If you don’t already read the Cool Tools blog you probably should, even if you’re not much of a blog reader. Camille Cloutier is the reference librarian for Kevin Kelly [yes he has his own personal librarian. Her awesome job was profiled in A Day in the Life when it was held by someone else] and she has made an amazingly effective recipe aggreagator. The tool is cool, her explanation about how and why she made it is even cooler.
My boyfriend and I wanted to go to a museum this weekend so we called his local library to see what museum passes they had available. The woman on the phone told us to check the website. We did. The library uses Library Insight which I’ve used before and like decently. There were passes for the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum available for Sunday. We tried to reserve them via the website’s system and kept getting an error message saying that my boyfriend’s password was wrong. I glared at him saying “You don’t have any overdue fines, do you?” He said no. We called the library and it turns out that you need to have your card “set up” by them to get museum passes via the web site. They set up his card and reserved the passes for us over the phone.
Now, getting Sunday passes involves picking them up at the library on Saturday. We headed over to the library to get the passes. When we got there, the librarian said that someone else had reserved the passes and sorry but that was how it went sometimes. We asked if she was sure that it wasn’t us who had reserved them [she had scanned my boyfriend’s card and showed no passes reserved and the passes we wanted weren’t available according to her computer] and she said she was. She was sure. I put on my politest voice possible and said that we had called and done this whole routine twenty minutes ago and how unlikely it was that someone else had reserved the passes and would she please check that the passes that she showed as reserved were not, in fact, reserved for us? I probably do not need to tell you how this story ends. The museum was delightful, marred only slightly by the fact that bad software, wonky library policies and erratic customer service nearly stood in the way of us getting them at all.
This is just a big lead up to tell you that Brian Herzog has written a nice post with Rich Boulet reviewing calendaring and room reservations software and you should go take a look at it. Maybe there’s a better alternative to the software that you use?
Library Journal Mover and Shaker nominations are open until this Friday. I have to say that being in the first group of Movers and Shakers back in 2002 gave me a sort of boost of recognition in an otherwise large and sometimes overhwlming seeming profession. I try to nominate someone every year if I can and I’m set for this year. Have you nominated anyone? Go do it!
TechSoup uses Google Analytics to track site visits and other statistics. I’ve said for a while now that the more data you can get about people using your websites, the more you can translate these into requests for funding, staffing and other improvements in your institution. Elliot Harmon wrote a good article about the things to keep in mind as you start using these tools. I gave a few pullquotes for it: Site Statistics and User Privacy for Nonprofit Websites.
For the past ten years, Luis Soriano, a teacher in the small town of La Gloria, Colombia, has been following the same ritual. Every week-end, he gathers his donkey in front of his house, straps on the â€œBiblioburroâ€ pouches to its back, and loads them with a selection of books from the eclectic collection he has acquired over the years. Off on his mobile library, he travels into the hills and through the fields to the villages beyond where children await his visits impatiently. He firmly believes that bringing books to people who donâ€™t have access to them can improve the country and open up possibilities for the future generation of Colombia.