Why is my Dad talking to me about the public library?

My Dad never goes to the public library. He buys his own books and is a little… fussy about public spaces. That said, when I go to visit him we talk about library issues because they’re interesting to me and he’s a techie and always curious how libraries seem to have gotten so much so wrong. He did talk to me about two library news items that I found interesting. One was the I Love My Librarian award winners which my Dad read about in the New York Times. The other was the Chelmsford High School Library’s Learning Commons project — which he read about in the Boston Globe — which provided an (incorrect) opening to say “Hey, my friend Brian is a librarian there! He has a blog!” I then got to prattle on about their town-wide history project which I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while. So, there it is, get your library in the paper get the retiree crowd curious about you.

8 thoughts on “Why is my Dad talking to me about the public library?

  1. I hate to relinquish glory, but the Learning Commons project is actually the Chelmsford High School library, not the public library. The team at the school really did pull off an amazing transformation within their space, and deserves the attention and accolades – not to mention the increased student foot traffic.

    That being said, the public library is still pretty good, too.

  2. Thanks Brian, I did a quick scan before posting, obviously WAY too quick. I fixed the post.

  3. What does your dad think the libraries have gotten so wrong?

  4. I think he thinks that there seems to be no guiding principles for public libraries in the US. You can’t walk into a library and know what you’re going to get. You can’t know if you can use a computer, or if someone will be nice to you. There’s no standardization of technology services from place to place and they are often run by people who don’t seem to be friendly and definitely don’t understand technology. The library catalogs aren’t great and seem to lack sme of the basic functions we’re now used to (in 2008) seeing from websites.

  5. It would be great if you could get your dad to post his comments here!

  6. Our public library has a great reputation in the community regardless that the place is difficult to navigate the buildings, the floors, the departments, the collections, the curatorial experts. Recently like a kind of Ionesco performance the guy whose face is on posters and in library promotion videos to market and raise morale turned around after being a friendly approachable person, turned into the gatekeeper type presenting obstacle after obstacle to library usability. More often than not many of our librarians go on about what can’t be done than coming up with solutions to obstacles to usability. In this our Boston Public Library is a good example of a bad example, a model of problematical usability like that of other cities’ public libraries.

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