Tag Archives: Libraries

Open forum on technology in libraries.

Hello fair readers!

Over there in the wide world of Facebook, a pretty grand discussion about the influence of technology in libraries has been going.  It was suggested that we move it over to a more user-friendly format that doesn’t restritct you in terms of how long you can rant!

Yes, I mean you Facebook.

Whats with the comment cutoffs guys?

What's with the comment cutoffs guys?

So here is a little background info and then you are more than welcome to go at it in the comments.

I placed a link to this article:

Not-So-Splendid Isolation

An opinion piece written for Library Journal in 2007 about the melding of library services with technology.  It sparked a wonderful conversation/debate on the role of libraries.  I referred to it as “A disturbing article by the guy who wrote a particularly nasty letter to the ed. about my article. He is obviously not a fan of technology…or even delivery of materials at home for seniors…which is a bizarre thing to be against. I think he needs to head back to library school and refresh himself on the ALA Code of Ethics.”

But there are really good arguments on both sides.  Most put a little more eloquently than mine. ;) One commenter has noted:

i think technophiles and free-market drones are causing restructuring where educators and librarians would do better. and i think too in a wider sense, the issue is ‘should markets be the core of society, market aesthetics or logic?’”

And then it spread into videogames and literacy and beyond.  One commenter noting:

“Regarding the Wii issue, I just don’t think it’s the job of a librarian to decide that kids shouldn’t be allowed to play video games. I’m not a politician, or a clergyman, or any other role involved in imposing rules on society.”

So do you have anything you would like to add to this debate?  Do you think that technology in the library is about more than just the spread of information?  I welcome this debate onto La de da and as I’m sure we all know, keep it friendly folks.

Taken from Olivanders flickr

Taken from Olivander's flickr

An Argument for More, Not Less, in Tough Times

Hello fair readers,

An annoucement today has really made me sit back and think.  Chicago Public Library is considering laying off workers and I’m sure they are not the  only ones.  What library isn’t suffering from massive budget cuts right now?  The economy is hitting its bottom, correct?

I blame you...and you...and you.

I blame you...and you...and that short one in the middle.

And  this has been going on for awhile now.  A quick Google News search pulls up many articles from the past year or so commenting on libraries during tough economic times, with headlines like: Patrons flock to libraries as the economy struggles.  The news is the same.  Patrons needs are increasing.  Meanwhile library budgets are being slashed.

This, my fair readers, is a huge mistake.

This is the first image that comes up when googling huge mistake

This is the first image that comes up when googling "huge mistake"

Libraries, in every setting, are invaluable during these times.  What has led us to this point? Ignorance and a lack of common sense or knowledge.  I’m not saying the people responsible are undereducated.  In fact many have their MBAs I’m sure.  But there is a degree and then there is knowledge.  And these can be two different things.

Libraries provide information.  They are the safety net in times of woe and in times of need.  We are here to arm citizens with knowledge and information to prevent future economic crises.

Knowledge is power...not just a cliche.

Knowledge is power...not just a cliche.

Slashing budgets, cutting corners, laying off workers, decreasing hours.  These are not the answer.  Not right now.  I am not saying that all libraries are in perfect fiscal working order.  I’m sure some need fine tuning.  But that is certainly not the case when CPL has announced it may be laying off over 100 workers, which is sure to hit every branch and every neighborhood.

And for those people who think this isn’t possible, that people will not want to continue to fund libraries in times of need.  Let us take an example, one I commonly turn to, with Kalamazoo Public Library.  As mentioned in a previous post, this library went up for a millage renewal at a time when most libraries would never want to and this millage passed on May 5, 2009.   This is a perfect example of a community that realizes it needs the library in times like these.

And they do.

So this is my argument for more, not less, when it comes to supporting our libraries in tough economic times.  This is when people need us the most.  This is our time to shine.  But in order to shine, we need our funding and staff protected and maintained.  Because we are not just the preservers of the past but also the building blocks for the future.

library addition at CSU - Dominquez Hills

library addition at CSU - Dominquez Hills

If your library is having funding issues, contact your elected representatives and let them know about the importance of this issue.

Have a great weekend fair readers.


Good News for People Who Like Good News (vol. 2)

Hello fair readers!

Just a small note to celebrate

international_fireworks_2_b

My first article is being published in the May 1st edition of Library Journal.  Here is a linky for your viewing pleasure:

http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6652439.html?industryid=47106

I hope you enjoy it. <3

Have a lovely weekends fair readers!

All you need is (job) love.

Hello fair readers!

I’m going to gush here. I’m going to talk about how very very lucky I feel to be part of a great organization and how librarianship can be so rewarding when you have great people working towards a common goal.

Yes. That’s right. I officially *love* my job.

I’ve been doing a great deal of research recently about customer service to prep for a Poster Session proposal. And one thing that I’m noticing all over is that job satisfaction is a major factor when it comes to providing good service.

And this make sense.

Think about it. Think about the jobs that made you miserable. Mine?

That’s right…my very first job I was a waitress at Steak ‘n Shake.

Sigh.

And here are some of the reasons I hated it and therefore, gave bad service: little to no support from management; no indebted feelings towards the product or the company; no rewards system set up for good work skills. And so much more. But those are the main issues.

Now let us bring this back to libraries…

What kinds of things can managers/directors/library boards be doing to create an atmosphere that fosters excellent customer service?

The exact opposite of what Steak ‘n Shake did for me as a naive 16 year old.

*Provide managerial guidance and support: this does *not* mean micromanaging to the point of insanity. I’ve had that kind of situation and trust me, does not make one want to provide stellar service. I’m talking support and guidance, which is different from strict overseer. This is fostering creative solutions to potential problems; backing up the staff when there is conflict; following through on issues and most of all, providing great communication.

*Create a culture: totally nabbed this from the whole Nordstroms service approach and that is because it is *brilliant*. When someone loves their library and in indebted in its success and culture, they are much more likely to provide better service. It’s just natural. When you want something to succeed, you work hard to help it succeed.

and finally

*Rewards system: and this is where many libraries go astray. Some kind of internal rewards system can seem gimmicky but I believe it helps. It helps with creating that culture…most importantly a positive culture. If you hear from a manager every time you do well, not just when you make mistakes, the feeling is magnificent. I’m a strong believer in positive reenforcement, not just with workers but also with relationships, my dog (heh)…everything. It works. Simply put.

So that’s just a tad bit of what me and another really rad librarian are working towards developing. Just a little taste of what our hopefully accepted poster session will entail.  There are so many factors that can go into this and I’m so insanely pumped to find out whether we have been accepted to present!!!!

But what is this post about again? Oh yeah.

I love my job!

I feel so blessed.

Have a lovely week fair readers!

Request for Assistance

Hello fair readers!

I two requests for you on this fairest of lovey love days!

Stamp Your Own Damned Messages!

The first is that you participate in a little survey I’m conducting.

That is…if you are a library worker.  If you aren’t it will not work and you’ll probably just be bored with it anyways.

So here is the link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Pd1pgkLY48HnCToOEZz8TA_3d_3d

You will need the secret password, which I’m just going to post here: lalalibrarian

Yep.

Okay, second request is a little more along the lines of the holiday.

If you are looking for something to do with your love tonight, might I suggest a little play that is going on at the Theater Building in Lakeview.  It is called Slaphappy and I went to see it on the opening night.  It has love and slapstick, two of my favorite things, and really it would make a great date tonight…or really any night.  Sometimes we all just need to laugh at something completely ridiculous.  This play covers that.  It’s also extremely clever and well cast.  I highly recommend it.  So check it out!

front

Okay, that’s it for today.  Have a lovely Valentine’s Day fair readers!  And enjoy the rest of your weekend.

<3

Well done CPL.


Well done CPL.

Originally uploaded by leah the librarian

Hello fair readers!

Just a quick note to say how much I totally love Chicago Public Library’s new ad campaign called Not What You Think!!!

It’s totally fab and the website is fresh looking and very modern.   Plus there is a hilarious picture of an old librarian spinning records.  And also recommends the library as a quirky first date location.  I just love it overall.

So well played Chicago Public Library!! I look forward to seeing these ads on the train and grinning everytime I see one!

Have a lovely week, fair readers!

Librarian Mythology From Within

Hello fair readers!

In my new position, I have had the opportunity to have some really interesting discussions with other new Librarians about our field, our realities, and more importantly, our myths.

And lots of the myths are not just coming from people’s stereotypes of the profession but from the community itself.  We have built up a certain amount of untruths about the profession, perhaps in an effort to up recruitment.  However these myths, in this writer’s opinion, can be destructive to the profession.  Recruiting people who maybe are just not suited to modern librarianship and do not understand how much the profession has completely changed.

For example:

1) There are lots of librarian jobs because all librarians are old and retiring.

Anyone else told this when they began to consider library school?  Well…let me debunk this for you.  Librarianship is a profession in which you can spend a great deal of your life.  It requires brain power and, for the most part, little physical power.  So yes, there are many older individuals who are librarians.

But!

They are *not* retiring!!  Despite what some journals would have you beleive, the job market is just as difficult and frustrating for librarians as it is for everyone else right now.  Something I have learned is that having your Master’s degree does not mean you are going to swept up by a library as soon as you receive that degree.  That is just plain not true.

When you get into our field, like most other fields, you need to face the reality that after school you are going to have to compete with many other library graduates *and* librarians in the field.  This is exactly how other fields work.

The idea that a library degree is the golden ticket to employment is just plain false.

And anyone who has graduated in the past year can tell you that.

2) “Why do you want to work in a library?” “I love to read”

Okay.  I love books too.  But it is certainly not my reason for becoming a librarian.  If fact, this is probably one of the *worst* reasons to become a librarian.

Repeat this with me:

“Librarianship is service, Librarianship is service”

Being a librarian means you have chosen to work in a service industry.  If you like to be surrounded by books all day reading, become a scholar…not a librarian.

There are lots of types of librarians. Corporate, legal, medical, media, school, young adult, public services, and more.  One thing that connects all of us is that fact that we all serve a certain community, whether law school or the public, and we provide information services to that community.  This is a difficult and complicated job and commonly, we have very little downtime.

So if you love to read, hurray!  That is grrrreat!

But you might want to consider that being a librarian requires a great deal of social interaction, services, talking in front of groups, and presenting of materials.  If the idea of this scares you, please do yourself and all library patrons a favor, and consider a different Master’s program.

I became a librarian because I love helping people.  If you love to help people and connect them with their information needs as well?  Then perhaps this field is for you too!

That’s right. Those dudes? Librarians.

Now don’t get me wrong.  This might seem like an uber hater post but I would not argue that these are reasons to avoid the field of librarianship.  Not at all.  Mythologies exist in most cultures right?

And if there is one thing I can say about librarianship?  Our culture rocks.   :)

But I would argue that perpetuating these myths, can be destructive to the profession and to the patrons we serve.  It’s important for everyone going into librarianship to realize what the field really is….

librarianship is service, librarianship is service, librarianship is service

:)

Have a lovely Winter week fair readers!