Tuesday, December 23, 2008

just imagine

As one of my final assignments for my class we did a thought exercise on what the library of 2040 would look like according to us:

Oh man, I can get pretty excited imagining the library of the future…well at least my version of it. Of course I don’t know what will be new and hot in 2040 … but the #1 thing about this library is that it quickly adapts to meet the needs and trends of its community. It is NOT always 15 years behind the rest of society. It’s bold, it’s gutsy, and it’s not afraid to try. Here’s a bit about it:

It still has:

  • lots of popular materials (whatever people want to get their hands on)
  • knowledgeable staff (who are fun, happy and love to help people)
  • great services that meet patrons needs
  • great programs that meet patrons needs

New awesomeness:

  • this library places priority on creating and maintaining a “third space” where the negativity of many libraries/librarians has been stripped out. Everything is patron focused instead of staff/budget/tradition focused.
  • the services it offers are delivered in variety of convenient methods
  • it has a thriving web presence that is a “first stop” for the community. Aside from the resources that library offers, it has conveniently collected and organized community information
  • there are catalog kiosks in the stacks
  • there are laptops that patrons can check out and use anywhere in the library
  • there are designated quiet spaces - the rest of the library is NOT quiet
  • is has an OPAC (or something else entirely) that doesn’t suck
  • it’s either right next to a park or has a large lawn used for programs
  • this library is a full partner with the rest of the community

Thursday, December 04, 2008

thinking third space

For my class this quarter, The Usable Library, taught by Aaron Schmidt , we were recently asked to consider libraries as Third Spaces and watch a short lecture by James Howard Kunstler (it was very interesting! go watch it). Below are my thoughts:

“When you degrade the public realm you will automatically degrade the quality of your civic life.” (Kunstlser)

This line really stuck out to me. I just returned from the YALSA Lit Symposium in Nashville and while I was there I kept exclaiming to my fellow colleague/traveling buddy how beautiful it was. It’s a city I want to go back to. The buildings (even the old rundown ones) were amazing, the downtown was fun, lively and well planned, it felt good to be there.

Where do we go to relax and enjoy? Why do we go to those places? Sure there’s usually some extrinsic reason like coffee or books or shopping, but that’s not usually why we pick that place over all the others that offer a similar thing, that’s not why we enjoy those places so much. They have some intrinsic, often intangible, value. A lot of it has to do the the environment and energy of the place. Unfortunately for libraries, most of them have a type of environment that does not encourage third space use. We don’t have a lot of sitting and gathering areas, we have rules that limit activities and noise, we feel cramped and dingy. We don’t make people feel comfortable.

Lisa Ebert a library student from Dominican wrote an interesting final paper on how libraries can take third space tips from Starbucks. Her paper is entitled: Transforming Public Libraries into “Third Places”: Lessons to Be Learned from Starbucks. If we wish to become those valued third spaces (something I’m absolutely all for) we need to actively work on making the library an experience to be enjoyed and a planned destination-not just a quick stop along the way.

This will require a mind-shift though for many people - especially those who have been in the profession for many years. Like most things it's a trade off. If we allow food and drink we risk damages to books, computers and carpet...but maybe the risk is minimal compared to the benefit of people lounging around the library eating a snack and savoring a book. If we allow people to talk on their cell phones and have conversations with each other that are louder than a whisper we risk annoying staff and other patrons who have come to the library expecting a quiet place to study or apply for job...but maybe it's worth the risk so we don't anger or frustrate patrons by shushing them, so that we can allow patrons to experience the library as a social place that becomes a destination. The concerns are valid and some need a solution, but we're hitting a point in time where we need to realize that the costs do not out weigh the benefits

Thursday, November 06, 2008

leavin on a jet plane

I’m pretty excited to be going to YALSA’s first Literature Symposium this weekend in Nashville. I’ve been to lots of instate/regional conferences but never to anything out of state/national. Apparently over 600 people are signed up. I know I need to keep a reign on my expectations (it is still a conference after all), but I do have high hopes. I tend to think the teen quarter of libraryland is one of the more happenin places to be and hope to meet a number of like minded individuals - we’ll see though. Of course I’m also hoping to come back with lots of good information and new ideas to try out. Gotta keep things new and fresh!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

so many books, so little shelf space

Once again I find myself in the place many many libraries/librarians find themselves - without space. Things were totally fine this summer when about half the Teen fiction collection was checked out, but now that school has started again and people have returned all their books my shelves are overflowing. I'm basically at capacity. I've got to weed hard and heavy if I want the new books I'm constantly ordering to fit. So I am. I'm weeding books that haven't checked out in a year OR that have an avg circ of less than 3-4 checkouts a year during their "lifetime". Sadly this still isn't going to free up as much space as I need. This seems like heavy weeding to me - but is it really? What are other libraries with limited space doing?

Here's why this is a depressing problem that is never going to go away (unless something miraculous happens). Our budget is split up largely by circ stats. I have a pretty decent budget and I get to buy lots of awesome things for the teen collection. These awesome things circ well. I get rid of what I can through weeding, to make room for more awesome things, but it still doesn't leave me with enough room. I have no where to grow. I have very little space to display. I've already staked out as much of the library as I can for the foreseeable future. Where do I put the books?!?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome

Have you heard the buzz? Well, until yesterday I hadn't either. Yesterday afternoon Google released its new web browser Chrome. I was a bit hesitant to download it, but after reading about it and hearing positive reviews from Dylan and my dad I decided to give it a try today - and I'm liking it! The pluses: it's clean looking, fast, open source (kind of) and so far it's been playing nice with the computers and the websites I've been using. The negatives: it isn't (yet) customizable in the way FireFox is which takes away some functionality for me. It is still in baby beta though, so I'm sure more good things are on the way. For now, I'm running Chrome and FireFox side by side - long term, I don't know.

I found the following two website the most helpful in learning about it:

* Google's Learn About Chrome page
* PC Magazine article "Hands on with Google's Chrome Browser

Have you tried it? Will you? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

trying something new

I finally signed up for a Twitter account today. And I even read through some of my reader - how on top of it am I today? I'm hoping that Twitter will be a little bit like my reader, only a little easier to stay on top of since it has a nifty Firefox add-on called TwitterFox that gives me a little pop up when I get a new tweet - much like my adored meebo add-on.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Balancing Perspectives

Had a SPLAT meeting last Friday. I was feeling a bit guilty going into it because I've been so focused on my day to day work that I haven't kept up on my "duties" like I should. I hadn't looked at my reader more than a couple of times in the last several months and I'd blogged about once. I have been involved with "It's Good for You" and I have done things like replying to listserv requests on gaming...but not much else. The meeting went really well though. Helped me get excited again about work we can be doing on a state-wide level and regain some perspective. And it reminded me that I need to find a way to balance my work and my planning.

Somehow - I haven't figured out my foolproof method for this yet - I need to be able to get the way-too-many-day-to-day tasks done (i.e. programming, collection development, reader's advisory, reference etc.) and still keep the big picture in focus. I need to be able to keep further reaching goals and initiatives (valley-wide, state-wide, and regional) in my mind and in the works. What I'd love to do is somehow be able plan a year ahead with the Teen Services side of things (still managing to be flexible and spontaneous when the need arises) so that my deadlines won't be quite so pressing and I won't feel so behind all the time. Hopefully that would also free my mind up enough to be able to focus more on the big picture. The trick will be to somehow make this happen... Just in formalizing my thoughts though I feel like I've made a step in the right direction

Monday, February 04, 2008

meaningful moments

Below is a snipit from an IM convo I had with one of my teens (a boy about 15) tonight. THIS is why I do what I do. THIS is why I love it.

Anna says:
you might be surprised how much time i spend thinkin and wondering about "my" teens
(teen) says:
...that's a first time anyone's ever done that to me.
Anna says:
wait...done what to you?
(teen) says:
(teen) says:
Well...the first time someone's cared and I actually felt secure enough to talk to them.
Anna says:
Anna says:
i do care. alot
(teen) says: