Friday, June 29, 2007

Opposing Viewpoints

Waterloo Public Library patrons wanting to research controversial issues now have an extremely powerful resource: The Thomson-Gale Opposing Viewpoints database.

Patrons using Opposing Viewpoints from within the library may access it directly; from outside of the library a card number will be required.

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Security Cameras come to the WPL

Security cameras are now watching the comings and goings of Waterloo Public Library patrons and staff. Hawkeye Alarm's installation of a Pelco video monitoring system allows us to record activity at all library entrances.

The recordings won't be saved indefinitely, but may be used to help us to identify people of interest.

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, June 22, 2007

Severe Weather Policy

With active weather upon us, now is a good time to review the Waterloo Public Library's severe weather procedures. Upon activation of the Black Hawk County Early Warning Sirens, staff members will advise library to patrons to either proceed to the basement hallway or to leave the building.

The public entrance will be locked and a management person stationed at the staff entrance will allow patrons to leave the building or will let people into the building with the proviso that they will proceed to the basement hallway.

Staff will monitor situation and as soon as the weather warning expires will notify patrons and allow them to return to normal activity.

The Waterloo Public Library is housed in a very sturdy building, but also has many large windows. If we were to be hit by even a moderate tornado, flying glass and other debris would create a very hazardous situation. Sitting out a warning in the basement isn't much fun, but we want you to be safe.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them on the blog or email me at

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, June 08, 2007

My Waterloo Days

The sun decided to shine on the Waterloo Public Library's entry in the annual My Waterloo Days parade last Saturday morning. The float promotes the theme of the library youth department's summer reading program: "Egyptian Expedition."

For more parade pictures may be seen at our parade web album.

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

Monday, June 04, 2007

Why are the Shelves Empty?

For about a year now, librarians have been carefully weeding the non-fiction collection of the Waterloo Public Library. An analysis of the the collection's circulation shows that the turnover rate for last year was quite low and has been trending lower for several years. One of the reasons for the is decline is the accumulation of materials that, while of interest when purchased, are no longer desired by our patrons.

With the shelves filled with outdated books, patrons have difficulty finding the newer items that they desire. The library is taking several steps to address this issue. First, we're aggressively weeding the collection for the first time in several years. Librarians use a feature of our LMS (Library Management System) to generate lists of items that have not been checked out for several years.

With the list in hand, they then work their way through the stacks looking for those unused items. Sometimes the items are lost or stolen. Usually, however, the item is on the shelf waiting for attention. The librarian looks at the item and decides whether to keep or "weed," the book.

If the item is "MUST"y (i.e., Misleading, Ugly, Superseded, or Trivial), out it goes. Sometimes, an ugly or superseded item may be replaced, but usually the book's time has past and it must be discarded to make room for newer items. A good example of obsolete books includes our collection of books on the Savings & Loan collapse. The S&L failures happened in the 1980s with the solution coming in the early 1990s. Patrons no longer wish to read to read out a settled issue. There's no good reason to devote shelf space to discussions of the S&Ls: they no longer exist!

When we get caught up with our weeding, we plan to shift much of the non-fiction collection towards the north east corner of the second floor. The room created by the shift will be used for a teen area and a biography browser. We also expect to have room for the AV collection (e.g., movies, music, audio-books) which is currently housed on the first floor.

Thus far, we're still trying to visualize the final result. However, one thing we know for sure: books which haven't been used for years gradually deteriorate and detract from the quality of the collection. We'll continue to weed vigorously as we make plans for a more current, vibrant collection that our patrons will want to use.

If you have questions or comments about what we're up to, leave a comment on the blog or contact me at If you find that a favorite book is no longer on the shelf, ask us to acquire it by inter-library loan, or maybe we'll even buy a replacement copy!

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

Friday, June 01, 2007

Friends' Book Sale!

The Friends' Book and White Elephant sale continues today until 3:00 p.m. and resumes tomorrow (Saturday June 2) morning at 9:00. This year's sale coincides with the annual My Waterloo Days festivities. Buy some books, watch the parade, listen to the music and maybe visit the food vendors. There's plenty for everyone to see and do in downtown Waterloo!

c 2007 Waterloo Public Library

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