Archive for August, 2009
I give you definition number 5 from The Free Dictionary by Fairfax
5. a person or thing on which one can always depend: your loyalty is a rock
-retrieved http://www.thefreedictionary.com/rock, 08/31/09, 3:46pm
They came to use the free Internet stations to communicate with friends and family back home, and to look for work and apartments. They came to our computer classes and created resumes and learned how to search in our databases and in our catalog for books, dvds, cds. Their children used the library after school to play games on the computers and to do homework and socialize with other students.
Rock Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeu04117/581816877/
Happily sharing this press release from Lori Reed, Board Member and Communications & Marketing Chair of the Learning Round Table of ALA
ALA Learning Round Table Chooses New Name, Retains Mission
by Lori Reed
The name may be changing, but the mission of the “Learning Round Table of ALA” remains the same. The American Library Association’s round table dedicated to quality continuing education for library workers has changed its name from CLENERT to LearnRT.
Under its new name:
- LearnRT will continue to promote quality continuing education for all library personnel, helping you network with other continuing education providers for the exchange of ideas, concerns and solutions.
- LearnRT will serve as your source for continuing education assistance, publications, materials, training and activities.
- LearnRT is your advocate for quality library continuing education at both the local and national levels.
NEW BLOG–ADD US TO YOUR FEED READER!
In addition to the name change the Round Table is sponsoring a new blog/website, “ALA Learning” (http://alalearning.org), which will feature training and learning news, information, best practices and thoughtful discussion from leading trainers and staff development practitioners in the library field.
Contributing authors include:
- Peter Bromberg
- Maurice Coleman
- Betha Gutsche
- Marianne Lenox
- Bobbi Newman
- Lori Reed
- Paul Signorelli
- Jay Turner
- Stephanie Zimmerman
JOIN AND BENEFIT FROM OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE AMERICAN MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION
Membership in LearnRT is only $20, in addition to ALA membership dues. Among the many membership benefits, LearnRT members enjoy, through a unique agreement with the American Management Association, the following valuable AMA benefits:
- Preferred pricing on all AMA seminars-least a 10-percent discount.
- Unlimited access to AMA’s Members-only Web site – an ever-growing library of both timely and timeless information on practical issues of management.
- Access to case studies, how-to articles, trend pieces, best practices, profiles of leading executives and companies, best-selling book excerpts, author interviews and recent research results.
- Interactive self-assessments that reflect the abilities and knowledge of today’s high-value managers.
- Exclusive discounts and special offers on AMA products and services.
- Thirty-percent discounts on “Last-Minute Seats” at numerous selected AMA seminars announced each month.
To become a member of ALA’s Learning Round Table complete the ALA membership application: http://www.ala.org/ala/membership/joinrejoinrenewadd/default.cfm.
(Please note that we may be listed as either CLENERT or LearnRT in various places until the name change has fully circulated throughout ALA.
This past month, my library (Cape May County Library) was named the first place winner of the New Jersey State Library’s video contest “Solving Life’s Problems.” The video follows a timid young boy named Trevor whose family cannot afford to buy him the latest video game system. Instead, his family takes him to his local library where he quickly becomes a fan of the weekly game night program. In turn, Trevor and his family become regulars at the library. (So regular that Trevor now gets high fives from the librarians!)
Needless to say, I’m super proud of our staff (Lisa Alderfer, Technology Librarian and Mike Trout, Technology Assistant) for putting this video together. It clearly shows the many ways a library can be there for its patrons if we just take that extra step. But video games…in the library? I always get quizzed about how odd this idea seems by friends, family, and library patrons. I tell them that the answer is simple…we’re a public library and the public wants video games so…we give them video games! In 2008, video games sales topped $21 billion dollars(http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28682836). Now I’m no expert with money, but that seems like a lot. Enough that we librarians should take notice.
If you’re on the fence about video game programs or circulating video game collections in your library, here are five reasons why you should just go for it.
1. Welcome to the 21st Century!
Video games are part of the new media. Corporations are using video games for product placement. Movie stars are starring in their own video games. That old cliche of video games making kids lazy and unsocial can be thrown out in the trash. Video games help people learn how to solve problems, develop hand/eye coordination, and now with games such as Wii Fit, provide exercise. Please check out all of your excuses at the door thank you very much.
Welcome to the 21st Century, where video games are a relevant source of information and media. If you choose not to have any kind of video games in your library, you’re living in the past.
2. Gaming builds community.
Since my library (Cape May County Library) initiated our Game Night program in January 2008, we have seen around 20-30 teens attending our weekly Game Night program. Looking at this crowd, you see a wide range of personalities; the hardcore gamers, the metalheads, the anime teens, and many more. Over the past year, I’ve watched all these personalities mix, mingle, and become good friends. Teens have told me that because of our Game Night program they now have more friends at school. This is what the 21st century library is all about…building community. The public library of the 21st century should bring together all sorts of people and provide them with the stuff they want.
3. You will see all sorts of new people in your library.
My desk is situated about 30 feet from our entrance. I get to see a number of folks stopping in the library on a daily basis. They’re usually the same people, but since we got our circulating video game collection things have changed. I see a lot of new faces coming in every few days to get a new game. Once they find out I’m the one buying the games, I become sort of a pseudo celebrity. The cool thing about this story? These are people I’ve NEVER seen in the library before. Just think of all the patrons that are out there that are not interested in books. This is one way to reach them.
4. You couldn’t ask for an easier way to get teens interested in the library.
I call video games the “gateway drug for getting reluctant teens interested in the library.” It almost seems too easy. Have video games and they will come. That’s it. As I said in #2 above, every week I see a wide range of personalities mixing it up for two hours over Rock Band. These teens started out just coming to our game nights. I casually introduced them to our other teen programs and all the teen books and graphic novels we had. I didn’t beat them over the head with this other stuff…instead I just said “Hey, take a look at this other cool stuff.” Slowly but surely the teens were coming into the library on non game nights. They were checking out books. They were coming up to my desk and requesting new books. As a matter a fact, they helped initiate a new collection of video game strategy guides in our teen room.
Now, our teen circulation is through the roof. All of our teen programs are very well attended. And it all started with video games in the library.
5. The initial cost may be high, but the return investment is priceless.
Wow. That was such a cliche line. I’m sort of proud of myself for writing it. Anyway, video games cost a lot of money. Playstation 3 games regularly go for $59.99. Ouch. Especially in a time when so many libraries are getting budget cuts. Here’s something to think about though; You’re not plopping down all this money for nothing. You are creating life long library users. These patrons will see that and they’ll become supporters for your library. They’ll be the ones to fight for you in the future if you face budget cuts.
Are you also gaming in your library? If so, comment below and share what is working best for your library.
(For original post, with comments, see: http://librarygarden.blogspot.com/2009/08/its-all-about-experience.html)
In July 2008, I posted on authenticity and what it means for libraries. Essentially explaining that we are in an experience economy and that we need to be aware of the expectations that exist regarding libraries, services and technology.
It is easy to find examples of other businesses trying to create an experience, from fitness instructors and personal trainers to pet spas and resorts. Keith Goodrum writes in his post, Are You Creating an Experience instead of a Transaction? about the delight he and his wife experienced after leaving their dog at a pet resort while they were on vacation. The experience wasn’t just about the novelty but about the way the pet resort made Keith and his wife feel.
Is this what libraries are doing? How do library users feel after being in the library or using their library’s website? Are they experiencing your library or are they merely conducting transactions?
My renewed interest and changed perspective on the experience economy is based on my new job as the Virtual Branch Manager at a public library. When looking for library websites to get ideas and inspiration for a website redesign or overhaul, I have to admit that in many places, that “experience” feel is missing. And its not just the libraries’ websites either; it is the vendors and databases libraries subscribe to or use, as well. For example, there is no reason why any digital media download site should be convoluted. If you have to click more than 2 or 3 times to actually start a download, how frustrated are you getting? Now imagine a library patron, with a slower internet connection, who isn’t sure if they really want to use these digital resources and what will their response be? My money would be on a few quick clicks, then give up and move on to a place that literally takes one click to download, purchase, etc. (think iTunes or Amazon.com).
While there is a plethora of information out there about how to design an experience that will excite and satisfy library users, consider two great resources as a place to start:
- David Lee King, in his new book, Designing the Digital Experience and on his blog, discusses libraries, websites, marketing and emerging technologies. He has experience from which to draw (he is the Digital Branch and Services Manager at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library)and lots of great tips and insights to help get your started.
- Kathy Dempsey, blogger at the M-Word and author of The Accidental Library Marketer, talks about marketing your library (and its website) and making it more relevant. Her book mainly focuses on marketing and promotion of library services. However, she does say that most libraries, unfortunately, do not try to create an experience. Part of creating an experience is to find out what people want and need (all part of the marketing process) and then to give it to them.
In my authenticity post from a year ago I wrote: “It may take lots of work to make the vision and missions of our institutions match and exceed positive expectations that people have about libraries of all types.” This does not just relate to your physical building but also to your web presence and the resources and services you offer. As libraries and librarians move towards creating experiences for users, it is important to remember that those experiences have to be true to the library’s mission and vision. Remember advice from authors James H. Gilmore and B. Joseph Pine II in Authenticity: What Consumers Really Want: “Be what you say you are by finding your very own original way for customers to experience your offering in the places you establish” (p.152).