Archive for the ‘Librarianship’ Category

I once had a teacher who told me that you never truly read something until you read it at least two times, which was sage advice, if not always practical. With this in mind, I’ve been continuing my reading for IST 511, rereading chapters when time permits. Right now we’re reading selections from The Portable MLIS At the first reading, Chapter One felt light and a bit flighty. The second read gave me a better appreciation for the Richard Rubin’s voice as an author. In the end, it was the section on values in libraries and librarians today (p. 9-13) that really resonated with me. All of the library values that Rubin mentioned are values that I treasure and they are integral to my desire for a career in library science. (And no, it’s not the salary : ) ) In particular, Rubin’s take on the value of education in libraries sparked my interest.

When Rubin (2008) talks about education in libraries, he points out that education, a value adopted by the ALA, is also a major reason for “continued public support of libraries” (p. 12) Periodically I meet people who think that the library is rendered obsolete by the advent of computers and the Internet. My observation, which comes from watching the microcosm of a small town public library, is that rather than rendering the library obsolete, the Internet has spawned a new need for community education. This need is for computer experience and computer learning,  or “computer literacy”, and has been seen and voiced by others in the library community. The public library’s provision of  opportunities for computer experience is an important rebuttal to thoughts that the time for libraries is past. In the last few years at my public library I have seen use of our public computers increase steadily.

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Busy day at the public library today, actually I love the busy-ness. In between all the phone calls, check-outs, returns, and questions I had a service recovery moment. This involved an anxious patron with one of those impersonal and intimidating lost book notifications in hand and a misshelved book in the library. Alas, human error happens. I think the poor patron was so relieved that he didn’t have to pay that he failed to be upset at the error. I just tried to sweeten the situation so that righteous indignation wouldn’t settle in later. And I knew where he was coming from based on my own experiences. As Bob Farrell says, “Give ’em the pickle!” Seriously, it’s a good principle, I’ve found that something small and positive like a free fine card (along with prompt problem resolution) can make a difference in user perception of library services. If it’s possible and within reason, give a little extra.

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