Archive for the ‘Libraries’ Category

For some reason I find this terribly funny.

What is a poor librarian to do?

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I also thought I would post a link to Jessamyn West’s (from librarian.net) very neat presentation on Web 2.0. I was a little late in finding this but I liked it so much that I decided to share it with my fellow reference people here.

Doing More With Less – Sensible Library Technology

She also has a wonderful one on tech support, and who hasn’t bemoaned that its not our job to handle it when patron’s ‘break their yahoo’ which happens with a frequency I don’t like to admit.

And so:

On The Fly Tech Support

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(Now) Teen Librarian M and I had our second session of our self developed Web 2.0 class for our library staff. This time most of those attending were from circulation, and some from the branches, which is always nice to see since we don’t get to really talk with them to much. The participants again ranged pretty well in age but I would hazard to say that the make up was slightly older this time, which is always interesting to investigate.

Things went slightly different this time and though in the first session we barely had enough time left to cover YouTube this go round we had enough time to actually go over everything we slated and had enough left over to mention a few new little fun things that I had found between then and now. (Including the very, very fun The Best Stuff in the World, which I discovered in a Best of the Best of Web 2.0 article on the totally awsome Software Development in the Real World site.) It seems perhaps we’ve found our groove and surprisingly enough the circulation staff had some very interesting insights for us as well.

One plan I’ve had ever since learning about it is using del.icio.us in our library to help empower the circulation staff who are still very shy about trying to answer reference questions, though they are supposed to be able to do so if a librarian is unavaliable. We have reference pods at our library and upon downloading Firefox (yay!) on the computers there the del.icio.us extension was added to offer immeadite access to reference links on the internet for anyone to use. This is quite pertinant since our websites link page is quite out of date and doesn’t look as if it’s going to change any time soon, despite our efforts. (But that’s another story.) I’ve also plans to do the same at the checkout pods to offer the circulation staff the same access as the librarians have. Hopefully this will help them and keep them from immeaditly running to Google. I’m planning to impliment this and from what I understand the assistant director is all for it. I hope for circulation feedback too, something I think they’ve never really had a chance to give concerning a project like this.

However, one of the circulation staff had a very interesting suggestion as well. She asked if it would ever be possible to install something like the del.icio.us button on the public internet computers we have so that patrons would know where to go for the sites they constantly come in looking for. I thought it was a very innovative idea and I think very viable if administration and IT were behind it. We’ll see just how far it ends up going though, as judging from our patrons and those who attend our public computer classes I’m not sure if our community is quite ready for that. However, I would love if eventually, after all the library staff is trained, to make the Web 2.0 class public to show our patrons just what is out there. One can certainly dream, anyway.

And in other, slightly related, news my proposed blog was approved so our library will finally have its own which I believe is an incrediably positive step in the right direction. Lets hope we take many more.

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Myself, Teen Librarian M, and Collection Development Librarian B got to spend a wonderful day yesterday listening to the very knowledgable Kat Kan give a presentation on graphic novels in the library. Teen Librarian M and I are both already very much in the know about graphic novels and manga as we both read them in our personal lives and advocate in our library system whenever we manage to get a chance to, giving programs on them and suggesting core titles for purchase. So, quite a bit of what was talked about we knew already, at least in terms of content and the kind of stuff that is out there right now but it was also a very good introduction for those who don’t know as much as we so, such as Collection Development Librarian B, and I think it was quite eye opening for many of those who were in attendance.

It was also really interesting to hear this information from the view point of someone whos been into graphic novels for so long and who has also been in libraries too and made a difference in the collections and in the way patrons look at the library while doing so. Even now there seems to be such a stigma on graphic literature as it does often contain just the same content as novels, only in picture format. Somehow this always gets people uptight even if libraries don’t usually tend to carry things that are to extremely graphic. (As opposed to graphic.) And of course the enduring idea that it’s just drawings for kids, meant to entertain. But, as she so greatly explained using Watchmen, that most certainly isn’t the case.

Perhaps what surprised me the most was the sheer amount of questions her program made me think of while she was talking. I don’t believe there was a single break when I didn’t go up to her and relentlessly pick her brain about something she had said. One of these was her thoughts on the 741.5 classifcation for graphic novels and why she really doesn’t like it since they tend to get lost in nonfiction. That, and it’s just not cool to go and look at books that are near the collectable coins and crafting sections. I can completely agree with her viewpoint here as that happens all of the time in our library and the lack of circulation of those materials is rather upsetting. She also mentioned the bid to the Dewey editors to have a special number set just for graphic novels. (Which was subsequently ignored.) She urged us to pull them out of nonfiction (and fiction in some cases) and make them as visible as possible.

Still, it was a learning experience and one I won’t forget for quite awhile now. Lucky for us we have special display shelving and the next theme going up there will be graphic novels. I would urge any librarian who has a chance to see Kat Kan speak to go and do so, it was very enlightening.

And the best part was she is also a gigantic Sandman fan, just as I am. One of the best things ever written, I swear.

And for anyone interested, the Graphic Novels in Libraries discussion list (GNLIB) is great to answer your questions and to fill you on on whats going on.

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Our revamped 5 Year plan has just been given out to us, or at least the first draft of it though I doubt much will change between that and the final version, and finally something to be optomistic about. Finally finally finally we’re going to be embracing blogs and IM reference within the system. It’s almost hard for me to say just how excited that makes me after I’ve been pushing for quite awhile for it. I had a particular fervor after reading The Shifted Librarian’s article about Online Outreach for Patrons. There were so many things in that entry I had never even thought of and it allowed me to do more than I ever would have tried on my own. Adding us to Wikipedia, Wikimapia, utilizing Google Local and Craigslist were only a starting point.

Considering how many of our young patrons don’t seem to want to come into the library these days and the age old problem of people not wanting to walk up to a librarian and simply ask a question, it makes so much sense to meet the patron where they are. That seemed to be particularly true out of a part quote I picked up through David Warlick’s SLJ Summet Powerpoint cited from Vinod Khosla that ended with “…everything is clickable, even their parents.” I don’t think most libraries (read: library administration) realize this.

But I swear, one way or another we are going to drag this library into the 21st century. If not, what good will we be to our patrons who are living and breathing this day and age while we’re stuck in the past?

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I thought I would drop a link to David Lee King’s post titled Making Time for Web. 2.0. A bit late on the draw, yes, but at the moment its what I’ve come up with. Considering the state and flux of libraries today this is particularly important if we want to be able to keep up with, not so much of the times, but our users, our patrons.

But isn’t that what libraries have always tried to do? We can only hope that we’ll be able to keep up this time.

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