What Things Are Interesting to Librarians AND Our Patrons

David Lee King with an interesting question, what do we think is important? Do our users agree?
Think about some of these things libraries have, for example:
-Library Catalog – interesting to our customers?
-Article Databases – interesting to our customers?
-Periodicals reading room …
-Reference desk …
I think our goal should be two-fold:
1.spend time, money, and expertise on stuff our customers care about
2.do stuff that our customers care about

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Interesting Things

Libraries are to be faulted for the emphasis they place on traditional "things" like catalogs, not for the act of caring about the catalog. Gotta have a decent catalog if people still want (ref Pew report) print materials. What libraries may not do too well is "do stuff that our customers care about" We have not traditionally picked up on the next change in services based on our users. We have more often insisted on molding the user. Johanna Bowen

What things are interesting to our patrons?

Of course the catalog is important as is the ability to place holds from home, access databases, order museum passes, sign up for programs like Yoga and Drum Practice, and download ebooks and audiobooks.

We have a lot of regulars that come in to access computers and log on to our wifi. These are important services that save them substantial fees.

Many people are working longer hours to try to preserve their jobs, and working more than one job to earn the money to raise their families. As time becomes more precious, our ability to quickly access materials that they want and may not even know they want becomes more valuable. In the last 48 hours I have gotten these questions among others: "Is there a book that reads like 'Homeland' or '24 hours'?" "My new boyfriend loves DVD's. He is recording 'Downton Abbey' for us. Could you help me pick out 5 DVD's he might like?" (This was from an octogenarian.) "I need to pick out a book for my book group. Can you help me?"

Every day we have people come in with their Kindles and Nooks and Sony Readers, etc. and ask us to show them how to use these new technologies.

We proctor tests for people who are learning on-line and their institutions.

Our jobs are evolving. I love the challenges of being a librarian.

Pew report

According to the latest Pew Report the answers would be: yes, yes, yes, and possibly.... Here's the full report http://libraries.pewinternet.org/files/legacy-pdf/PIP_Library%20services_Report_012213.pdf

The Reference Librarian's "Book of Answers"

Actually, the only thing patrons care about is the magical "Book of Answers" each librarian has hidden behind the reference desk.

The "Book of Answers" has only one page inside the covers. It has only the information tha patron wants, and nothing else that might be confusing. It can be photocopied or sent as an e-mail so it can be added to a document without having to bother to transcribe it. It proves beyond all doubt the patron was correct. It gives the dollar value of whatever the patron was looking up, for example, the item they just bought at a flea market that is REALLY worth ten million dollars, and the address of the person who is willing to buy it at that price today. It gives the exact citation to the law that proves the patron does not have to pay anything or shows they are not-guilty or can't be sued. The "Book of Answers" has all the hidden patents for things like how to make water fuel your car or turn pennies into gold coins.

Anything else in the library requires work and effort, and isn't really interesting at all until it duplicates what the "Book of Answers" already does.

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