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For a class project classmate Chris Breitenbach and I decided to create a short video documentary exploring the ups and downs of the space at The Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. This video is the outcome of our work.

Looking at the space through Library 2.0 goggles we found several issues with signage and physical barriers from the moment we walked in the several different doors.

In short, it’s a sprawling library, almost overwhelming, and it’s very hard to find what you need unless you’ve been there a few times with the patience to explore. The signs are confusing, the many entrances make it seem maze-like, and the popular library is hidden away near one of the entrances.

One thing I noticed was the plethora of guards roving the stacks instead of librarians who could be found behind desks. However, when we asked a librarian for help, she was very nice and helpful, and she gave us maps! If only, I’d had one of those ages ago.

I find the library in general difficult to navigate – and I’ve had an official tour…

It is a beautiful library, especially the Winter Garden, and I know a major redesign is out of the question, but maybe some new signage and a deep review of library policies are in order.

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I’ve been a bit absent from my blog over the past couple of weeks. Between one thing and another life has kept me busy, or sleeping in bed trying to kill icky sick bug things… And then, most importantly, I have not been inspired. 😦 But this week that all changed. Okay, well not everything, but I have finally been visited by the inspiration bug again – along with a parasitic sinus bug, but beggars can’t be choosers right?

Okay, so I watched a lot of YouTube videos about libraries while I was in a feverish haze. I, of course, enjoyed the March of the Librarians, very clever. However, the one video that stuck with me the most was not made by a library, but by a patron, a young patron. Here it is:

Okay, so I’m a little unsure about what exactly happened with the coma thing, but I do understand about the frustration of fines. We’ve all been there. Sometimes, no matter how much you try things happen and you forget to return a book, and admittedly a $9 fine is quite steep, considering the book could very possibly be purchased for that amount. Why not offer solutions for this like volunteer hours to pay off fines, special days when patrons can pay $1 to release all of their fines, Guitar Hero challenges – beat the librarian and your fines are waived, etc? Do we really want to be unable to help patrons because of fines they can’t afford to pay? There are better solutions.

I must say though, he must really appreciate being able to use his library. Afterall, why else would he create a false identity to resume access?? That’s dedication.

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