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Let's make our libraries indispensable!
So – here’s part of the recipe. (I’m not claiming to have thought of everything.)
•Pack libraries with books.
•Open when people are around.
•Have fast internet connections and computer-literate people at hand to help.
•Bring in lots of tables and chairs.
•Open loos in libraries.
•Associate epub books and Kindle books with books in their traditional form so people can switch seamlessly between them.
•Provide comfortable places to sit and read.
•Install coffee and lunch shops. (Experience of libraries which have already done this shows how the atmosphere can be lifted.)
•Employ cheerful, friendly librarians – who are not only able to show you where books are but tell you what’s in them. My current expectation when I walk into a library is that the people behind the counter (note where they are!) will conform to old-fashioned stereotypes of defensive doctors’-receptionists – and their politeness is so, so . . . detached. They don’t seem to be enthusiasts!
•Abolish fines. Books will be handed back in the end. Some of us just like to hang on to them longer than others and stop borrowing when fines top the price of buying.
Fifteen reasons for partnering with your local bookstore from Bookselling This Week.
In September 2009, two things became apparent to us at Lake Forest Book Store: one, e-reader sales were hurting independent booksellers, and, two, the libraries of Lake County, Illinois, were interested in and equipped to host author events, but couldn’t do so in a manner that was cost effective. These realizations led to a flurry of activity and a vigorous round of phone tag that resulted in our arranging to partner a store event with a library (and, thus, its larger venue and audience). Nearly two years later, Lake Forest Book Store works with 15 of the 20 libraries in Lake County and has plans to partner with the remaining five by the end of 2011.
When Lake Forest Book Store approached the current 15 libraries, we proposed that the store would bring authors for library events, but only with the stipulation that we would be able to sell books. The libraries were ecstatic, and the whole partnership has been beneficial on every level.
Just as bookstores need customers, libraries need patrons. State funding is based on user traffic, and lower library usage equals a smaller budget — and fewer opportunities for the community. Author events have proved a reliable method of building patron traffic. In the past, a library that wanted to host an author had to pay a speaker’s fee, and library charters prevented internal book sales. Without the bookstore-library partnership, these events required more of a budget than they would end up stimulating.
When I first entered library school, Librarian About Town‘s innovative Myspace page for her community college library was getting recognized on a national level. No one was using social networking as a promotional or engagement tool for their library yet, and my friend was ahead of the pack.
Just a few years later, almost all libraries have Facebook pages, and we are figuring out as a profession just how we’d like to use them. Are we engaging with our community on these pages, asking for feedback? Are we promoting programs? What exactly are these pages for?
Read the full piece at:
Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)
If you're on facebook and haven't yet joined, please sign up for our group to try to get Oprah to devote a show (or two) to the needs of public and school libraries in this time of economic crisis. In less than a month, the group has grown to 1400 members.
The group began as a dream that author Marilyn ("This Book is Overdue") Johnson had, in which she asked Oprah to help libraries, and Oprah, being the savvy and book-loving woman that she is, said that she would. Now we have to make the dream become a reality.
If you can tell a personal story about how your library has served your community or a special individual, please post it on the group's wall. Nothing like a testimonial to inspire the group's members and hopefully...Oprah.
In a few weeks we're planning an active campaign to get Oprah onboard, and YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED to add to the voices of everyone who needs libraries (yeah, and who doesn't?); librarians, patrons, authors, teachers, kids, teens, parents, scholars, young and old professionals, seniors, and the occasional cat & or groundhog.
Join us!! Spread the news on that old reliable librarian grapevine!! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=132862353428325&ref=ts ...and invite your friends and patrons! http://is.gd/fuL2q Please (I'm begging you!!).
Friends of Libraries groups now have their very own national week of celebration! ALTAFF will coordinate the fifth annual National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 17-23, 2010. The celebration offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate Friends. Use the time to creatively promote your group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. This is also an excellent opportunity for your library and Board of Trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library. More info here and here.
Have a friends group? Tell us about them.
CHATHAM, NJ — There is a group of hardworking individuals behind the scenes at the Chatham library – and they aren’t bookworms. The Friends of the Library raise money for books and programs which the library could not provide with the money received from Chatham Borough and Township.
“The Library of the Chathams would not be the same place without the Friends of the Library. I sincerely believe we have the best Friends group in the entire state of New Jersey,” said Diane O’Brien, Director of the Library.
As state aid for libraries continues to shrink supplementary funds generated through groups such as Friends has become ever more critical. The Friends recently allocated funds for a cybercafé to be placed in the basement of the library. According to Friends Chairwoman Candice Booker, there is an increasing demand to meet the needs of those patrons looking for a job.
Get your friends *ON THE JOB*. At a time like this, friends of the library can be a tremendous help. For more info on Friends and how your library could start a friends group contact ALTAFF.
OK, New Jersey-ites, who wants to challenge the Chathams friends in a competition for 'best friends group in NJ'?
From David Lee King's blog: "About a year ago, I tweeted this:
But I leave u with this to ponder: are your librarians your rockstars in your community? Should they be? If so, how do u get there?
Here’s where I was going with that tweet: Awhile back, my library’s Communications Specialist said this to one of our librarians, who was worried that an article in our library newsletter focused a bit too much on her. Our Communications person said this (summary) “yep – my goal is to make YOU the rockstar, not me.”
I thought that was an insightful statement. Our marketing person realized that one HUGE asset our library has, and therefore our community has … are our librarians. So we sometimes need to focus on our staff, rather than just on our stuff.
Why NOT “showcase” some of our fine staff a bit? We do that with all our other important, cool stuff, right? Our Harry Potter books and movies were all over some of our websites a few years ago. We make banners for important author events. We turn our “stuff” into the attraction (which makes sense – people come for our stuff)."
Aaron Schmidt: Here’s what Dropbox sends when someone who signed up for the service hasn’t recently used it. These go out only occasionally (from what I understand, I don’t think I’ve ever not used it since signing up!) so it isn’t overbearing or terribly spammy. Plus? It is short, easy to read and rather engaging.
Are any libraries sending out email prompts like this when someone hasn’t used their library card?