Okay, okay, so first things first: I'm not really a librarian. I'm a wannabe. Right now I'm a lowly LA1, but soon I shall be off to grad school to change that. I am however, a very fortunate LA1 who works for a great library that is very much into the professional development of its employees.
That being said, I just got back from listening to Stephen Abram of Stephen's Lighthouse give a really inspiring presentation at the Evolving Library Services for Digital Natives conference. I'm just so jazzed. It was a direct and honest presentation that put a lot of important information in the hands of a lot of people who really needed to hear it. I must say that not much of what he said was new or news to me, but that's okay, I feel very validated in my thoughts, ideas, and readings. I did appreciate his perspective though. I loved how, after talking about differences in Millenials, new technologies, keeping libraries relevant, and how we're not competing with Google, he brought the whole thing back to what it's all really about: the patron; the user's experience and not only our part in that, but our duty (that's my perspective anyway) to focus on creating a good, satisfying one. We are in unique and wonderful positions to impact people's lives - how cool is that.
Just one of the things I'm going to have to chew on when considering the user's experience is leaving children unattended in the Children's Dept. Now, my intial reaction is "Hey! I'm not a babysitter!" but, Abram interjected some very interesting info to make me re-evaluate my position. Big picture, librarians want a smarter, better informed, healthy society. A large portion of that society who are working on becoming more educated to create better lives for themselves and their children are single mothers. Single mothers who perhaps need to leave their kids alone in the Children's Dept. to do the research for the night class they're taking. Now for that mom, leaving her kid and knowing he or she is safe is an incredible service that has real impact on her life. She walks away feeling really good about libraries and is going to support them...her children likely will too. It's not just a matter of inconvienience for us...there are saftey and disciple issues that go into the issue to, but it seems like something that could be worked around, or overcome. So...how much are we really there for the patron? To what lengths do we go to to make the user's experience good? *chews*