Tag Archives: library

Do you need anybody?

Hello fair readers,

Apparently Louisville KY was completely slammed yesterday with an absurd amount of rain.  And of course, we know what this does to libraries…

i assume, the remains of a bookmobile room

i assume, the remains of a bookmobile room

If you go to their website you can also see that their server is pretty much destroyed.

The blog See Also is taking up a collection of donations to help restore the library.  He writes “The initial estimate is $1 million in damage, but they must just be guessing at this point”.   You can also donate directly at:

The Library Foundation, 301 York St., Louisville, KY 40203, Attn: Flood.

Or call, 574-1709 for information.

If you have any spare change or even if you live in the Louisville area and can volunteer to help out, this is now a library in need.

Have a good week fair readers. And the best of luck to Louisville Free Public Library, you are in my thoughts and my prayers.


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.

Dealing With Chatty Cathy

Hello fair readers!

As some of you know I am in the process of doing a little research about cell phones in libraries.

taken by the Travelin Librarian

taken by the Travelin' Librarian

If you are a library worker, please feel free to take my survey

But since I’m still in the process of collecting and analyzing my data, I thought I would share a couple of extremely intersting answers to my questions!  A little update of sorts!

For those who have already taken the survey, you will know there are several open ended questions.  One being

What is your library’s policy, if any, on cellphone use in the library?

Here are some interesting answers:

“Go out in the frigging hall”

“Cell phones not permitted on the 2nd floor (Reference Area). Cell phone permitted on lower level (Circulation), in Multimedia, and in Youth Services. So pretty much, it’s ok everywhere but Reference and Readers Advisory/Fiction. We have REALLY scary signs everywhere that say “NO CELL PHONE USE!!!” on all the study tables. This scares me.lol.”

“We ask readers to leave the reading rooms and take phone calls in “common” areas like hallways, staircases or the lobby. We allow study-use-only cellphone camera photography if readers cite in writing the collection materials they are photographing. We don’t prohibit or even monitor texting or other cellphone usage, provided that readers aren’t disturbing others.”

“We shall chop the heads off of people who use them. With a rusty fork.”


“We recently re-evaluated our “procedures” for handling disruptive patrons. We have not “policy” per se, other than our standard patron conduct policy – as long as you’re not distracting others or being disruptive, feel free to conduct your approved library business. However, prior to this paradigm shift, we had dozens of “no cell phones” signs all over the building.”

A very common theme among respondents was something similar to this:

“no policy” or “I don’t believe we have an official policy”.

Another question that gathered some thought provoking responses was the optional question at the end of the survey:

Do you have any other passions/comments/ethical issues that you would like to add about the usage of cellphones in libraries?

ready for it?

“It is frustrating dealing with patrons who insist on taking calls in the library. It is distracting to other users especially since my library is a small space. Additionally it is a privacy issue. Staff and other patrons DO NOT want to hear other people’s business…”

“My dream is that public places (libraries included) would bring back phone booths/rooms for customers to get a little privacy.”

“The camera phone feature is the only issue and that is true in or out of a library. What are people taking pictures of, how are the photos being used, etc. Not a problem for us but something to keep in mind.”

Both of these comments make a really interesting points about privacy! Something librarians love, right?

Here are some flipside opinions:

“It is wrong to asked patrons to not use their cell phones in a public library. Case in point, a parent was waiting for a call from their teen so they could be picked up. Should not allow the parent to answer a call from their teen… Get over it. Join the 21st Century.”

“i feel very strongly about this. i sort of hate monitoring cell phone usage (and we only monitor talking/loud ringing. i could care less whether people are texting, using the internet, etc. on their phones). i think that libraries should make policies addressing the behavior rather than the technology…”

What I’m finding the most fascinating issue with this research is that very few people are in the middle.  Most people feel strongly one way or another.  Like this person for example: “I don’t know why it’s not common sense not to use a cell phone in a library, but where I work it’s a “students tell you to jump, we ask how high” sort of environment.”

So my next step is going to be surveying library users about their opinions on cell phones in libraries.  More cell phone postings to come! I promise.  And again, if you are a librarian and haven’t taken my survey yet…..

feel free to participate!

I love this sign.

Have a lovely week 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.


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!

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!

Ch ch ch ch changes

Fair readers, I have a confession!

I am leaving the realm of the public library and accepted a position at Northwestern University, in my former library, Pritzker Legal Research Center!

I’m extremely excited and very much into the idea that I will no long be driving about 1.5 hours to work each day.  And also will be able to get back into the field of law librarianship.


So although I will no longer be a public librarian, I still intend on blogging on my semi-regular basis.  So worry not, fair readers!  I will not be going anywhere.


I’m keeping this one short and sweet. Have a lovely night.


Is that a TLC album?  I think it is.

Come on. You remember TLC.

Did I just get “Waterfalls” stuck in your head?

Ha. Yeah. Me too.

So this was my crazy experience today on the reference desk in week 4 of my new job as a full time Reference Librarian.

At my library, we have several subject specific Fiction sections, which all fall under my jurisdiction as the All Mighty Ruler of the Fiction Collection.

I’m totally like that at work.  But with books.

Anyways like I was saying we have these sections for areas like Mystery and Westerns.  But by far, the most debated are two sections: Science Fiction

and Fantasy

These are two, apparently, very *very* seperate genres.  And patrons absolutely will not hesitate to inform me that books have been blasphemously placed into the wrong catagory.  In fact, today I had a woman take an entire author’s series of books

and then proceed to move them.  By herself! From Fantasy to Science Fiction.

First, seriously?  Did you really take the time to move these and then come declare how crazy the library is for messing up the difference?  And second…

OK.  Unicorn girl?  Is this not Fantasy?  I don’t get it.  I just don’t understand how a book about a girl who is freaking half unicorn is *not* Fantasy!!

People…are insane.

But somehow, endearing. 🙂

God bless library patrons.  And all their totally bizarro ways.

Have a lovely week fair readers.