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Have You Visited the Pew Research Center Lately?

April 26, 2014 | Richard | Comments (0)


The Pew Research Internet Project includes the kind of information that we like to cite in library reports and documents, notwithstanding its focus on the United States.

According to the website, "The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the internet and how their activities affect their lives."

Much of this information is applicable across the boarder here in Canada.

The website was listed as an Outstanding Choice Title in 2006.

While there have been some formatting changes in recent times, it is worth quoting the review in full:

"Outstanding Title! 44-0384 Internet Resource

Pew/Internet: Pew Internet & American Life Project.

[Visited Jun'06] Anyone searching for information on the digital divide, generational differences in Internet use, or how people use the Internet in everyday life will find this site essential. One of six projects from the nonpartisan think tank Pew Research Center, Pew/Internet hosts reports and data that "explore the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, and civic and political life." Content dates from 2000 to the present with frequent updates. Searching for reports is easy and may be accomplished through a pull-down menu listing broad categories (e.g. demographics, health, education, online activities and pursuits, and family, friends, and community) or a search box. The site is organized into seven sections that include Reports, Presentations, Data, Press, and Latest Trends. Each section offers summaries and access to full-text documents. The Reports section summarizes recent reports, e.g., "Finding Answers Online in Sickness and in Health" and "Internet's Growing Role in Life's Major Moments," and provides links to the full text in PDF file format. The Data section provides links to the survey datasets for the reports; Latest Trends provides links to charts and Excel files for "Who's Online" and "Internet Activities." The site offers a wealth of Internet usage information and analysis that differs from the plethora of marketing research sites online, and it provides vital data not covered by other entities such as the General Social Survey or the various public opinion polling agencies. Visitors may use the RSS feed or sign up for a newsletter. Content is also searchable through the main Pew Research Center site Summing Up: Highly recommended. All collections.

--S. Clerc, Southern Connecticut State University - Copyright 2006 American Library Association"
Looking at the website in 2014, we see a continuation of the same preoccupations, as many new and interesting reports, presentations, and data sets address issues pertinant to Pew's mission:

Summing Up: I would recommend bookmarking The Pew Research Internet Project website, and check it from time to time for developments important to our work.

What's all the hoopla about?

November 27, 2013 | Niki | Comments (0)



Uvm_00602537566730_thumbnailhoopla is a product geared specifically to libraries.  It allows  patrons to temporarily download or stream TV, movies and music for free to watch on their smartphone, tablet or computer.  hoopla has over 5,000 movies & TV shows for adults, kids and families as well as movies in Uvm_00602537564484_thumbnailall the favourite genres: Action & Adventure, Cartoons, Biographies, Comedies, Documentaries,Dramas, Science  Fiction, and more. hoopla also has over 250,000 albums you can listen to.

Unlike OverdrUvm_00602537555697_thumbnailive the items are always available to borrow and never have a waiting list. 

At present several Canadian public library systems are using hoopla including Hamilton, Guelph, Edmonton and Richmond, BC

Toronto Public Library is investigating this platform for our use.  Can Freegal or IndieFlix  be far behind?







I'd like a copy of the Official Driver's Handbook, please. I'm sorry you'll have to place a hold.

June 17, 2012 | Bhowatson | Comments (1)

IMG_0010Did you know that you don't have to wait for a copy of "The Official Driver's Handbook" to come in for you as a hold?  The entire Handbook may be read online at Driver's Handbook Online.

From this site, you can also link to...

"The Official Motorcycle Handbook",

"The Official Truck Handbook",

 "The Official Bus Handbook

"The Official Airbrake Handbook".


You can access Webcamthe latest road information and and get a real look at traffic by checking  Webcams that are updated every three to five minutes.

There's also a useful link to Border Crossing Bridge Wait Times and there is an APP for this information too.

Google Travel Trip Planner is included and this can be used to plan a trip integrating Go Buses, Go Trains, TTC and Greater Toronto Bus Services.  The Planner uses Google Maps and is a terrific aid for library users who are planning a trip that involves a combination of transit services.


         All the great information at  makes for happy driving and biking!


QR Codes – What Are Those Strange Things?

December 12, 2011 | Mary-Beth | Comments (1)

Picture1Have you noticed how these funny square codes with lots of dots in them are appearing in a lot of places – like on a subway advertisement or beside an article in a newspaper?

QR actually stands for quick response, and the codes were originally created in 1994 to track vehicle parts during the manufacturing process.  QR codes are a kind of matrix barcode which encodes any kind of information – up to 4,296 alphanumeric or 7,089 numeric characters.

How do you read them?  Most smart phones come loaded with software such as “ScanLife”, or you can download the software from your favourite app store – I’ve used “Scan” on my Apple product.  With the software, you then need either a wireless connection or a monthly data plan with your phone company.  Once set up, activate the software, hold it up to the code, center it and wait for it to scan the information.

How are libraries using them?


  • Scan the QR code to reserve a study room
  • Scan the QR code to view computer availability in the branch
  • Use QR code on your signature file or business card


  • Quickly find the day's programs at a library
  • Put QR codes on event posters – can link to information – audio or visual, sign up form, contact information etc.

Readers Advisory

  • Place codes on physical books to be taken to something like Book Buzz or book reviews about the item
  • Tag popular books with QR codes that point to read-alikes


  • Implement email or SMS reference service by placing the codes around in various locations
  • Make bookmarks with QR codes leading to a research assistance page on the website
  • Place QR codes on end of bookshelves to point to subject guides
  • Put QR codes on print journals or books to point to online versions [e.g. Gale Virtual Reference Library]


  • Link to online tutorials – vodcast links via QR codes
  • Place QR code on a device that frequently needs explaining [e.g. microfilm reader] and the code leads to a vodcast explaining how to use it
  • Create a game – such as a QR code scavenger hunt game to orient you to the library - each code leads to the next location


  • Have codes on website points to the mobile version
  • Place the QR code on the item record in the catalogue get a call number, title and floor where the book is located
  • Partner with the local bus company to provide free access to e-books and library services via QR code

Nancy L phone number.phpAgincourt Library was used as a pilot location to use QR codes and they used them for things like the contact number for Spyders when having trouble accessing wifi, the schedule for the Toronto Public Health flu vaccination schedules, and much more. 

If you are interested in trying something in your library, contact Nancy Lee or Mary-Beth Clark  for more information and tips on what works and what doesn’t.  

Do the the Reference Desk.

November 29, 2011 | Bhowatson | Comments (0)

It's nice to know that other Canadian Libraries are having the same issues as we do here at TPL.  At the IST Fall Conference, Gail-richardsonGail Richardson of "Libraries Moving Forward", devised a  study to analyze User Behaviour & Expectation of Reference Services at Hamilton Public Library.

Over the last few years all statistics gathered in public libraries show a steady decline of up to 37% in the use of library reference services by the public.  Libraries are worried about this steady downward trend.  Our current surveys of reference questions don't capture details such as how long questions took, how many sources were used and what type of questions were asked. Gail Richardson's study looked at how the reference location affected the reference experience, what reference resources were consulted and observed and reported on different types of users and the different types of questions. 

Gail used the Microsoft Access Database to create the tables and fields used in the study since it was easy to use and understand.  126 hours were spent tracking users and their questions on three floors of Hamilton's Central Library and at a few other branch locations.

Outcome and Results?  

Index The study gave a picture of what is happening at reference desks. 

54% of the customers asking questions were female while 46% were male.

74% came to the library to ask their question in person while 26% phoned.

The average duration of a transaction was less than 2 minutes.

90% of the questions related to the collection while 10% of the questions concerned place or were directional.   

Probably it is not surprising that 14% of the questions were considered reference while 86% were deemed non-reference.

Overview:   Librarian skills might be better used away from the reference desk while we should take note that the impact of more complex technology has led the public to seek help at the library.

Something to think about....

If you like this survey and the interest Hamilton Public Library is taking in reference service, why not apply for the position of their Chief Librarian?  Click here - Chief Librarian of HPL Application




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