Library Woes

Libraries have value (and we’re paying for them)

Posted on February 14, 2013. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , , , |

I am utterly appalled that an author would denounce libraries as being “no longer relevant” and proceed to complain that he’d be making more money if people didn’t get to check out books for free.

I’m talking, of course, of Terry Deary’s ridiculous statements to the Sunderland council (not being from the UK, I’m assuming that’s a city council) and to the Guardian. Going through the article, where I’ve taken all of the following quotes in italics, here is my response to someone who is clearly out of touch.

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The First Four Months

Posted on January 15, 2013. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , , |

Last September I started my first bona fide librarian gig. Has it been what I expected? Yes and no. In some ways, it’s everything I’ve been waiting for. In others… let’s just say I’ve had a wake-up call.

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Why Is It So Loud In Here?

Posted on July 24, 2012. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , |

As a woman is leaving today, she wants to know how she can make a complaint. I gave her one of our forms to give to my branch manager. She fills it out and leaves it with me. I see that she’s complaining about the noise level, saying that kids were running around and being loud, and their parents were letting them. I’m always a torn when it comes to this issue. How do we balance the needs of people who need the quiet to study and the needs of children who we want to see the library as a fun place to be? (more…)

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Technology is a fickle friend

Posted on May 4, 2011. Filed under: Library Woes | Tags: , , |

Just because we are ready for technology does not mean that our patrons are. Take a look at the average crop of – let’s say new librarians to those with 10 years of practice. Obviously, we’re more educated than the average American. Many of us follow current trends, trying to keep up with what’s in, what’s popular, so that we can match our services to our users’ needs. Tutor.com has an app for iPhone so you can get homework help on the go. And let’s consider eReaders. I didn’t get a Kindle because a) they cost too much, and b) you have to buy the books. Why do I want to buy a book that I’ll only read once? That’s what the library is for. So then we started downloadable ebooks in libraries, and let me tell you that for us, it exploded last Christmas when everyone started bringing in their Nooks and Sony Readers and iPads for help.

Still, new technology isn’t for everyone. Where one person goes to our Web site through a QR code, others are still figuring out how to type a Web address into their browser. We have a wide range of people to serve, from the early adopters to the still-using-VCRs. It’s our responsibility to avoid leaving anyone out, or at least get the stragglers on board.

I started this thought because of something that happened this weekend. We’ve transferred all of our media to RFID, and we’ve just installed the media unlocker (for lack of a better term) at one of our self-checks.  In less than 24 hours of having this brand-new, more efficient, user-friendly technology, someone got a CD stuck, rendering that great new technology useless for two days while we figured out how to get the CD unstuck.

Ain’t technology grand?

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