Tuesday, April 30, 2013

WPL Wins a MLA Public Relations Award: 1st Place in Social Media Category

          Rezarta Reso, Dorrie Karlin, Jillian Parson, Priya Subramanian, and Pingsheng Chen

Congratulations to the creative and hard working staff of the Worcester Public Library for winning the first place in social media category of Massachusetts Library Association (MLA) Public Relations Awards.  MLA presented the 21th biennial awards at the Association’s Annual Conference at Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 25th, 2013.  Social media category winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges from the public relations, press, and library fields.  Evaluation criteria included creativity, functionality, and usage.

This is a biennial contest held by the Massachusetts Library Association, coordinated by their P.R. committee. We submitted an entry this year because we’re very proud of the work we’ve done this year with social media. Through the creation of an “e-group,” we’ve dramatically increased our online presence. We use Facebook as our hub, but we use a variety of other social media platforms, including Pinterest, Twitter, and GooglePlus, in order to reach as many patrons as possible and to ensure that everyone who wants to can access information about the library. We feel incredibly honored to have received this award!

The E-Group (Electronic Resources Group) is led by Pingsheng Chen, E-Resources Librarian with librarians selected from adult reference Priya Subramanian and Jillian Parson and from youth services, Dorrie Karlin and Rezarta Reso. 

Email Ping with any questions.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Digital Tools for Genealogists

One of the gems of the Worcester Public Library is our Local History and Genealogy Collection.  Located on the third floor of the library this section features a wealth of resources to help our patrons pursue research in family history as well as the history of Worcester.  In addition to these physical resources the web tools listed below offer social, interactive assistance for genealogists.

 Geni.com is a genealogy social networking site.  The goal of this site is to create a global family tree of shared ancestors.  It functions as a family tree building service, allowing you to build off the work that other members have already completed.  Family members can use Geni to share information and keep in touch.  Geni also works as an organizational tool for family documents and photographs.  Basic membership is free and includes 1 GB of upload space.
Find out more about Geni by watching this introductory video.

FamilySearch Blog
FamilySearch is the database associated with the Family History Library, the world's largest collection of genealogical records.  What once functioned primarily as a database connecting users to records now offers many more services.  FamilySearch, like Geni, includes a family tree tool and the ability to upload and share family photos.  One feature of this site which you may initially overlook is the FamilySearch Blog.  This blog keeps readers up to date with information on FamilySearch as well as news about the wider world of genealogy research.

Pinterest is an image-based social networking site which allows users to create virtual pinboards or scrapbooks.  Images posted to this site are called pins and may be shared, repinned and liked by other users.  Because of its visual orientation Pinterest is ideal for sharing historical family photos.  It can also be used to organize bookmarks to genealogical websites and resources, instructional videos and event-planning ideas for things like family reunions.  WPL has utilized this tool to share photos related to library history on our Worcester Room Board.  Check out how other genealogists are using this tool:
For more information on using Pinterest for family history:
Cyndi's List is a curated index of websites relating to genealogy.  Of particular note is the category "Social Networking and Genealogy."  This page features of list of articles on how new social media can be used in the context of genealogical research.  It also features examples of how they are being used.  This list is updated daily so it's a good site to keep in your bookmarks if you want to stay up to date on what's new in genealogy on the web.

Ancestry Insider
For users of Ancestry.com and FamilySearch (which should be all modern genealogists) this blog is a must read.  The blogger attempts to independently and without bias critique and report on the two giants of online genealogy research.  Posts are timely and informative and will help to keep researchers abreast of the ever-constant changes which come with online research.

Here at WPL we are constantly researching and trying out new technologies in order to better serve and educate our patrons.  If you're interested in learning more about genealogy on the web you may consider attending next month's work shop with Joy Hennig, Web 2.0 for Genealogists (May 23rd and 28th).

More genealogy resources:
Online Databases - Genealogy
Local History and Genealogy Resources

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Boston Strong: updates and support

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Reading for the Environment on Earth Day

The first time Earth Day was celebrated was on April 22, 1970; many people consider that day the birthday of the modern environmental movement. Since 1970, Earth Day has been an occasion for people to think about human impact on the planet and learn about conservation. For those who want to know more about climate change, learn about green practices, understand the effects of pollution, and more, the Worcester Public Library has many books that can help you get educated in true Earth Day tradition.

The list below has a few examples, but the library has many more that could satisfy your curiosity! To find more, search the catalog or ask a librarian for suggestions.


Silent Spring
Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, first published in 1962, awakened the public to the danger posed by pesticides like DDT. This book was one of the first to launch many people into deep awareness and concern for the environment.

An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, in which he presents evidence that global warming is already having serious effects, became quite famous partly because many readers found it accessible and even entertaining while still being informative.

Ocean's End Travels Through Endangered Seas
A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest
Global warming may seem like a distant problem, but Colin Woodward's first-hand account, Ocean's End: Travels Through Endangered Seas, shows how it is having major effects in some regions. 

Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley

The American Southwest is a unique environment, with a relatively small water supply. William DeBuys presents an image of what it could be like in the future due to human overpopulation and overuse of resources in A Great Aridness: Climate Change and the Future of the American Southwest.

Stephen Faris suggests that the effects of climate change wouldn't just be environmental - it could affect human health, politics, economies, and social customs - in Forecast: The Consequences of Climate Change, from the Amazon to the Arctic, from Darfur to Napa Valley.   

If climate change is a disease, William H. Calvin has a cure: he presents clean technology prescriptions in Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change.
Atmosphere: Air Pollution and Its Effects

After learning about the dangers the planet faces, you may want to know what you can do to protect vital resources. For some ideas, check out The Water Book: A Users Guide to Understanding, Protecting, and Preserving Earth's Most Precious Resource.

Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change

If climate change is a disease, William H. Calvin has a cure: he presents clean technology prescriptions in Global Fever: How to Treat Climate Change.

Atmosphere: Air Pollution and Its Effects

For readers interested in knowing where air pollution comes from and what can be done about it, Dana Desonie's book, Atmosphere: Air Pollution and Its Effects, is informative.

Image of item

Derrick Jensen and George Draffan show how deforestation has changed history and how it can again in Strangely Like War: The Global Assault on Forests.

Blue Planet Run: The Race to Provide Safe Drinking Water to the WorldObtaining safe drinking water is a challenge for people all over the world.  Rick Smolan and Jennifer Erwitt tell fascinating  stories of how people have done it in Blue Planet Run: The Race to Provide Safe Drinking Water to the World.