Posts filed under ‘Future of Libraries’

Save NJ Libraries!

Save NJ Libraries

You have probably heard the bad budget news for libraries in NJ.

Below is a message from Eileen Palmer about joining the advocacy groups that are already in place.

Please take a moment to join them if you haven’t already, and please be sure to talk about this issue to your friends, family, colleagues and patrons and have them sign up too!

To our many readers outside of NJ: If you have friends/family in the Garden State, please share the links with them.

Watch for more information and actions coming soon!

(If you haven’t heard the news, Nicole Engard did a nice post on it yesterday here.)

Good Morning,

As NJLA prepares its response to the drastic cuts to statewide library programs proposed by Gov. Christie, and a renewed attack on the minimum library funding represented by A2555, please take a moment to join one or both of the following initiatives:

1.  Save NJ Libraries Facebook Group

2.  NJ Library Champions http://www.ilovenjlibraries.org/

Please reach out to Friends, Boards and patrons to become part of these initiatives so that we can get the word out as quickly as possible in the coming days.

Thank you,

– Eileen

Eileen M. Palmer
Executive Director
Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium
empalmer@lmxac.org

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March 18, 2010 at 10:51 am 3 comments

Balancing technology in library service

There is no shortage of continuing education opportunities for librarians. I think we naturally tend toward collaboration and harmony. Earlier this week, while many librarians were in Monterey, CA for Internet Librarian, I attended NJLA’s first Adult Services Forum. On the same day, David Lee King and Michael Porter launched their new video and multimedia collaboration project, Library 101. All three of these focus on something that I have been pondering a lot lately: how, why and in what format we provide services (to all our patrons). Those thoughts cannot be separated from my concern over the division that is created by the acceptance of technology in library service.

Let me start by saying that I suffer from a serious case of technolust. I really love having new technology at my fingertips! But I also have a fair amount of restraint and often will wait to purchase something until (almost) all the kinks are worked out. However, I know that, just from my family and friends, most people are not yet comfortable with a wide range of technologies. As a librarian, I feel that it is important for the library to be a safe and comfortable place to expose people to web 2.0 (and beyond) and new ways of doing things.

John Porcaro (JP) said during his presentation at the Adult Services Forum that he finds librarians are often ahead of the curve compared with other departments and professions when it comes to new technology. This is not the stereotype that people have of libraries and librarians. Just do a Google search on “libraries are dead”: 79,000 results! Not all these websites actually support that idea but some clearly do. The common thread is that unless we do something about the PERCEPTION of libraries, they will die. And isn’t that what we are ultimately fighting against? Both internal and external stereotypes of what libraries and librarians were, are and are going to be.

The Library 101 project looks at what we are doing and what we need to think about doing to stay relevant. And I’m all for that! With a fun music video (with lots of familiar faces in it!), thoughtful essays, and 101 resources and things to know (RTK), Library 101 gathers together all the stuff libraries have been doing and are currently trying to do. The Library 101 project also reminded me that I’m not the only one who thinks that being a librarian can be fun and wants to share that with the world.

But I worry about what I read and hear from some of our other colleagues. For instance, I’ve heard librarians complaining about the formats available in their libraries, forget about the wonder that is InterLibrary Loan (it might seem outdated, but get that item into the patron’s hands and they don’t care where you got it from!). I’ve also read blog posts and tweet that generally disregard traditional library service. For all of the the librarians pushing away from long-established services, there are just as many complaining about the move towards Web 2.0 in libraries.

Yes, it is important for libraries and librarians to be on social networks, Twitter, producing webcasts, providing text and im reference, etc. But I think it is equally important to remember why we are doing all of these things. We are providing a new medium for things we have always done. We can connect people to these new technologies, give them new skill sets, and ultimately, strengthen the connection to our libraries.

And we can hope that, in so doing, we change the public’s perception of libraries and librarians. But we all need to be working together and not undermining the traditional work we still do, that is still overwhelmingly appreciated by the people we serve. There can be a balance to using new technology to promote, support and enhance traditional, as well as new, programming and resources.

by Karen Klapperstuck

November 2, 2009 at 9:31 am 6 comments

Library Futures Conference Roundup, pt 1

I had the mind-blowing pleasure of attending Imagination to Transformation, the Mid-Atlantic Library Futures Conference, on Monday and Tuesday. I have lots of notes notes notes, a swirl of ideas, and a pile of inspiration. In the interest of sharing the goodies, I’m posting my notes in a fairly raw form with limited commentary. Get it right or get it written, right?

Before I get into my notes, a big thank you to the New Jersey State Library (esp. Peggy Cadigan) , Palinet (Catherine Wilt, Ann Yurcaba, Diana Bitting), and all of the organizers for all their hard work and for doing a fantastic job! Great speakers, great space, great conference!

For those of you following along at home, conference materials and handouts will be posted on either the conference website and/or the conference blog.

OK, here are my notes from:

LIBRARY SPACE: IS IT THE LAST FRONTIER OF THE DIGITAL AGE
Jeffrey Scherer of Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle, Ltd.

(BTW, this is a highly filtered report. Scherer talked a lot about lighting, about environmentally friendly building design, and many other fascinating topics. I highly recommend you take a look at his whole presentation when it’s posted to the conference website.)

  • The library in 2030 will be as different from today’s library as today’s library is from the library of 1930.
  • The library as a central place is the only single political agent that can affect change at all levels. Our neutrality is an important tool for us to think about.
  • The library is an agent of these four elements of our lives: live, work, play, learn.
  • We are a service profession that delivers great content, struggles with technology and frets over cash. The real decisions are made around cash. If you reflect on the fact that Americans spend as much on Halloween candy as they do on library books, you see that the $$ is there.
  • We need to stop focusing on what is not possible, and focus on what is possible. It’s important to be optimistic. If you focus energy on what’s not possible, you’ll never create the possible.

Quotes:

  • “Our eyes connect our emotions.”
  • “Love is probably the central focus of great libraries”

Guiding principle: We need to create space for spontaneity and socializing: the library as 3rd place (agora)

Carleton college did a survey of alumni: 40% of graduates married other Carleton students; 40% of those people met in the library. Why? Because they were in a different social space than if they had met at a football game. Being in a library raises our commonality; transcends our boundaries.

Applying the lessons: How to create a 3rd space:

  • Reading nooks with back to wall (people love to curl up)
  • Daylight and views
  • Computer tables (missed some of what he said on this)
  • Offer a variety of options
  • Self-controlled lighting
  • Daylight and good views
  • Gossip corners that don’t interfere with others
  • Homelike features; fireplace, natural flooring
  • Group seating that can work with one to three people
  • Privacy (acoustic and visual): people want to get information in private
  • Visibility of service points and collection
  • Come out from behind the desk and greet patrons. There has to be a transformation in this area!

Other key points

  • “I want to do it myself” Trend to self service is huge.
  • “Help is on the way” but only if you need it. (Point of need service delivery)

May 9, 2007 at 6:28 am

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