Subscribe to SLJ
Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

TENN-SHARE and consortiums

Does your state have consortiums? Do you belong to any organizations that cross types of libraries? In Tennessee we have We are utilizing the web in programs like Learn & Discover which gave librarians the chance to complete a ten week learning opportunity via and even win an mp3 player. 

While I was unable to stay for the entire TENN-SHARE conference last fall, I was able to attend the TENN-SHARE Datafest and collection development sessions to preview books. Yes, readers, I do need to meet with vendors to see what I might be overlooking. I’m amazed at how many books I don’t hear about until I’m viewing vendor exhibits. 

While I was there, I went on a special tour of the Nashville Public Library tour digitization work areas.  They showed us their equipment, including the new BookEye 3 planetary scanner, and told us about the Nashville Public Library’s Digital Collection (  Our tour ended in the library’s new Special Collections Center, where they briefly demonstrated some of the ways they are making the digital materials accessible. 

Volunteer VoicesI celebrated with the Volunteer Voices Gala in the Nashville Public Library Special Collections Center.  This statewide digitization process is phenomenal. I have watched their progress from an idea, to a grant, to reality. 

Why should you care about Volunteer Voices? Well, the website describes it as:

"Volunteer Voices: The Growth of Democracy in Tennessee" is a grant project funded by the Institute for Museum and Library Services that allows K-12 educators and students free online access to a variety of primary, or first hand, sources related to Tennessee’s history, culture, government, and industry. The project is a state-wide effort involving collaboration between museums, libraries, historical societies, and archives to digitize over 10,000 artifacts and documents such as historical letters, maps, diaries, journals, art, and images.

A primary goal of the project is to choose resources that significantly relate to the K-12 Tennessee social studies curriculum and other related subjects. The items will be classified by the 10 historical eras described in the Tennessee Department of Education Social Studies curriculum and will provide a means of making history "come alive" for students.

The Volunteer Voices website also serves as a resource for educators to gather information regarding the use of primary sources as well as sample lesson plans incorporating the sources into the Tennessee curriculum standards.

Does your state have a similar project? I love this resource, so be sure to tell me if you have access to similar resources!

The TENN-SHARE Datafest provides a unique opportunity to explore many different electronic databases and resources that are available for purchase. Even if I don’t think I have funds, I still need to explore and see what resources are so vitally important that I need to SEEK funds to support. 

I love attending events with such a diversity of librarians because I am able to chat with people about what’s happening in their libraries and how WE can make libraries better. I asked Suresh Ponnapa questions about his group – THESLA and the new grant they have for training public libraries across the state on how to choose and assess medical resources. 

"Have you reached out to any schools?" I asked. I cannot speak for all school librarians, but I have not had extensive training on medical resources, yet I receive very serious requests from students, parents, and teachers frequently. How can I best help students research diseases and disorders when they have been newly diagnosed? How can I provide resources to parents to cope? How can I help teachers?

What about all of those class assignments needing information on drug and alcohol abuse? What sources are the most current with reliable information? My school doesn’t have access to Rosen’s Teen Health and Wellness database although I desperately want it available. Is there anything else out there for us? Hearing all these questions, Suresh invited me to attend the THESLA meeting later that night where I met many librarians who are also looking for ways to distribute information to schools. I still need to follow up on this and share resources with you readers. THESLA stands for the Tennessee Health Science Library Association.

Our TENN-SHARE organization also offers Benefits for membership like:

  • Joining a network of almost 600 libraries in Tennessee supporting resource-sharing efforts across the state. That’s a lot of buying power.
  • Becoming an affiliate member of Lyrasis, with access to the OCLC Interlibrary Loan system, discounts on Lyrasis training workshops, and other benefits.
  • Receiving a deep discount, with free shipping, on book, video/CD/DVD and spoken word audio orders from Ingram Library Services.
  • Receiving discounts on electronic database subscriptions from a wide variety of vendors. Information is sent via the bi-monthly newsletter Database News and Offers.
  • Earning Continuing Education Credits for educational workshops on a variety of topics at inexpensive member rates.Joining Tenn-Share members in library advocacy. (You know I love this one!) Effecting positive change for Tennessee libraries requires lots of cooperation and effort in getting the word out to legislators. This has been especially true in increasing funding for the Tennessee Electronic Library (TEL).
  • Attending Tenn-Share’s annual Fall Conference and DataFest, learning about statewide resource-sharing projects and opportunities. The 2009 DataFest will be held on October 29th with the Conference on Friday, October 30th.

So readers, I ask you again. Does your state provide opportunities like this? Share with us so we can all benefit.