blog, librarian Meredith Farkas talks about the difference between Numbers vs. meaning.  One example she gives in particular that stands out is "reference desk transactions are down," and the inevitable panic that library patrons are not using the reference desk "enough."

In certain types of libraries, this can be a real problem. It may lead to the cutting of a reference librarian position, or reduced funding for the library in a public setting. Panic over the reduced usage of this vital service is understandable.

But one thing a number or a statistic doesn't tell you is WHY the reference desk  transactions are down. They could be down because a reference librarian is doing a stellar job, and so people are not making repeat trips, due to getting the correct information the first time. It could also mean that since the renovation, no one can FIND the reference desk. Or there is a nasty or imposing staff member. These are all things that numbers and statistics alone can't tell us.

Sometimes, as librarians, and as professionals, we worry way too much about the number itself, instead of what the number means. We see the immediate effect of a number going up or down--potential lost funding or staffing, so we may try to artificially inflate a usage statistic by directing people to a different desk, or requiring that all questions go through reference, even when they do not need to. What we really need to be doing is getting to the heart of what those statistics actually mean, and addressing the core problem.

If you do have a stellar staff member who makes sure all of a customer's questions are answered in the first transaction, acknowledge that! See if you can get other staff members to follow suit! And try to drive up your usage statistics by making patrons aware of just how wonderful your reference staff are. Promote reference services, allow users the "opportunity" to try out the skills of your excellent staff.

If no one can find the desk, move it! Or at least move those creepy plants that keep people from seeing those wonderful shining faces waiting eagerly to help. If it's a grumpy librarian, see what you can do to minimize or change their impact. Different solutions to different problems all represented  in the same number.

Remember the book "How to Lie With Statistics" from college? That's because numbers, themselves, do not mean anything. They only have meaning when we provide them with context and explain them. Just a note to librarians to remember to focus on the MEANING of the number, and the CAUSE. Don't just fixate on the number itself.

Monday, August 2, 2010

A sleepy kitten

We're showing our practicum students how to embed video into blog posts. The end result? You get to enjoy this sleepy baby kitty!

Advanced blog post!

We're teaching our practicum students how to do an advanced blog post today. This will entail using the "quotes" feature, adding a link, and tagging a post.

This will be our quote! It will be something wonderful and awesome that someone has said that we will highlight and indent. 

And this is our final paragraph. Thanks for helping us help our students.


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