when I talk tech, people's eyes glaze over

At least, in person, at work. I think I explain things better, or at least I am clearer, in print. I can think about what I'm going to say. Public speaking at any level is not my strong point. I can do it, just not my strong point.

I was talking in a staff meeting yesterday and just got the feeling that I was sounding like an adult in a Peanuts cartoon... "Wonk wonk wonk wonk wonk wooonk." I could pick out the two people who actually knew what the hell I was saying.

I have a very specific list of things I want to get done today. Since today is Friday, we're conveniently half staffed (sigh). I want to pull some of our old atlases, since the new ones have started coming in. I want to download the documentation for the timed access software. I have to wait till Monday to actually download the exes, being that they're updating this weekend.

I think the best plan for signing people up for the computer is the simplest. A list with name, computer number, library card, and time they signed up for. Very similar to what we have now, yes. Except they have to go through the added step of going to information, and they have a strict half hour limit. This will help information (and reference, when reference is there) keep an eye on who's over there. It will also discourage people who just pop on for two minutes. They can use the email or Linux terminal.

I am debating about the presentation of the library card. I like the idea. I want a number if something gets damaged and the next person reports it, you know? Not saying that things are intentionally damaged on a regular basis, but these things are time consuming and expensive to fix. That, and there will be a way to check if little kids using the computers really do have mom and dad's permission. Right now they can jump right on with no check (at least, downstairs), and that bothers me.

So today I make signs saying we'll have downtime next week (the staff is overjoyed... the internet is a point of disgruntledness among us) and that the system will be going card only. I've got to talk to the assistant director about this, though.

I like public librarianship. It certainly is a challenge. I worked retail for many years through college, and I think that was great preparation. I knew there was a silver lining in all those years of retail.

I had an English teacher in high school, who I adored, who reminds me of a certain administrator in our library. Same mannerisms, same sense of humor and justice. I feel quite at home.


To throw in another Peanuts quote: "Aughhhh!!!!!"
Some time in the next few months we'll be going to a customer-driven appointment system (cybraryn, I think). People will have to log in using a card (computer user cards for those who aren't eligible for a library card) and will be held to a one hour limit. Much of our reference desk time as librarians over the past 4-5 years has been spent as reservation clerks and negotiators. It's a horrible waste of staff time and money, not to mention a real blood pressure-raiser. We're jubilant about it. Good luck with your new system!

There are quite a few reference librarians that glaze over everytime I try to explain some minor techical thing to them. I only tell them this stuff so they have a better understanding of why some database is giving them a weird error message, but they don't seem to care.
You can talk tech to us - I at least don't mind it at all.

"...but they don't seem to care."

It's a sorry state of affairs. It affects them, and they don't seem to care :(

Reminds me of the NYTimes.com article from a few weeks ago about people who refuse to get educated about computer viruses and good netiquette -- blissfully clicking on any attachment that comes along, refusing to install or update antivirus software, etc, and then whining when things don't work.

It also reminds me of people who refuse to get HIV tested when they might have it. Ignorance = bliss? Not always, esp. when it comes to technology and diseases.

As best as you can, sometimes it helps if you use your imagination at the spur of the moment to draw up an analogy.=-=-=-=-=-=-As an example, lets try to explain the concept of files in the IBM PC world. Your computer is like a mega grociery store, it has all kinds of things in it, and new things keep getting added over time. These things can be called anything, like Charmin, Royale, or Scotties. Now we all know these things are toilet paper. So how does the computer know what files are used with what applications? Through a mapping system, just like there is a map in the store that says where you can find toilet paper.This mapping system, called file types, uses the last four characters in a file name (the "." + three letters, ie .pdf) in a file name. Like a zip,postal code, map lines or a battleship game, these file types are linked to the applications that can use or understand them.So in summay, double clicking "toilet paper.pdf" would launch acrobat reader, and display the words "Charmin, Royale, and Scotties".=-=-=-=-=-=-*Sigh*. Never mind, looks like my imagination just makes people more confused than when they started.---------------------

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