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Showing posts from 2010

The Dip

This isn't exactly a book report, but my thoughts have been spurred by reading Seth Godin's The Dip. One thing that I remember hearing over and over again in library school was that libraries (especially public libraries) need to stop being everything to everyone if they want to continue succeeding. At the time I thought that was a pretty easy piece of advice to remember. Then I started working in a public library where we were horribly understaffed and underfunded, just like many others. While I was still trying to figure out my exact role in the organization I picked up projects haphazardly, partly so I could fill my day and partly in the hope that I could eventually I'd see enough pieces of the organization that I could finally make sense of the whole.

The thing is, I don't think I'm alone in this approach to a new job and I wouldn't be surprised if this is the way many libraries approach serving their communities. One patron said we should offer ebooks, ano…

PLA - Day 4

Sorry it took so long to get the shortest day of the conference for me up here. Because of when my flight left, I only had time to go to the first session of the conference's last day, which was really worth it. The packed program was all about serving patrons in their 20s and 30s. Essentially the advice broke down in two ways: 1) make sure you're marketing your current adult programs in ways that don't scare off younger adults 2) find out what younger adults in your community are interested in and develop appropriate programming, even if that means hosting after hours events where alcohol is served. You may have to think outside the box a little bit in order to create events and that will attract patrons you aren't used to seeing in the library.

This presentation reinforced a feeling I'd been having even before PLA. I thought it was unique to our community, but apparently not. Libraries are generally great at serving their youngest and oldest patrons, but teens an…

PLA - Day 3

Day Three at PLA started with "Oh, I Should Have Said ... : aka Dealing With Difficult People" which was a really great program that used humor to deal with various "problem patron" situations, including when the "problem patron" is actually the library staff member. The presentation was scattered with skits demonstrating situations familiar to all of us who work public service desks. I think one key which they addressed is not taking the actions of angry people personally, and I think that's key for any customer service oriented job. People can be grumpy, and it's generally not your fault, so stop getting defensive and instead try to defuse the situation by really listening to what they have to say and finding an acceptable solution for both parties.
Next up was "Top Five of the Top Five" which was blitz of genre fiction recommendations. The five genres represented were horror, fantasy, women's fiction, crime, and humor and, just to …

PLA - Day 2

Day Two at PLA brought the beginning of regular sessions and my massive day of teen services.

I started the day with "Reinventing Your Teen Department" which was a library that brought teens into their library by creating appropriate teen spaces in the library and focusing on gaming. While the general aim of their gaming program was similar to what we talked about in my preconference the day before, the way they went about achieving it was completely different. Instead of starting with the crowd pleasing Wii and branching out to other gaming systems as interest grew, they went straight for the teenage boys and set them loose on an Xbox. It was interesting, but a lot of the ideas they implemented aren't very applicable to my current situation. I got a few new ideas for resources, though.

The second morning session was "Top Trends in Teen Services" which was one of those great potpourri sessions where they threw out tons of great ideas for all aspects of teen ser…

PLA - Day 1

Today was my first day at the Public Library Association conference, and I'm not sure how I'm going to do 2.5 more days and keep my head from exploding. There's just so much that's so relevant to my job, I can find something interesting everywhere I look.
This morning I went to the Get Your Game On: Gaming in Libraries Preconference, and it was wonderful. I realized that I need to stop playing the role of wife of a gamer and own that I know a thing or two about video games, too, and what I don't know I can learn. Eli and Aaron spent the first half of the program talking about the benefits of gaming and why libraries should be doing gaming, which is something I'd always bought, but never been very good at articulating. Essentially it boils down to all the different types of literacies learned through video games and what are libraries for if not promoting literacy.
It was also interesting they argued that the way libraries get the most value out of gaming is by ho…

Library Day in the Life Round 4 - Day 3

Wednesday, January 27, 2010 -


Today there were actually things happening in my schedule. Due to a random alignment of circumstances, I actually got to help grab hold items this morning. Sometimes I'm amazed by how little time I actually spend in the stacks, so grabbing holds is as good an excuse as any to get me doing that.


Then I spent an hour in our phone room and double checked that I had the right outline for a computer class I'd agreed to teach for a co-worker at 10. A few months ago we were finally able to offer computer classes to the public again, but there have been numerous scheduling headaches as we get used to offering this service again. The class I ended up teaching wasn't too bad. It was part one of our Computer Basics series, and since I usually teach part two, it was more just reminding myself what information needed to be covered in this particular installment. As usual for a Basics course, it was a diverse group full of questions. One lady even brought in …

Library Day in the Life - Round 4 - Day 2

Tuesday, January 26, 2009 -

This is my usual night to work, so I came in at 12:30 as usual. I didn't have any desk shifts this afternoon, so I returned to cataloging, which was interrupted by a few administrative details. In March we're starting a new anime club and our public information officer wanted to run a possible ad design by me, which led me to do a little more research about just exactly what we want this club to be so it does get marketed correctly. Mostly, though, I cataloged some more books that had simply been waiting far too long to be added into the collection.

Most Tuesday nights now have programs, so the fourth Tuesday night of the month seems so calm in comparison. Generally everyone who works from 5-9 has a four hour desk shift of some sort. As is usually the case, mine was spent in our phone room. In between answering calls (there was a deadly lull from about 6 to 7) I spent the evening working on some ideas for my Intro to Social Media computer class and …

Library Day in the Life - Round 4 - Day 1

Monday, January 25, 2010

I forgot to post yesterday, but since it's only yesterday, it's easy to remember what I did. Monday was a very strange day for me because I had no hours scheduled at any of our public service desks, and I also had no classes to teach, programs to lead, or meetings to go to, so I essentially spent the whole day cataloging.

As long as I've worked here, we've been behind on cataloging, but lately, with the last few stages of our move into long-term temporary quarters imminent, there's been a push to get caught up so that the backlog of books to catalog doesn't have to be moved yet again. I definitely made a dent in the pile yesterday. Spending the whole day on cataloging also gave me the time to deal with some problem items that I'd been putting off dealing with for awhile, so it was a pretty good day all around, even if I was seeing a little cross-eyed at the end of it.