Acting in the crow's nest capacity to:
- search for innovation
- propose experiments
- lead pilot projects
- discover new opportunities
At my branch we noticed that during these tough economic times that our patrons needed one-on-one trainings to become technologically literate. So some amazing staff at the Library! at Collister (a branch of Boise Public Library) came up with this program to have the community help the community called the "Tech Coach" program. We used volunteermatch.org to find community members who could volunteer for the library and offer one-on-one trainings for one hour sessions. We have had times when our program was booked up weeks in advance. During the sessions patrons can learn more about the internet, email, social networking, basic computer skills, Microsoft Office, internet searching skills etc. The Tech Coaches do not however, do IT work for the patrons. The feedback from our customers who have used the program has been phenomenal as well. The best of the program to me besides promoting technological literacy is that the community is truly helping the community. If you would like to learn more about this program and how to implement at your library please post a comment and I can give you the staff member's contact info who manage the program.
Because I work at a public library, and we slow way down in August after summer reading ends, we are each taking on a research project for the month. I will be focusing on search techniques as they relate to customer service. I'm still at the beginning stages of trying to decide which subtopics to focus the bulk of my research on, but I welcome suggestions. What do you struggle with as far as searching goes? Where do you find your patrons/staff hit walls when they search for materials/information? Which resources to you direct patrons/staff to when looking for read-alikes? Series information (i.e., Which book is first in this series? Does it matter if I read this series in order?)? Job-finding resources? When do you use book resources as opposed to online tools? I look forward to hearing your ideas!
SPLAT members Memo Cordova & Amy Vecchione will present at Reference Renaissance on August 9, 2010. Why is this awesome? Well, for one, we’ll be talking about SPLAT at one of the best reference services conference in the U.S. Second, we’re using the power of Twitter to keep you up to date and to engage you and the wider conference attendants with our presentation. How? Intrepid SPLAT member Melody will keep track and answer questions from Twitter users about SPLAT who attend our presentation using the Twitter hashtag #refren10 . Awesome? You bet!
Our presentation will be in Session 2, number 5, between 1:30 and 3:00, under the “Report from the Field” entry:5.2c Collaborate To Succeed: Implementing New Reference Services with SPLAT Amy Vecchione, Memo Cordova.
You can find more information at the “Conference At-a-Glance” [PDF] link on the Reference Renaissance website.
Is your library in Google Maps? Want to add your own info to it? Then own up your library's listing on Google Maps and make it better by displaying your library's unique information in Google Places. Check out the video below on how to get started.
An added bonus to "owning" your library in Google Places is the QR Code generated for you (below is my Google-generated QR Code for my library). Google Places is easy to set up, you get some traffic data, and you get a say on what gets displayed on Google Maps.
Library world it is time to take a lesson from reality TV and the show Project Runway. Joe Janes, The Internet Librarian wrote an inspired article asking library professionals to be more creative with finding reference sources. He starts by imagining a world without Google and Wikipedia. His article appeared a few weeks aga in American Libraries. So get those creative juices flowing and enjoy his thought provoking article.http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/columns/internet-librarian/im-sorry-youre-out
At our last SPLAT meeting we discussed work-life balance issues, the culture of libraries and the future for attracting library staff. While we immediately gravitated toward why working in libraries may not provide an individual with the ideal work-life balance, we did recognize that it is a personal responsbility also. This led to several creative ideas such as library job swaps, sabbaticals for library staff, and others. Of course the first question is how does one initiate that? My comment was that it takes conversations -- and I think you will find that David Lee King's two posts on Getting Permission and Help Others Get Permission provide great food for thought and potential action!
The reference desk is the front line of the library. The reference desk is where people ask all sorts of questions, tell you all kinds of things, and let you in on little secrets, sometimes. If you are lucky you will gain insight. If you are perceptive you will recognize that those insights can be used to change services or think about services from different perspectives. This will make us better. This will make libraries better.
I had this chance recently when someone came in trying to find some information. I was told by this person that they needed, "x, y, z" and I asked a few reference questions, then found what she was looking for. There was nothing particularly challenging about this request. It wasn't like an obscure historical government publication, nor was it an original manuscript from Virginia, nor a patent search. This was a run of the mill reference question. The patron/person/customer/user/information needer was looking for a resource, and I found it for them (I'm choosing them as a gender neutral object, even though it's incorrect).
The response was awesome. I was told, "Wow. I've been searching Google for two weeks and I found nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just walk in here and you find it in five minutes. Now I know," the information needer continued, "I should always start at the library."
The Library: We'll Save You Weeks of Google Searching
Another great -- energizing day -- meeting with SPLAT! What an awesome group! Conversation ranged from use of mobile devises in Idaho libraries to user-centered services. In between times, we touched on SPLAT-I-Ket, unconference, and QR codes.Kudos to Amy and Memo who have been busy preparing for presentations about SPLAT at Reference Renaisannce in Denver, and Internet Librarian in Monterrey -- as well as submitting articles for publication.Thanks to Melody and Liesl for moving forward the SPLAT movie -- to be unveiled at the fall Idaho Library Association Conference. As always at the conference you can find us at the SPLAT couch -- stop by for updates on technology and library service trends. Or just stop by to say hi!Also coming soon will be SPLAT 101 as a self-directed online course.
I've been to many library conferences, but the most inspiring conference I ever attended was Internet Librarian in 2008. I gained all kinds of tools that I needed to accomplish a huge grant project I had inherited. Not only did I get to network with some really impressive individuals, but I was able to gain skills, learn new tools, and take all of those back to Idaho.
This year I have the priviledge of presenting at Internet Librarian. I think it would be great to see a whole bunch of Idaho library people at Internet Librarian this year. Think of all the inspiration we could bring back collectively! I hope you'll meet me there: http://www.infotoday.com/il2010/
If you are in Idaho, and you've never been to Internet Librarian, you can apply for CE Grants to attend through the Idaho Commission for Libraries! Check it out! http://libraries.idaho.gov/landing/continuing-education