Monthly Archives: March 2009

My company signs with GoLibrary

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We'll be taking suggestions for graphics and designs to dress it up a bit!

Recently my bosses have been busy with a very cool new product called GoLibrary.  I think it goes a long way in helping libraries expand their service areas and provide 24 hour service easily. 

You’ve seen the RedBox outside of McDonald’s right?  The ones where people can get DVDs and return them and such?  Yeah, well, that’s what we’re doing but for libraries now.  How great is that? 

It’s cool in a lot of ways:
- The boxes can hold whatever you want – popular materials, DVDs, CDs, you name it…
- You can link the box to your ILS to keep records up to date
- If your library is in need of a branch but can’t afford one, this is a good solution for temporary of long term
- A GoLibrary unit can be put outside (so long as it is under an awning of some sort) so placing it in a rural area or outside a building isn’t an issue
- If managing holds in a secure way is an issues, libraries can also use a GoLibrary unit solely for the purpose of providing access to user holds
and the best part…
-  a unit that can be intergrated into an exterior wall of a library, so if patrons want to pick up their holds at 2 AM, not a problem…it’s right there.

I like the idea alot.  Our profession is very web oriented right now and not very focused on ways to create hardware and physical things to enhance service.   I’m also a little biased, but I still think that in this time of shrinking budgets, it will allow for access without creating massive bills.

Twitter is the new Google

That is, according to this new article I found via Delicious -

http://www.winningtheweb.com/twitter-future-search-google.php

One more reason librarians need to be on Twitter. 

These two quotes caught my eye:

 “Not only is it a way to connect and interact with others, but it also represent a huge pool of information based on everyday human life that’s ready to be mined to extract real value.” 

“With millions of new web pages springing up every day on the Internet, who has the time or attention span to read through it all? We need filters, and that’s what Twitter provides in 140 characters or less. “

So here’s a question – will there be a day soon in which librarians are not only teaching people how to search Google and Yahoo more effectively, but also are teaching folks how to Tweet more effectively?  What would such a session look like?

The article also makes additional (and repeated) mention of how Twitter allows people to search from human experience and people they trust.  This is good if you’re looking for a restaurant – bad for more factual stuff.  I’d like to say I don’t see a future in which people pick up their phones to get information about, say, the War of 1812, but we’re on the cusp of that and I don’t want to be pulling my foot from my mouth in 20 years (or 10 or 5 years).  Anyone know what the APA or MLA citation for a Tweet looks like?

Plus, I can’t help but wonder if it has any future effect on ChaCha which is on a roll in the text message answers department.

Goin’ Green for Michigan Library Association

My panel proposal for the Michigan Library Association Annual Conference was accepted.  I’m happy to say the I will be joined by two top notch professionals – Joel Wiese and Christa Robinson – a husband and wife team who specialize in sustainable building and design practices. 

There are lots of libraries in Michigan making efforts to contribute to the green movement including:

Hastings Public Library – they recently installed Solar Panels and have many, many other great features related to their library and the building – they list them here.

Malletts Creek Branch of the Ann Arbor District Library won an award from the Michigan Division of the American Institute of Architecture as a shining example of sustainable architecture.

And libraries such as Canton Public Library are doing away with plastic or paper bags for books and encouraging patrons to purchase cloth bags from the library.  (The library does not make a profit from the sales – they’d rather help the environment!)

So, whether you’re a Michigan library or not, I’d love to hear what your library is doing to help the Green Movement!  What prompted the new green strategies at your library?  How did your staff/community receive the new efforts?  It doesn’t have to be a big thing…even if you just started recycling last week, I’d love to here.  So, please post a note…

What are they doing right?

Recently on Facebook, a friend wrote a brief note about Bookswim and how it was silly that someone would pay for the service when they could just go to the library and get the same service for free.

I wrote back a note response and said “But pay-for book services are very popular at truck stops and airports across the country.  As much as we don’t like it, Bookswim is doing something we are not.  We need to figure out what is making them successful and see if we can’t manage to offer the same service.  It’s called market segmentation.”

Her response was “All they offer that we don’t is delivery”.

This brings up two points.  Bookswim and those services that I see as I drive and fly across the country are offering more than delivery.**  But we quickly slam the competition because we’re too afraid as a profession to take a real look at our short comings.   We need to take a deep breath and realize that it’s okay to take a hard look at what these other offerings bring to the information table.

Secondly, it is not realistic for us to try to do some of the things Bookswim does, BUT, maybe that’s just because we’re limiting ourselves? What’s that saying, you can’t be everything to everyone?  But that’s what libraries are called to do…as tax based institutions (more often than not), it’s what we MUST do.  So, maybe libraries can’t do exactly what Bookswim does, but maybe by tweaking rules and regulations, we can get closer to what Bookswim does.  And that would be great.

That’s my thought for the day…have a good weekend!

 

**Drop offs across the country, access to info even at obscure places, and in the case of Bookswim, greater liklihood of getting best sellers more quickly…to name a few.

Love this blog post!

Found this great blog post about “acting like the boss just left”:

http://www.sparknewthinking.com/2009/03/act-like-boss-just-left.html

Check it out.  Librarians and circulation clerks…I am telling you…ACT LIKE THE BOSS JUST LEFT!

Naughty Librarian

NaughtyI once was talking to a librarian friend of mine about putting a librarian bumper sticker on our cars.  She snubbed the idea and said “I don’t self-identify as a librarian”.  And I’m kinda like, why not?

Hey, if you don’t want to tell the world what you do for a living, that’s cool.  But I like to think that it helps the profession and libraries when we pop up in seemingly unlikely places and announce ourselves.

I took The Dude to seeing Flogging Molly as a late Christmas present.  When I was trying to figure out what to wear, he said “Why don’t you wear your Naughty Librarian shirt?  It’s hilarious”.  So on went the shirt.  A couple people came up to me at the concert, people were constantly reading it and I heard a couple mutters of “That’s awesome”.

You, too, can but aside the shushy bunhead stereotypes and show people that librarians aren’t just sitting behind their desks knitting!  C’mon…make a punk kid smile today!