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.
I’m at work today, not at the library but at the pool. The pool always goes through a lot of soul searching deciding whether to be open on minor holidays like US Columbus Day. The big rift is this: it’s a holiday so lifeguards and building managers would like a holiday. It’s also a holiday so the people who would be swimming have the day off and might want to use the pool. It’s pretty hard to make the right choice. If you’re closed, people will say they wanted to be there. If you’re open and no one shows up, your staff gets bored and annoyed.
The same thing happens with libraries, in a big way. Here in Vermont pretty much every library is closed on Sundays. This is nice for the librarian who wants to work mostly M-F but bad for the patron with regular work hours who would like to get to the library. I do admit that I applied for a library job in Vermont at one point and balked at the mandatory Sunday evening hours.
This is all my way of leading up to Brian Herzog’s Work Like a Patron Day which you may recognize seems similar to a few of Ryan Deschamps’ zero-tech 2.0 no brainers. The basic idea is to try to take your librarian hat off and see how your library feels to someone who uses all the public services and utilities — bathroom, computers, web interface, etc — and see if you get the same vibe off of it as you do as a staff member. Brian has demarcated October 15 — six months after National Library Week — as WLAP day and has some more information on the Library Success wiki. Try it out and see what you think.
Brian has a few suggestions for other places to go online to ask questions or read other people’s answers. As you probably know, I work for Ask MetaFilter and I’m pretty happy with how it all works out, getting people answers to their questions. I’ve asked thirty questions there myself. Here’s a screenshot of what I think is a pretty usual list of questions.
So, I’m officially on a vacation which means I’m tootling around Portland Oregon visiting libraries and seeing friends. I am pleased to report that I am liking this vacation business and will endeavor to do more of it. My project as I mentioned earlier was to stay caught up on RSS feeds because I was starting to become one of those “who’s got time for all this?” people which was simply unacceptable. To that end, I used some stuck-in-airport time to cull down my list of RSS feeds I was following — deleting blogs that haven’t updated since 2005, removing blogs whose feeds have moved — and make sure everything I was following I was actually reading. I suggest you take some time to do the same. For the record, I follow about 150 feeds total. That includes friends, family, librarians, a few music blogs and some MetaFilter-work stuff. My next project is to catch up on all the music that needs listening to.
I have a short list of links to make sure I mention and then I’m all set and “caught up” in whatever that means for someone like me. I hope your Summer is treating you well.
- School Library Journal is doing a 23 Things project and have opened it up so that anyone who wants to can follow along and learn about 2.0 tools a little at a time.
- Brian Herzog links to an OMG-ish news story discussing the availability of R rated movies in the public library and what their library’s response has been.
- Erin Blackwell has written a very loving obit for Celeste West, one of the editors of the original Revolting Librarians.
- Molly Kleinman sent along a great post from the lute (librarians use technology every day) blog giving tutorials about how to use the command line.