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Archive for the ‘Library Places and Spaces’ Category

I just wanted to share a quick thought I had this morning about nooks and crannies.  And, no it was not because I was eating an english muffin with nooks and crannies.  Although I do like them, and probably would have preferred one over my morning oatmeal. 

I started out thinking about how people usually feel comfortable in a bookstore, and often less so in libraries.  Myself, I feel more comfortable in a library, but that’s only because I know I’ll get pulled in by the rows of clearance books and will never leave the bookstore… 

Bookstores, even though they are big and open like libraries, have lots of little nooks and crannies where people can be alone while exploring the books.  In libraries I think there’s often a fear of people doing things they shouldn’t in those little nooks and crannies.  Especially in the teen sections – am I right?

So, I got to thinking.  How do the bookstores get away with it?  It’s simple.  There are always bookstore workers wandering around the building.  They’re there to help and also, in a way, to hinder unwanted behaviors – more reasons why roaming librarians or assistants would be a beautiful thing.   Hold up now, that’s not all.   They also have plenty of security cameras around bookstores, just like any retail space.  And, the customers know it.

I know there are currently libraries that have roaming librarians – two that I know of off hand are Skokie Public Library and Indian Trails Public Library.  They have staff that are scheduled to roam around the library looking for people to help.  Those libraries also have security cameras. Not everywhere like in a retail store, but in tempting locations.

So, you’d think maybe if we put the two together – roaming librarians and security cameras we’d have a winning combination.  Although, I think there is one missing component here – we need our customers to know.  What’s the best way to do that without alienating them or using signs they probably won’t notice?  I don’t know. 

Library 2.0 is really all about changing how we serve our customers.  I know this has been pointed out time and time again.  It’s nothing new, but even though it seems an obvious change all libraries can make it’s not being done enough.  So, I feel it’s worth mentioning again.

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I’m not a big texter.  I text, but I’d rather call or email.  I get frustrated not being able to have all five fingers on a keyboard typing 100 wpm…  Texting takes too long for me, but I’ll admit it’s still rather convenient sometimes.

Although, it’s not my usual mode of communication I do know there are more and more people graduating from high school every day who use texting to communicate almost exclusively.  I know, because I get texts from them, and well, okay “Pieces of Flair” on Facebook

For these people texting a librarian is a brilliant adaptation to their needs.  After I left my position at the Brookfield Public Library they adopted a utility that allows them to accept text messages at the reference desk.  Unfortunately, since it happened after I had already moved to another library I don’t know exactly how it works, but I tried it and it worked from my end.  If you’re at all curious, go to the website and check it out for yourself.

I was reminded of this twice in the past few days.  Once while talking to a colleague who told me that her high school aged son always responds to her immediately when she texts him.  He won’t answer the phone if she calls, but he automatically answers a text.  The second reminder was an ad for a new product in one of my magazines – can’t remember which one…  I think it was YALSA‘s magazine.

Anyway, this all boils down to a new service offered by Mosio for libraries that are interested in welcoming the texting generation –  Text A Librarian.  This is how it works. I’m not endorsing this particular service, but if you watch the video you can get a good idea of how this works from the librarian’s point of view. 

I think this is ultimately worth considering very seriously as an added patron convenience option at every library.  Let’s face it, texting is big and it’s not going away anytime soon.

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I was back on my Flickr page the other day and was reminded of the group I started on there while I was taking that wonderful Library 2.0 class with Michael Stephens. I was really interested to see how people around the world are pulling the ideas of Library 2.0 into their physical library spaces. I started the group Show us your Library 2.0! in the hopes that other people would be interested and willing to share the way they were putting their ideas to work. Today the group now has 137 active members that have posted 430 images showing off the ways libraries around the world are putting the tenets of Library 2.0 into action. It’s a great place for inspiration and ideas. Here is a sample of one of my favorites.

We will post it to the library Flickr account...

Now for a little hypnotism… You are feeling relaxed and are reading only my words… You are ready to join a new group on Flickr. Go here and join this group now. Rejoice in sharing your Library 2.0 with the world. You are now rejuvenated and ready to face the world, but first you are going to submit a photo to show off your library 2.0 to the rest of the group!

Show us your Library 2.0! profile pic P.S. Extra points for anyone who can name the location of the profile pic from the Flickr group. This is what it looks like.

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I think this is great news! I know the research has shown over and over again all the benefits of gaming in a learning environment, but mostly that’s been associated with high schools, junior highs, and elementary schools. Over the last several years I’ve noticed universities here and there trying on the idea of gaming. A lot of university libraries are creating flash games to teach information literacy skills to incoming freshman. I think that’s great! A fun way to learn about how to use the resources in the library so doing your homework, hopefully, becomes a little less daunting.

However, what I find even more exciting are libraries that are hosting social gaming nights. A good example right here in Illinois is at Western Illinois University. It’s held once a month and is called simply Game Nite. They have games of all types available from the most basic board games, even card games like Magic: The Gathering, to Wii and Xbox gaming. It’s open to the public, and they call it brainy. I love it! They also have games students can check out.. ..can I go back to undergrad now? I could have saved hundreds of dollars on games if my library did that. I’m now sending positive currents of encouragement and thankfulness to the wonderful folks at the Western Illinois University Libraries for doing this. Follow the link to Game Nite to get more info.

Does anyone know of more fantastic gaming programs taking place at universities elsewhere in the country?

If you happen to be reading this and are a mover and/or shaker in the university gaming world you should think about contributing to a new book. The Library Games blog posted an announcement looking for people to write chapters in a new book coming out from ACRL with the working title: Casebook on Gaming in Academic Libraries. Check out the links if you’re interested in finding out more.

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Click on the picture to see more!

Click on the picture to see more!

Man, I wish I’d had one of these growing up!

This house was unveiled last summer to kick off their summer reading program. I moved last year and somehow my Winter 2008 copy of Children & Libraries was just forwarded to me about a month ago! I’m glad it finally made it though. Anyway, there are complete instructions on how to build your own included with the article. I just may have to try this one some day.

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Okay, well it’s not quite that dramatic… but darn close – at least if you were to ask me oh a year ago.  Once graduation hit I went from the small and comfortable library in Brookfield to a larger library in Wheeling, and then to an even larger library in Chicago!  All in a matter of months…  It was a little stressful, but I learned so much from the experience and I really should have reported back here, but my new job in Chicago kept me very, very busy…

So, what do I like about Chicago?  I love the kids I’m helping, and the people in the community who really care about what happens there.  The excellent continuing education possibilities are incredible here.  It’s great to be able to preview the books before you order them.  However, I miss the gaming and the technology, the blogs and the podcasting.  I keep hoping I’ll be able to get it going, and maybe I will.  There are laptops on the way I think, so hopefully I can use those for some hands-on stuff with the kids. 

They love the computers, but I don’t think they know just how much they can do with them.  I’d like to show them, but I need the equipment to do it.  Gaming is sorely missed by me…  It’s rather frowned upon here so we have no games or equipment, and purchasing the equipment myself is a bit out of my price range.   I had considered taking my PS2 to the branch occasionally, but then my car was stolen.  So, probably won’t be doing that now. 

Life is weird, and wherever I go I learn a lot.  Oh yeah, one of the things I love most about being here is being able to tell stories!

I went to the National Storytelling Festival last fall and I think I’d like to make a podcast blog of stories I’m learning.  It’s definitely on my to do list. 

More later – cause I’m back!

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I was rummaging around the hard drive and I came across the pic I took with Santa in Second Life! I had completely forgotten… I might be too big to visit Santa at the mall, but in there I can do anything I want – within reason of course. 🙂

Here it is just for kicks.

secondlife-with-santa_001.jpg

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