Tag Archives: libraries

Top Digital Trends for 2010

An article of digital tech predictions for 2010 written by Nuri Djavit and Paul Newnes, starts like this:

In 2009, digital marketing experienced some major shifts in marketing opportunities, budgets and attitude. 2010 will see the hype calming around Facebook apps and Twitter campaigns and the development of ROI models around social media marketing.

I became excited about the “development of ROI models” bit. This is of special interest to me as we head in to the new year at my library, with the launch of a new social discovery tool, AquaBrowser, for our catalogue. One of the priorities at this time is how to market the launch, and social media marketing is certainly something we’re thinking about.

Reading through the list of trends, there are a few that can be applied directly to libraries and our continuing advancement in using technology to promote and enhance our services. They are:

Fewer registrations – one size fits all. I’m thinking of the single sign in feature that many libraries are implementing, as well as the single search box.

Mobile commerce – the promise that has never delivered yet. Related to this is our continued exploration of how to deliver library news, reading lists and sharing user-generated information via patrons’ mobile devices. While this has been sitting on the horizon for us, and I’m thinking specifically of announcing programs, newly catalogued books in a favourite genre or a text message letting a patron know their holds are in, I think we’ll start to see more progress in this area.

The continuing evolution of web-driven, open source DIY culture. The adoption of social catalogues, the encouragement of user-generated information in our catalogues, and even the growth and promotion of patron interaction and feedback in library blogs and reading lists provides examples that we are aware of this trend in libraries, and are seeking ways to create a collective body of knowledge, not just created and gathered by librarians, but by users.

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Palin: Censor or you’re fired

I don’t like to write about politics.  Everyone has their political opinions and I like to stay out of it.  However, as an American citizen I still have the right to vote in the States and, as many Americans, I was a Clinton supporter.  Now that I’m put to deciding between Obama and McCain, I want to know what they stand for, who they are and their past actions.  By actions, I mean political actions and agendas – not personal issues. 

WIth the announcement of Sarah Palin as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, there has been a flood of articles about her.  The two links that I’m posting involve her actions attempting to censor books in the town library – and her reaction to the situation when the librarian refused.

From the Anchorage Daily News:

WASILLA — Back in 1996, when she first became mayor, Sarah Palin asked the city librarian if she would be all right with censoring library books should she be asked to do so.

According to news coverage at the time, the librarian said she would definitely not be all right with it. A few months later, the librarian, Mary Ellen Emmons, got a letter from Palin telling her she was going to be fired. The censorship issue was not mentioned as a reason for the firing. The letter just said the new mayor felt Emmons didn’t fully support her and had to go.

Time also reported on this, stating:

Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. “She asked the library how she could go about banning books,” he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. “The librarian was aghast.” That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn’t be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

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Shelving issues shouldn’t be blamed on Dewey

I’ve had a nasty cold that has prevented me from doing much of anything lately. However, prior to getting sick, I was contemplating the whole “getting rid of Dewey” debate. Most of the arguments for getting rid of Dewey involve patron dissatisfaction that stems from not being able to physically locate the books and confusing signage (ie. The ends of shelves only having Dewey numbers and nothing more).

These are the questions that have arisen for me out of this:

Will getting rid of Dewey really solve the shelving issues at libraries, or is it just that, a shelving issue?

Is Dewey being blamed for a physical library’s shortcomings in shelving and arranging materials to fill our patrons’ needs?

Will “dummying” down libraries and getting rid of Dewey really solve access problems?

Although traditionally libraries shelve by classification number, they don’t have to.  I’d love to see libraries embracing Dewey yet exploring new ways to shelve.  Perhaps shelving by Dewey number within genre categories? Cataloguers provide subject headings and classifications. Front-line staff should take a leadership role in enhancing the “foundation” we are providing and find new and inventive ways to feature the collection so that it is easily accessible. Why do we need to get rid of one to have the other?

Dewey arguments/comments from other blogs:

No Dewey in the Dessert

Should Dewey Retire?

Librarians weigh in on Arizona’s Dewey–Less Library

Getting rid of classification systems

Getting rid of Dewey part 2

 

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Bookstores have a lot to learn from libraries

My husband and I were wandering around one of the larger bookstores in the city recently. Enjoying the luxury of choosing a few books for Christmas, we were browsing as covers caught our attention or authors jumped into our heads. This is an easy way to waste, dare I say, a few hours.

When we finally decided to take our books to the front for purchase, my husband decided that he wanted a different copy of one of the books he had chosen. The problem was, where had he gotten the book? Where were the other copies located?

Had this book been assigned some sort of classification number, it would have been simple to find. If there was a catalogue that indicated the name of the display it was shelved under, or the topic in which it was classified, we would have been able to find it. However, there was no help for us. Having been through the entire store several times in our wanderings, we finally found it – more than 20 minutes later.

I came to the conclusion that bookstores don’t want you to find information or fulfill your information needs. They want to sell you books – whether you want them or not. They want you to browse, stumble upon books, pick them up and purchase them. Most people who buy books will feel bad if they decide against the book and return it to the wrong place, so they will purchase it, even if they aren’t sure. Do we want to force that kind of “customer satisfaction” on our patrons?

The aggravation of having to look for the location of a book and spending more than 20 minutes of my time was frustrating. Afterall, as a librarian, shouldn’t I be able to find my way around a bookstore? A simple classification number or online catalogue would have been helpful and saved a lot of time.

The next time you hear a colleague worrying and wringing their hands over the fact that we’re not exactly like bookstores – say “Thank Goodness!” We fulfill patrons’ information needs and help them find information. We don’t feed them any book because it’s wrapped in a pretty bookcover or make them wander around wondering where the location of a given book is.

Can you imagine a patron coming in to look for a book and the librarian telling them it could be in health, or self-help, non-fiction or the special display in the front called “What’s the buzz” – but they aren’t sure because there aren’t any subject headings or classification numbers attached to locate it? Is it good enough for a librarian to tell a patron that “we have it, but I’m not sure where it is”?

I don’t think that patron would be back any time soon.

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