The YouTube Librarian 2007 hla annual Conference


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The YouTube Librarian

2007 HLA Annual Conference

November 10, 2007

Dave Brier, University of Hawaii at Manoa and

Tiffini Travis, California State University Long Beach

Videos on YouTube about libraries and librarians are increasingly common. We look at 40 of these videos in this program. With this sampling, you will become more informed about the diverse depictions in and uses of library related videos on YouTube. The selected videos fall into one of these five categories:

1. Marketing the Library

2. Depictions of Libraries, Librarians, and Patrons

3. Contests

4. Instruction

5. Just Plain Fun
Included in this program are videos made by library staff as well as patrons. When watching the videos, consider the differences between how the library presents itself and how patrons present the library. Although many of the videos were selected because they were creative or comical, our hope is that they will do more than entertain you. We hope the program will influence the way you think about YouTube videos as well as bring out the director in you and inspire you to become a maker of YouTube videos.

Our program was inspired by the first InfoTubey Awards at the 2007 Computers in Libraries Conference. Additionally, we looked at Nancy Dowd’s blog Library Videos – The Best Of at as a source to find some of the videos. The videos in the Contest section were largely drawn from the Thomson Gale’s librareo video contest.

Many of the entries begin with a description of the work in quotation marks. These brief descriptions are provided by the person who added the video to YouTube and can be found in the About This Video field.
What are you waiting for? Grab your popcorn and brace yourself for a whole bunch of fun in this whirlwind tour of library videos on YouTube!


Libraries use YouTube videos to promote their library. YouTube offers you a way to get the word out about your library’s programs on a shoestring budget. The videos below illustrate how some libraries are doing using just that. Interviews with several of the people who made these videos are included in the Interview section of this handout.

1. The Wizard of Oz - a Tale of Library Circulation – Salt Lake County Pub. Lib.
“Originally presented at the 2007 ALA Conference in Washington DC. A simple tale about library circulation. Presented by Salt Lake County Library.” Added to YouTube on June 25, 2007. Views: 2,105 (as of 11-3-07). Running time: 2:09.
2. Seneca Library Holiday Song – Seneca College Library
Sexy, in its own nerdy way, the Seneca College Holiday song offers smooth vocals,

tasteful guitar playing, and a song with a catchy hook that encourages patrons to come the L-I-B-R-ARY. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing this after the program! Read an interview with the creator and star of this video, Michael London, in the Interview section (Interview 1) of this handout. Added to YouTube on 01/03/07. Views: 8,504 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 4:50.

3. The L-Team – Williams College Library

“If you have a research question, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire... the L-Team!” Nick Baker, a Reference and Web Services Librarian at Williams College, created this video. Nick, a child of the 1980s, drew on the popular action adventure television series the A-Team. Read an interview with Nick Baker in the Interview section (Interview 2) of this handout. Added to YouTube on February 14, 2007. Views: 17,077 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:40.

4. Denver Public Library: Summer of Reading
“Kitty takes a summer job only to realize he'd rather be at the Denver Public Library reading, competing in a DDR tournament, hanging out with librarians and so much more. Good kitty. Music by the Hot IQs!” Read an interview with Cassi Pretlow, one of the video’s creators, in the Interview section (Interview 3) of this handout. Added to YouTube on May 1, 2007. Views: 6,488 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 4:12.
5. We Love Our NJ Libraries – New Jersey State Library

“New Jersey residents love their libraries- here's what they say.” Read an interview with Nancy Dowd, the video’s creator, in the Interview section (Interview 4). Added to YouTube on February 12, 2007. Views: 9,073 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:37.

6. The Adventures of Super Librarian – McCraken County Public Library
“Faster than free internet. More powerful than a stack of reference books. Able to multitask while providing outstanding service. It’s super librarian!” The video stars Linda Bartley, McCraken County Public Library Youth Services Library Assistant. Read an interview (Interview 5) with Jay Hite, McCraken County Public Library’s Technology Coordinator, about this video and another McCraken County Public Library video, Dr. Duck @ Your Library. Added to YouTube on July 19, 2006. Views: 131,374 (as of 11/1/07). Running time: 36 seconds.

7. Dr. Duck @ Your Library – McCraken County Public Library

“Who's the coolest duck of them all? Dr. Duck, and he's back for the fall. With his doctor's bag full of words, You just know he's one hip bird. Join the duck and his friends, for Story Time, It's free! It won't cost you one thin dime. Every Thursday at ten and one,

There's books and singing-all sorts of fun. You don't need an appointment to see the coolest duck in the aviary, Just come on in to the McCracken County Library.” Added to YouTube on September 8, 2006. Views: 2,674 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 37 seconds.

8. Come See What's Wow! Now! @ Your Library – McCraken County Public Library

“Need a break from life's cacophony? The McCracken County Public Library's Quiet Reading Room is the perfect peaceful retreat.” Added to YouTube on August 9, 2006. Views: 846 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:00.

9. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star - Birmingham Public Library

“Read all about the stars with books checked out from the Birmingham Public Library.” Added to YouTube on April 28, 2007. Views: 358 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 36 seconds.

10. What's Up Jan 29-Feb 4 - Arlington Heights Memorial Library
“Highlights of upcoming programs: Kid's Programs and Friends of the Library Sale.” Added to YouTube on January 26, 2007. Added to YouTube on January 26, 2007. Views: 3,227 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 2:55.
11. Augustana Information Literacy DVD trailer - University of Alberta

“This trailer was created to advertise the 30-minute DVD we made on Information Literacy at the Augustana Faculty of the University of Alberta in Camrose, Alberta, Canada (more info on DVD at” Added to YouTube on February 28, 2007. Views: 937 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 48 seconds.

12. Penn & Teller with Houdini at the Library of Congress
This video is from the “Memory & Imagination: New Pathways to the Library of Congress,” the first film ever commissioned by the Library of Congress. This entry invites you to think about how you can use YouTube to explore your library’s special collections and hidden treasures. Added to YouTube on June 1, 2006. Views: 34,644 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 3:26.

13. Knowville – Second Life
“A hyper tour of Knowville's Teen Library Second Life Portal. Filmed and currently housed at the SJSU School of Library and Information Science Virtual Campus.” Added to YouTube on June 17, 2007. Views: 521 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 2:46.

YouTube videos contain representations of libraries, librarians, and library patrons. The videos in this section show examples of how these groups are being portrayed in YouTube videos.

14. Hot Blonde in Librarian – Mercedes-Benz Commercial
In addition to providing an illustration of the popular dumb blonde stereotype, the video, an ad created for Mercedes Benz, also features one of the enduring perceptions of libraries, that they are quiet places. Added to YouTube on January 22, 2007. Views: 29,276 (as of 11/3/07). Please note, this video has been posted by various people under different titles. The accumulated views are well over 100,000. Running time: 36 seconds.
15. UHF Conan the Librarian – Weird Al Yankovic
“Conan The Librarian segment from Weird Al Yankovic's one and (so far) only movie, UHF (1989).” Added to YouTube on 10/6/06. Views: 126,565 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 41 seconds.

16. Ninja Librarian
“Trouble in the Library Very funny short film. Great Ninja Action.” Added to YouTube on November 8, 2006. Views: 21,059 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 54 seconds.
17. The Library Rap
“A group of high school students rap about the library as an afterschool hangout.” Added to YouTube on May 24, 2007. Views: 3,539 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 1:53.

18. Work @ your library – Nebraska Library Commission PSA

"Watch this recruitment public service announcement to find out if a library career is right for you." Added to YouTube on December 4, 2006. Views: 3,936 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:08.

19. The Angry Librarian
“A frustrated state employee gives a spacey girl a hard time.” This is one of my favorites! The video has 516 comments and many of these are worthwhile reading. Added on September 9, 2006. Views: 261,274 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 5:10.
20. March of the Librarians – Nick Baker
“Didn't you wonder where your librarians disappeared to last January? Ten thousand of them were in Seattle for an American Library Association convention.” Nick Baker, the director of the L-Team, was there to capture the bizarre congregation on video. This video draws on the film “March of the Penguins”. Read Interview Added to YouTube on February 7, 2007. Views: 147,033 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 4:58.
21. Betty Glover Library Workout Tape Ad
Finally, a solution to the sedentary lifestyle of most librarians. The Betty Glover Workout Tape teaches librarians to utilize the tools around them to break down that cellulite and tone those buttocks. According to the maker’s description on YouTube,

“This was a project I did in college at ASU for class. Yes, I also worked at the library, and Betty Glover (an incredibly sweet lady) was my boss. This was way before non-linear editing. It's a bit dated, but still holds up pretty well, I think.” Added to YouTube on September 16, 2006. Views: 91,402 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 4:40.

22. Library Limbo – Cornell University
“Study-time cycles in Uris Library with 1920's style animation. A student project made at Cornell University in Lynn Tomlinson's Film 325 summer course.” Added to YouTube on July 30, 2006. Views: 2,697 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 2:54
23. A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto

“A manifesto by Laura Cohen, 2006. Video slideshow mash up by Soren Johannessen, Copenhagen.” The video features scenes from the annual Burning Man gathering. Added to YouTube on November 9, 2006. Views: 28,740 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 3:54.

24. Borrowing Books from the Library…permanently
“Students desperate to study steal books from the library.” Added to YouTube on November 24, 2006. Views: 1,778 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 1:58.
25. The Librarians Promo
This video is a promo for a new Australian comedy television series The Librarians. Added to YouTube on October 8, 2007. Views: 4,444 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 56 seconds.

Libraries, companies, and associations offer video contests as a way to market their library and engage their patrons in creative ways. Typically, the theme is a variant of “Why I Love My Library.” Cassi Pretlow of the Denver Public Library and Heather Peterson of the Eden Prairie Library share their experiences with sponsoring a video contest in the Interview section of this handout (Interview 7). Visit to learn about Gale’s “I Love My Library” contest. Gale’s contest offers a $10,000 prize and attracted 175 submissions. The winner will be announced at the 2007 ALA Annual Conference.

26. Discover a New World at Columbus Public Library
“A pop-up book combining digital still images and live footage in 3 dimensional space. The submission is based on a theme of discovering a new world at the Columbus Public Library.” This amazing video is one of the top five finalists in Gale’s libareo video contest. Its simply wonderful. Added to YouTube on May 24, 2007. Views: 7,317. Running time: 1:59.
27. Thank You Note – Green Gables Elementary School Library

A beautiful, creative, and inspiring video. This video is one of the top five finalists in Gale’s librareo video contest. Added to YouTube on May 25, 2007. Views: 6,215 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:59.

28. Hemmingway The BookWorm – Video Contest Submission – Towson, Public Library, Maryland
Hemmingway the Bookworm persuades the mayor not to cut the library’s budget. This hilarious video is one of the top five finalists in Gale’s librareo contest. Added to YouTube on May 23, 2007. Views: 4,498 (as of 11/3/07) Running time: 1:58
29. Video Contest Submission - Niles North High School Library
“A flipbook story about how much we love our library and the magic it creates. Made completely with digital stills!” This video was entered in the Gale librareo contest. Added to YouTube on May 24, 2007. Views: 2,009 (as of 11/3/07). Running time 1:01.
30. Video Contest Submission – Allen County Public Library
Zombies need libraries too. Additionally, check out the “Zombie Bloopers” video that shows the shooting of this film and some funny things that happened during production. Added to YouTube on May 18, 2007. Views: 10,294 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:49
31. Video Contest Submission - Dozier Middle School
This video touches on why you shouldn’t rely solely on information retrieved from the Internet in your school projects. Fortunately, the students in this video have the smarts to include information obtained from the library in their project. This video is a top five finalist in Gale’s librareo video contest. Added to YouTube on May 20, 2007. Views: 8,000 (as of 11/3/07). Running time: 1:59.
32. Video submission contest for I love my Library – Patrick Henry High School Library
“Rap commercial” from Patrick Henry High School’s Library. Added to YouTube on May 25, 2007. Views: 599 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 1:19.


Libraries are using YouTube videos to supplement their instruction efforts. Below are four different types of instruction videos

33. Finding Time in the Penn State Libraries
“This video documents a search for Time Magazine via the Penn State Libraries web site. It was created by Ellysa Stern Cahoy for the 2007 CIC Libraries conference, as part of the presentation 'Interface = Instruction.” Added to YouTube on March 16, 2007. Views: 16,068 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 1:12.
34. Music Research Tip
This is one odd video. An alien avatar provides instruction tips for music research. Added to YouTube on October 8, 2007. Views 98 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 30 seconds.
35. Boolean Operators
I wish I had how to use Boolean operators when searching in library subscribed databases.” Added to YouTube on May 29, 2007. Views: 1,320 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 3:10.
36. Searching Online Newspapers with LexisNexis
“Demonstration of searching electronic newspapers using Lexis Nexis Database.” Nothing fancy here. This entry has been included to provide you with an example of typical instruction video. Added to YouTube on February 19, 2007. Views: 427 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 2:53.

The entries below are just plain fun.

38. Miss Teen USA 2007 – South Carolina answers a question

Although this video does not focus on libraries, map librarians might find this video particularly amusing (or frightening). There is another version of this video that has subtitles to help you keep up with Miss South Carolina’s thoughts. The next time a politician is hesitant to provide increased funding to libraries, have them watch this video! With over 17 million views since August 2007, this is one popular entry. Added to YouTube August 24, 2007. Views: 17,730,624 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 48 seconds.

34. Silent Library with Ernesto Hoost
In the spirit of MTV’s television show Jackass, a group of young men play ridiculous pranks on each other in a Japanese library (and try hard not to laugh). If you like The Three Stooges type of humor, you’ll love this. Added to YouTube on June 7, 2006. Views: 960,208 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 9:54.
35. Library Dominoes
Watch hundreds of books go down like dominoes in a library. Added to YouTube on March 15, 2006. Views: 44,443 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 22 seconds.
36. Interval Library
"What happens after hours" type of thing.” Watch the moving stacks in the basement of your average library. Added to YouTube on June 27, 2006. Views: 32,512 (as of 11/4/07). Running time: 2:33.

1. Interview: Michael London – Seneca Library Holiday Song

An email interview with the creator and star of the Seneca Library Holiday Song.
BRIER: Where did you get idea for the videos emerge?

LONDON: I work in a college library with multiple campuses. Every year there is a divisional meeting "Christmas party" for all of the libraries) where each campus does something, be it a play, a video, whatever. This year I chose to write a song and perform it. After thinking about it a little longer I didn't think I'd be able to pull off a live performance with other musicians so I recorded it. Thinking that it would be too boring to sit there and listen to a prerecorded song over a loud speaker I turned it into a music video.
BRIER:Who made the video?

LONDON: I made the video on the most part by myself with some assistance with

another coworker in Audio-Visual Services. I did however in the end get some other coworkers to act in the final videotaping.

BRIER: How much did the video cost to make?

LONDON: Since it was completely done in house and I already had the equipment in my department the cost was minimal, simply the cost of a DV tape (around $5.00).
BRIER: How long did it take to make?

LONDON: It was made after working hours and probably took about 3 weeks. One

week to write the song and lyrics, one week to record it, and the third week to make the video. Maybe a little less time than that.

BRIER: Who wrote the song? Who performed the music?

LONDON: I wrote the song and performed all of the music including the background vocals. Instruments involved were keyboards, guitar, bass, lead vocals and about 3 or 4 background vocal parts. There were some saxophone parts but they never made it into the final mix. My coworker created the drum tracks on a program called Reason. The song was recorded in Pro Tools and the video was created in Final Cut Pro, all on a Mac computer.
BRIER: Did you have any previous singing experience?

LONDON: Although I do have a music background, I have no official vocal training. I am a complete amateur, and in my opinion not very good.
BRIER: What has been the reaction to the videos?

LONDON: Surprisingly a lot better than ever imagined. I got an okay reaction at the Christmas party but after it was finished people started asking for copies. As an easier alternative I put it up on YouTube so that they can view it whenever they wanted. Because of that, a colleague’s sister sent over a link for the Computer in Libraries InfoTubey Awards. Since the video basically covered everything that they were looking for I submitted it and was selected as one of five winners. From that point on the YouTube video has been embedded on many blogs and web sites around the world from the U.S and Canada to France and China. (it's very funny and flattering to see a picture of yourself surrounded by Chinese text : ) Although I don't have huge numbers on YouTube they are steadily climbing.

BRIER: To what extent has the video impacted library services or ideas about the library or both?

LONDON: Besides getting a little exposure from being recognized around the college or having a couple a faculty members show the video in their class, most of the videos impact has come from outside our library.
BRIER: What were the most challenging aspects about making the video?

LONDON: Timing was the hardest part. The ideas started off small and grew and grew until you wonder to yourself what you got yourself into. Keep in mind that all of this work was intended for a one time showing only. Coordinating peoples schedules was also a big problem. Because I couldn't get everybody to commit, or schedules would not work out the only alternative was to green screen myself. I am not conceited I just couldn't get anybody to dedicate any time.
BRIER: What advice would you give aspiring library video directors if they are

considering making a video about their library or services?

LONDON: Pre production is key. The more that is planned out ahead of time the easier the whole thing will be. This should include everything from scripting the project to choosing locations and most importantly getting some talent and coordinating their schedules. It's' hard to keep motivated when you are excited about a project but nobody else is. It's probably a good idea to get a group together first and do all of the planning together (get the actors involved in the whole process if possible). I obviously didn't touch upon any production techniques if that's what you were looking for?
BRIER: Are you considering making any new videos? If so, what do you have planned next?

LONDON: I wanted to make another one for this year’s "Computers in Libraries

Infotubey awards" but it's already November and I'm running out of time. Where does the time go? I'm sure something will get done for this year’s "Division Meeting".

BRIER: Are there any funny stories you can share about the video (making it or reaction to it)?

LONDON: Because the idea was a little "cheesy" and the response was pretty

good. It was nice to get some feedback from the president of the college. Although sometimes when I walk through the halls people feel like the must say H. E. L. L. O. to me. (spelling it out is supposed to be the funny part if you didn't get the joke). Other than that I'm not sure what else to say.

BRIER: What do you do at the library? How long have you worked their? How did you get involved in video?

LONDON: I am an Audio-Visual Services Technician.  Essentially we are based out 
of the library where we loan out media and equipment to faculty and 
students.  Along with that a big part of our job is building and 
maintaining the electronic classrooms as well as take care of event 
setups that require any Audio-Visual equipment i.e. P.A Systems w/ 
microphones, video projection etc.

2. Interview: Nick Baker – L-Team

An email interview with the creator of the L-Team.
BRIER: Where did you get the idea for this video?

BAKER: The L-Team was done for library week with the help of my colleagues.  I 
was a child of the 80s, so that's where the A-Team spoof idea came from.

BRIER: How long did the L-Team take to make?

BAKER: The L-Team was done on work time, about two hours of shooting my colleagues (trying to get them to smile) and then a few hours each on the titles, music, narration, etc. Probably about 16 hours total. In general, when people ask how much time it takes, I say that a minute of screen time is a full day's work (8 hours).
BRIER: How much did this video cost to make?

BAKER: Nothing but time. I shot them on my digital camera (a Canon Powershot 600 digital elf) and edited them with iMovie on a Mac Powerbook I borrowed from the Systems deptartment. I used free Audacity software to mix the soundtrack.

BRIER: What has been the reaction to the video?

BAKER Very positive! I've been recognized at conferences (Computers in Libraries 2007) and asked to speak about library videos (Internet Librarian 2007). On campus, I think it's raised the profile of the librarians and made us seem more relevant, but it's just an impression.
BRIER: To what extent has the video impacted library services or ideas about the library or both?

BAKER: The idea was to make the librarians seem more approachable and human - showcase our sense of humor. It's the sort of image thing that's hard to measure, but from the feedback we've gotten I think it's working. I'm not sure it's changed library services all that much.
BRIER: What were the most challenging aspects about making the L-Team

BAKER: Getting my colleagues to smile.
BRIER: What advice would you give aspiring library video directors if they are considering making a video about their library or services?

BAKER: Don't be afraid to fail. We've made several videos, and they haven't all been successes. I felt just as good about the hits as I did about the misses, so it's important to put all your ideas out there to see what sticks.
BRIER: Are you considering making any new videos? If so, what do you have on tap?

BAKER: We've got a couple planned on library etiquette and on fun things to do

in the library (sardines) but with the start of the term it's on hold for a while. We also did a film-noir style video for the first year student orientation that was a hit.

3. Interview: Cassi Pretlow – Summer of Reading

An email interview with one of the creators of the Denver Public Library: Summer of Reading video.

BRIER: Where did you get idea for the videos emerge?

PRETLOW: Our department was trying to figure out a way to do viral marketing project, it came out of a brainstorming session. At first we were going to use our library mascot costume - The Bookworm, but it was 20 years old and disgusting, so we rented a Kitty costume.
BRIER: Who made the video?

PRETLOW: Six people in our department; two people took turns to film; one person to

edit; three people took turns wearing the Kitty costume. We felt that

the more the merrier because that is when ideas fly.
BRIER: How much did the video cost to make?

PRETLOW: We used someone's personal video camera and Apple film editing software.

We rented a cat suit which cost $80. Otherwise it only cost staff time.

BRIER: How long did it take to make?

PRETLOW: Four hours to film, eight hours to edit (this was our first time editing,

so for a experienced person it would probably be a lot shorter)

BRIER: What has been the reaction to the videos?

PRELOW: Many staff and customers sent e-mails with praise. Received 4 out of 5

stars on YouTube.

BRIER: To what extent has the video impacted library services or ideas about the library or both?

PRETLOW: People that would normally look at the library as traditional may see it in more fun and inviting light. Since it was uploaded on 5/1/7 it's had 5,892 views and was in highlighted in local papers and blogs. The number of our Summer of Reading web site views more than doubled from last year and we think this video helped achieve this in some way.
BRIER: What were the most challenging aspects about making the video?

PRETLOW: Wearing a heavy, hot cat suit in hot weather, finding staff time, learning how to use iMovie for the first time, editing is

BRIER: What advice would you give aspiring library video directors if they are

considering making a video about their library or services?

PRETLOW: If possible avoid getting plot/story suggestions from administration or

don't let a committee decide what it will be about; be spontaneous; include landmarks in video that locals will recognize; try to get your customers in shot(s) (but bring along release forms for them to sign); if you can afford to rent a costume (but no clown costumes :)) then it is a great way to avoid having to act, or feel pressure to act - since you're anonymous, you're able to be more spontaneous and fun.

BRIER: Are you considering making any new videos? If so, what do you have planned next?

PRETLOW: We're thinking of doing this annually to go with our Summer of Reading

BRIER: Are there any funny stories you can share about the video (making it or reaction to it)?

PRETLOW: When we were filming outside some people from another country we're

demanding a photo with Kitty (the costume shop called her Purrsia). Skateboarders wanted to hug Kitty.

BRIER: What do you do at the library? How long have you worked their? How did you get involved in video?

PRETLOW: Our department is the Web Services Team. We've been in this department

1-6 years. The department is only 6 years old. Those involved in the video

making - me- web project manager/librarian, 5 web content developers.
BRIER: Who wrote and performed the song?

PRETLOW: Hot IQs - a popular Denver band. We wanted to use a local band and one that would give permission to use their song in the video. They were thrilled to give permission and sent us some free CDs to add to our library collection.

4. Interview: Nancy Dowd – We Love our NJ Libraries

An email interview with the creator of the New Jersey State Library’s video

We Love our NJ Libraries.”

BRIER: Where did you get idea for the videos emerge?

DOWD: I was looking to create a video that reflected the contemporary library while combining the possibilities of integrating the interactivity of web 2.0. So I started with the question "Why do you love your library?" and then started to piece together various elements. When I discovered the rappper, it put the finishing touches on it.
BRIER:Who made the video?

DOWD: I made the video in February 2007
BRIER: How much did the video cost to make?

DOWD: Zero- well actually I did buy some mini DVD's but other than that I went to a

public library, filmed testimonies, edited and produced the entire production on my mac.

BRIER: How long did it take to make?

DOWD: It was one day of actual filming, I used photos that I had taken over the course of several years. The editing process was intensive- it was really a project of love and I worked on it from home. Probably a month of nights and weekends from start to end.
BRIER: What has been the reaction to the videos?

DOWD: Fantastic- we were awarded the InfoTubey Award by Information Today and it still continues to get hits and comments from people who view it.
BRIER: To what extent has the video impacted library services or ideas about the library or both?

DOWD: We used the video as a public awareness tool. In addition to the video we created a statewide campaign that used the question to remind people of different services we offer such as wireless. We have played it at statewide conferences where we have met elected officials and it has proven to be an effective way of letting them know about the services.

BRIER: What were the most challenging aspects about making the video?

DOWD: Keeping it short.

BRIER: What advice would you give aspiring library video directors if they are considering making a video about their library or services?

DOWD: Really it all depends on what your purpose is for the video. Sine we are statewide agency we tend to gravitate toward more universal wide range goals- local libraries need to promote specific programs, products or services or promote an image to attract people. I have found the most effective videos by local libraries integrate the customers and/or staff to promote various services. I love the ones where staff review books or concepts are taped and played. I think the biggest problem is that people forget the attention span of the average consumer is now less than a minute so their video really needs to be 30 seconds... or less.
BRIER: Are you considering making any new videos? If so, what do you have planned next?

DOWD: Yes, we have a new campaign coming up in 2008 that will utilize many of the ideas we gathered in this campaign and take it to the next level.. I can't share yet but it should be lots of fun.
BRIER: Are there any funny stories you can share about the video?

DOWD: Well its kind of funny but also serves as a reminder to watch what you

film… I had this great interview on the street of a library customer. I mean he really nailed what I was looking for. Great voice, humor the whole bit- he was really on fire. So I'm editing his clip and there's this puff of smoke that is rising from below the camera line, it almost looked like there might be a "fire down below" so to speak. The more I looked at it the more curious it all became until I realized the guy was smoking and was holding the cigarette do so it wouldn't be in the shot! Would have made a great blooper.

BRIER: What do you do at the library? How long have you worked their? How did you get involved in video?

DOWD: I've been director of marketing for the state library about two years. I'd been watching the explosion of videos and knew there were extraordinary opportunities for libraries. We didn't have the budget for a videographer so I bought a Sony and a Mac and started to play. I think "Three Reasons" was my second video I'd ever made.

5. Interview: Jay Hite – The Adventures of Super Librarian

An email interview with Jay Hite, McCraken County Public Library’s Technology Coordinator touching on the videos “The Adventures of Super Librarian” and “Dr. Duck @ Your Library.”
BRIER: Where did you get the idea for this video?

HITE: The Library has access to the local cable system and schedules programming on the educational access channel. The videos are actually commercials that were produced to run on the access channel and the cable system as a way to promote Library services and events.
BRIER: Who made the videos?

HITE: Most of the videos were made in-house. Early on we had a professional company shoot and edit. Then when we started non-linear editing we were able to create the spots.
BRIER: How long did it to make the videos?

HITE: Most videos only took a few hours to shoot, editing then took another couple of hours.
BRIER: How much did this video cost to make?

HITE: For the couple of spots that were professionally done we budgeted $500 not counting staff time. The "Menu" commercial was a professionally done spot. The couple in the spot was given a couple of dinner certificates for donating their time. The others "Super Librarian and Dr. Duck" were all done in-house with staff, so it was the cost of their time and just a few dollars for props/costumes.

BRIER: What has been the reaction to the video?

HITE: Dr. Duck and Super Librarian did receive the InfoTubey Award. We have had articles written, several inquires even some local news coverage about creating videos. Everyone's response has been positive.

BRIER: To what extent has the video impacted library services or ideas about the library or both?

HITE: The biggest difference has been the increase of usage and awareness from the citizens of McCracken Co. about Library services.
BRIER: What were the most challenging aspects about making these videos?

HITE: Scheduling, most were shot after hours and trying to get everyone together gets tough sometimes.

BRIER: What advice would you give aspiring library video directors if they are considering making a video about their library or services?

HITE: Just Do It, Look at your Library find what you want to promote, make sure that if you promote it and their is a positive response your library can support it. For example we waited with DVD promotion until when we thought we had a collection big enough. You don't want to promote anything then not be able to come through. If the video is about the Library in general definitely get your message out. Speaking for the public library, we were surprised has to how many people in our county were not aware of what

all we had to offer. Since we are a taxing district this was a way to show them where the money was going so that while no one likes to pay taxes its

hurts a lot less if you use the services that you are paying for.
BRIER: Are you considering making any new videos? If so, what do you have on tap?

HITE: Yes we are looking at making some more commercials, at this point we are

not sure what we are going to promote.

BRIER: What do you do at the library?

HITE: I'm the Technology Coordinator, I was hired in 1994 for video, shooting/editing the Library programs and getting them ready to air. Unfortunately as other technology has grown in the library world more of my time has been spent on computers, networks, the other stuff. As the cable programming grew another person was hired to help me with MCLIB-TV as we call it. Tom Prigge, who is now with the local NBC affiliate, was the creative mind behind Super Librarian and Dr. Duck.

6. Interview: Nick Baker – March of the Librarians

An email interview with Nick Baker on his video “The March of the Librarians.”

BRIER: Where did you get the idea for this video?

BAKER: I was waiting to get on a plane for Seattle when I realized that the 
line of people shuffling forward were all librarians, and they reminded 
me of March of the Penguins.  I had my digital camera with me, so I just 
started shooting.
BRIER: How long did it take to make the March of the Librarians.

BAKER: March of the Librarians was shot over several days - I got about 15 minutes of raw footage. I then spent a couple hours watching March of the Penguins and sampling bits of music. Editing it all together took about six hours. So overall, about 12 hours of effort.
BRIER: What were the most challenging aspects about making the videos:

BAKER: Holding the camera steady at MidWinter without a tripod.
BRIER: Are there any funny stories you can share about the video (making it

or reaction to it)?

BAKER: One of my colleagues was on an escalator at ACRL and heard someone say,

"I wonder if that March of the Librarians guy is filming us right now." I thought that was pretty amusing.

7. Interview: Heather Peterson & Cassi Pretlow – Video Contest Experiences

An email interview with Heather Peterson on the Eden Prairie Library’s YouTube and Cassi Pretlow of the Denver Public Library on their experiences sponosoring a a video contest at their library.
BRIER Who sponsored your video contest?

PETERSON: It was sponsored by the Friends of the Eden Prairie Library (prizes) and the Eden Prairie Library (documents, promotion, organized the judging, etc.), with the

approval of Hennepin County Library.

PRETLOW: Denver Public Library
BRIER: How many entries did you get?


BRIER: Who judged the videos?

PETERSON: Who judged the submitted videos? We had a panel of three judges.

One staff member, one person who worked with teens and video at local High School, and a third judge that fell through at the last minute (we substituted the results of an All Staff balloted vote for the voice of the third judge).

PRETLOW: Our department of eight.
BRIER: What, if any, prizes did you offer?

PETERSON: A $75 dollar 1st prize, and two $25 gift cards for the two runner-ups. It was coincidental that we only had three entrants. Next year we will probably go with all cash prizes, and up the dollar amounts by $25 - more of an incentive.

PRETLOW: Creative Zen MP3 player.
BRIER: How and where did you advertise?

PETERSON: The main hit list consisted of: an email to the video teachers at 5 local high schools, posters within our building, and a spot on the Eden Prairie Library web page, and the local paper. It also may have been mentioned else on the

Hennepin County Library website.

PRETLOW: Web, posters in all the branches, local blogs/press found out about it and advertised it.
BRIER: Did you limit the contest to certain age groups?

PETERSON: We were seeking applicants in two different age groups, grades 7-8 and 9-12. We only received applicants for the 9-12 category.

PRETLOW: Age 13-18.

BRIER: What advice would you give other libraries considering a video contest?

PETERSON: Start promoting to the schools earlier in the spring. Have worthwhile prizes, kids love cash. Make sure that everyone on your side is on board (ie. You may choose to make special exceptions for kids filming on the property, access to spaces, etc.). Don't be too specific in your topic - too much structure can squelch the creative process.

PRETLOW: We think that the low number of entries had something to do with the time of year it ran (mid-December to mid-Feb), the weather – 3 blizzards in Denver during that time, the fact that many kids may not have access to a video camera and it takes much more work to create a video rather than enter a book review, the prize - it wasn't an Ipod or cash (we gave the Zen as a prize because it was donated to us). So what we learned is that kids like gift cards/cash, ability to enter in a contest with not too much effort, and the contest should be held in warmer months (not an issue in Hawaii!), especially summer. However, the contest received: 3,526 Web Page hits and 1000+ Contest Videos hits on YouTube. And views went up on our teen site, so we feel it was a success! I've read that teens tend to be 90% voyeurs and 10% participants, with blog entries, online book reviews, etc. One more piece of advice - don't be afraid to experiment with 1-2 things a year!
BRIER: Would you recommend other public libraries try this?

PETERSON: Yes, once the initial set-up is complete (handouts, posting on the web site) the program pretty much runs itself and the result could be a great piece of marketing for your library. Additionally, this program could generate interest among those who aren't library users or those who don't traditionally participate in summer programs. It can help you see your building and services from a fresh perspective or how the customer sees you. Helps shed the uptight stereotype about libraries. What did you learn about putting on the contest? The simpler the better with just a few, easy to understand rules. What worked? Get staff buy-in from the outset; at all levels of the organization. What would you do differently? Promote harder among staff in the building; get support staff involved in promoting.

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