Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘library’

Why do libraries spend thousands of dollars a year on Microsoft Windows licenses for pc’s that are only used for access to the internet? 

I’m no expert by any means, so it’s possible that they think it’s worth it so they won’t need a separate server for those computers, but in reality they probably already have a dedicated server for them anyway…  Or maybe they think patrons can’t adapt to a different operating system – more likely they don’t want to themselves!  Most patrons wouldn’t even notice the difference, and those who did would quickly adapt.

These computers often do absolutely nothing except provide access to the internet.  So why not use Linux?  And while we’re at it throw some open source software on there like Gimp and Open Office?  All free, all useful to patrons – how can this not be the right thing to do?

Just a thought on how we can save everyone a little money. 

And now I shall prepare for some relaxing in the good-smelling open air of Wisconsin with a wacky web developer and Skippy the camping cat.

Read Full Post »

Library Journal published a short article last year about small libraries using Netflix to supply movies to patrons.  It’s a short article and doesn’t say much, but the interest and ideas it sparks make up a hundred fold for the small amount of screenspace it needs to be read – at least for me. 

At the time I thought this was a great, economical way for libraries to provide more of what patrons want without running out of space and budget.  I even remember rumors and ideas circulating in the library world a year or so before the article in Library Journal was published.  I think the first place I came across the idea was at Jenny Levine’s blog – see The Shifted Librarian: The Exeter Public Library Does Netflix .   

Here I am two years later still wondering how Netflix is working in libraries.  Is it still working?  Have the executives at Netflix shut everyone down?  Did all the ‘naughty’ libraries get a copy of “There Will Be Blood” as recommended in that NEWSWEEK article?  I really wanted to know. 

So, I decided to just go ahead and ask. 

I chose to check in on the Cook Memorial Library way up in Tamworth, NH from that article in Library Journal.  Library director Jay Rancourt had this to say about Netflix’s successful and continued use in her library:

Yes, we are still using Netflix. We are circulating two at a time now. Very popular service. Even more so in this lousy economy. There are (red) cards on the circ desk to be filled out by the patrons with their request. We queue the patron requests up on the Netflix website, and loan only one unit per person at a time. Then the patrons must queue up again.  It’s a two-day rental to keep the queue moving. I think it’s well worth the $13.99 per month it costs…

I did the math and I’d say she’s getting a great deal.  Economically, it’s like buying one new DVD a month, but having access to around 30.  Smart, smart, smart.  Why not take advantage of an easy and inexpensive way to provide users with what they want?  Way to go Jay!

It looks like no one has seen any kind of ‘reminder’ from Netflix the corporate entity banning libraries from using this service.  I’m sure they realize how many new subscribers they will gain from the pool of people who have access to their service through libraries.  Impatience is commonplace in America, eventually everyone wants their own subscription.  Netflix should consider paying libraries to offer the service!

Public libraries aren’t the only ones taking advantage, academic libraries are getting in on the deal, too.  University of Washington libraries offer Netflix service for UW  instructors.  That’s especially helpful for film classes I’ll bet. 

Any other great pairings of libraries and Netflix that I have yet to unearth?  Share please!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

I love telling stories and hearing stories. Who doesn’t? I went to the National Storytelling Festival for the first time last year and loved it! I heard the most amazing storytellers, and learned so much from them. It got me geared up and ready for my own scary stories night at the library for Halloween, which turned out to be a huge success and a blast.

However, as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’, and while I don’t think any storyteller can ever be perfect – (the imperfections are part of what makes each storyteller unique and wonderful) – a little practice and observation is good for everyone.

So, if you’re a storyteller or just enjoy hearing stories you should check out this free monthly open-mic night at Dominican University in partnership with Illinois Storytelling Inc. I certainly plan to take part, even if I just feel like sitting back and listening in… I might, at the very least, learn a great new story to share.

 

This following info is from the Illinois Storytelling Inc. calendar online:

 

April 4 – River Forest Open Mic Storytelling

DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY is now sponsoring a ONCE A MONTH open mic event for storytelling. Open Mic Night will be the first Saturday of the month, so mark your calendar and bring your stories. Bring your friends who want to learn how to tell stories. Bring your neighbors who want to hear stories. Eight minutes each.

7:00pm in the Rebecca Crown Room – it’s in the Springer
Suites on the lower level of the Rebecca Crown Library at Dominican University in River Forest.

Park in the west parking lot and go down the ramp; Springer Suites is direcly to the right as you enter.

There is a cafe just outside the room with coffee drinks and sandwiches.

7900 West Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305

View Map

For more information: jdelnegro@dom.edu or megan@meganwells.com

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

And, no, that doesn’t mean we will spend all day scratching ourselves…

scratchday2 Scratch Day is on May 16, 2009 – follow the link above to find more info. It doesn’t say, but I think this is the first of its kind. If there are any librarians out there who have considered trying something like this I think this is a perfect opportunity to see what your community’s reaction would be.

Scratch is that great free program from MIT that allows anyone to create their own computer games and animations. It’s so easy even kids are using it. I know there are several libraries in the Chicago area that teach classes on how it works to get them started. There are even gaming days where everyone can come in and play the games they made! I was hoping to get something like that started when I was at Indian Trails Public Library, but I wasn’t there long enough. In respect to offering workshops in a library setting I like that the kids can not only create games but tell their own stories through animations they can make themselves.

There is also a program called Alice that I’ve played around with. I can’t say one is easier than the other, but they do work a little differently. There is a version of Alice called Storytelling Alice that I think might be good for the younger set, but I have yet to try it out on anyone but myself.

In any case, I think kids around the world would love to be introduced to the wonders of Scratch on May 16, 2009. So, if you’ve been thinking about it go ahead and do it. If nothing else you can bring some kids in to the library and let them play the Scratch games other people have created available on the Scratch home page. That’s plenty of fun on its own!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »