Monthly Archives: March 2008

Cheerleader Librarian

I have been known to be Gidget-esque in my qualities.  I am sure that the serious PhD-types that I work with must be sitting in faculty meetings and thinking “Oh my God, it’s like a member of the Mousketeers has escaped and somehow gotten assistant professor status”!  I am jovial, I don’t use huge words (uh, like jovial), I laugh a lot, and I like to give sales pitches for upcoming programs and new purchases.  Gosh darn it, I’m down right chipper.  So, why is this an issue?  Well, I know it takes all types to make the library world go ’round, but I look forward to a day when librarians see themselves as sales people and cheerleaders as much as they do as information seeking machines.  I think it will help us a lot, and we will have fewer meetings that start with the phrase “How can we get more people in our building???”.

We are good at what we do and goodness only knows that librarians wear a lot of hats, but we need to really do a push towards reinventing the librarian image…and what we’re doing now simply is not enough.

You cannot be serious…

I am in the process of trying to purchase a new Intergrated Library System.  I have contacted seven companies and/or open source solutions.  Two won’t work because they don’t meet our requirements.  One company has a sales team that doesn’t return my calls for information.  Two provided quotes within hours of my request.  Two provided quotes after I made follow up calls reminding them that it had been more than ten days and I needed to start making decisions.  The fact that I have to practically beg for information from these organizations in order to buy something from them is utterly ridiculous.  I have to ask more than twice for a price quote?  You cannot be serious…

Needless to say, the front runners right now are the two companies that answered my requests in a matter of hours.


I just saw the advertisement for the Do-It-Yourself database that EBSCO now offers.  It says “‘Do It Yourself’ refererence at home”.  I think that’s a good way to snag librarians, but if I was going to advertise them at my library, I’d do something like “DIY on the WWW” – Access Do-It-Yourself Guides Via The Internet…available through our website!

Y’know, because sometimes the same advertisement that reaches librarians doesn’t catch Joe (or Josephine) Patron.

Info Nuggets

When you work with high school students and young college students the name of the game is speed. Basically, they are less likely to come to see us for reference assistance if we are 1) slow 2) provide info they could easily find themselves 3) don’t know when to end the dang reference interview.

My recommendation is that when you get a kid who actually comes up to with a question, hit them with a good, high quality info nugget that you keep just for the occasion. Store them on your desktop by subject or in your browser bookmarks. High quality, slightly general, usually unknown resources. So then the kid comes up to you with the question, start the reference interview, print out the resource and hand it to them. And then say “stay with me here and look through that…I think I have some things for you”. Because let’s face it, the reason they love the Internet is the INSTANT information, no matter how wrong. So give them an info nugget that’s actually useful, and then work your mojo.

Get Through A Recession…@ Your Library

I was thinking of things libraries do that can help people make it through recession.  I sent a slightly longer version to American Libraries to see if it would be worth shaping into an article.  
Hope you like it…I’d love to  hear what else you all might add to the list…
1 – Try it before you buy it.  Money is tight.  Don’t buy a CD, DVD, or book without “test-driving” it first.  Come to the library and borrow it to see if it’s a purchase that is right for you.  If we don’t have it, we’ll try our hardest to get it for you. 
2 – Two words: FREE INTERNET. 
3 – Bolster your business.  We have access to databases and research tools that will help you reach new and different markets, even during tough times.
4 – Get the skills you need.  Libraries offer classes on a variety of topics.  Pick up your library newsletter or visit their website.  You’ll quickly find you can learn new things ranging from basic computer skills to knitting to how to start a business. 
5 – Entertainment.  Libraries offer classes, events and activities for children and adults, almost always at no cost.  A fun night out doesn’t need to be an expensive night out. 
6 – Hold meetings that get results.  Libraries often offer low-cost or no-cost meeting spaces.  Whether your a school group trying to develop a fundraiser or a CEO trying to launch a business, stop in to see if you can hold your meeting at the library.
7 – Be a well-informed investor.  The library has up-to-date stock market information that will help you get through tough times.  Make smarter investment decisions with the most current financial information.
8 – Find a new job, a better job, or a different job.  Use computers, books, newspapers, and more to find a employment and build resumes and coverletters. 
9 – Regain a sense of community.  Feeling a bit disconnected during tough times?  Libraries are places where communities come together.  Stop in and take a moment to take in the action…you’ll find it abuzz with information, people, and possibilities!