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Posts Tagged ‘library20’

If you look down and over to the right there, you’ll see my Meebo widget – I think they’re great and wish I had more time to be ‘online’. (I like Chris B.’s ‘leave a message’ add-on.)

So, I decided to go in search of a library using Meebo. The library where I work uses Meebo, and after a lot of thought I decided it would be very beneficial for me to ‘anonymously’ ask about my library’s service. The IM service at my library, Brookfield Public Library, is managed by the Adult Services department (I work in Youth Services), and I have only rarely acted as a babysitter.

Since I already knew a bit about the service and its origins I started with some things I didn’t know. Like, how and when do they plan to evaluate it? The librarian on duty said there was no formal plan in place, but as long as people were using it they would continue to monitor it. She explained that they do keep statistics of how and when it’s used.

I noticed that she was typing with entirely correct grammar and punctuation so I asked her if more informal communication, like without caps, was permitted for staff answering im questions. She said that it was proper sentence structure was preferred. I had to ask that, because I never use caps in im… (Even at work!!) Now I know I probably should.

We also discussed the types of questions she gets (and I do know it was a female because there are no men on the reference desk…) as well as the types of users.  A lot of the questions are basic questions about library hours, or do you have this book – can you reserve it for me, but there are also in-depth, homework-oriented questions and she believes that those questions are usually coming from within the library.  So, our patrons using library computers are making use of the meebo widget on the website!

There was a lengthy discussion about whether or not new users are being reached this way and it actually continued in person when I revealed the next day what I’d done.  She isn’t sure how many new users we’re reaching, there have been a few, but we brainstormed for a while about where to put a widget to find those users out there.  There are lots of places and we decided we need to hire another person to go out and secure Meebo widget placement in the community. 🙂

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Lookee, lookee I’m on a trading card!

My creation, originally uploaded by ariafury.

I’ve been meaning to do one of these since some of my friends made them in Michaels 753 class last summer. Sometimes I don’t know where the time goes… Anyway, finally I’m trade-able!

Anybody wanna trade?

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Okay, I’ll admit it. My initial reaction when I heard the news of the Maricopa library dumping Dewey. I was immediately aghast, and against it. My instinct wanting to keep Dewey said, “Well, sure we have always talked about needing better signs to help find books in Non Fiction, but that’s all we need – no need to take away the call numbers too! How will anyone ever manage to find a specific book in a whole field full of ‘History’ books.”

As I pondered this and wondered how in the world the Maricopa’s new system could possibly work better, I wandered around the Net reading all about it. Then I found it – Gather No Dust: Doing it without Dewey – the blog that spelled it all out for me, and I felt really silly for not seeing ‘it’ sooner, as blatant as it was right there in front of me.

Even with better signs the Dewey numbers will still ‘scare’ patrons. Sometimes they won’t even consider going in to that part of the library. I don’t think it’s really that it’s hard, just that it’s very unfamiliar to many people. Now Maricopa has taken a layout and format that is already familiar to everyone, and essentially reformatted their library. It seems to work kind of like genre sections in Fiction, but instead of Horror you have Cooking or Gardening-Perennials. I like it. I think it could work really well.

I do have one suggestion that I think would help it be even more familiar to patrons and also make it easier to find things in a larger collection. At Maricopa they use subject labels and shelve them alphabetically by title – why not add the author’s last name to the label and shelve them the same way fiction is shelved. Browsing is still fully possible, and consistency always makes things easier.

Now how do we get everyone else in the world to realize this is a good idea?

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I got to thinking last night about a widget. I’m wondering if it would be possible to create a browser plug-in or widget that would link ISBNs, etc. from online shopping sites like Amazon back to whatever public library you choose. It seems like it would work. Most libraries have their catalogs online these days, so I say why not?! It would be a great way to take advantage of stronger search engines and bring in new users who might say – “You mean I can borrow this DVD from the library for free??” I had more last night, but was engaged in trying to sleep off the icks – so I might come back and update this when I’m thinking better… Any thoughts?

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