Sometimes it’s a good thin to remember that libraries have big imacts on people who do big things. The ripple effect is hard to quantify, but it’s a good thing to remember. From my inbox
- Ronald McNair was one of the astronuauts killed in the Challenger explosion 25 years ago. There was a piece on NPR about his brother reminiscing about how McNair was adamant about using his public library in South Carolina despite the fact that it was supposedly for “whites only”
- Wil Wheaton, actor and blogger shared a short bit he wrote for a literacy project explaining why he thinks librarians are awesome.
- In the comments of that post is a link to this poem published in Library Journal: Why I Am In Love With Librarians.
- Another booster site that I forgot to mention earlier is the Library History Buff site. Larry Nix is a retired librarian and library history enthusiast. I’ve linked to his library history page many times over the years, but I’m not sure if I’ve linked to his blog. He recently did a post wrapping up the work he did in 2010 and pointing to the page he created for it. Good stuff, worth reading.
I have really been enjoying Library Journal’s column on games and gaming in their print magazine and should probably be adding Liz Danforth’s blog to my “to read” list. I enjoyed Allen McGinley’s post in 8bit Library talking about gaming for kids with special needs, with computer and non-computer games. Good list for a starting gaming program.
Hiya. I’m preparing for a talk on Social Software that I’m giving in Utica, New York next Friday. I’ve been travelling significantly less and staying home writing much more. It’s been going well. I noticed last night on facebook [thanks Trevor] that I appear to be cartoonified and on the cover of this month’s Library Journal. Of course this is the post-Reed Business LJ, so I can’t find the cover on their new website and Trevor confirms there’s no actual mention of him or me in the actual article, but hey why pick nits? Interested folks can head over to his facebook profile and ID all the other luminaries on the cover including Emily Sheketoff, Nancy Pearl, Toni Morrison, Ginnie Cooper, Jill Nishi, Salman Rushdie, Mario Ascencio, Trevor Dawes, Camila Alire and Keith Michael Fiels floating away holding on to some balloons.
Aaron Schmidt has a column in Library Journal about user experience. Here is his first column. The ideas of design and user experience seem sometimes orthogonal to what we do in libraries. We are concerned with content not containers, you know “judging a book by its cover” and all that. Aaron explains why design matters and how it pervades many aspects of what we do. Sarah got the best pullquote out of it already
Every time librarians create a bookmark, decide to house a collection in a new spot, or figure out how a new service might work, they’re making design decisions. This is what I like to call design by neglect or unintentional design. Whether library employees wear name tags is a design decision. The length of loan periods and whether or not you charge fines is a design decision. Anytime you choose how people will interact with your library, you’re making a design decision. All of these decisions add up to create an experience, good or bad, for your patrons.
This comes up in my technology-instruction world quite often. Many things about how a user interacts with a computer are pre-determined or at least have a default setting. So the talking paperclip? Someone made a choice that you would see that, instead of having it be a turn-onable option. The “your computer may be at risk!” messages? You can turn them off but the default is ON. These are all choices, actively or passively made. My feeling is that the more we explain to people that they can re-make some of these choices [get the talking dog away from the search box!] it empowers them to envision their computing experience the way they might want it to be, to know they have choices.