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Archive for the ‘Public Libraries’ Category


One News ran a story on Technology forcing libraries to transform. It features Upper Hutt, and Auckland Council libraries.

The more things change, the more they stay the same. 😉

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 Sci-Fi and Squeam is an Australian podcast that “brings the Queer geek listener and friends all the things happening in the geeksverse, from topics in Horror and Sci-Fi, comics and video games and fan culture, to interviews and reviews“.  A couple of weeks ago they included an interview with Dr Matt Finch about his work with libraries around immersive play.

Matt is one of the keynote speakers at VALA14 this week. Here are some of my favourite quotes from the interview…

The idea is to do something beyond interaction with the screen, where you’re actually physically in this location, and you get to determine the outcome of the story in the way that the writer or the designer maybe didn’t predict. Taking down the boundary between the audience and the storyteller and making them work together to find a satisfying conclusion.

…Every neighbourhood has this magic building and its sole job is to give you access to all human knowledge and culture – it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or you’re poor or you’re young or you’re old or where you’re from, that’s what it’s there for. For you to step into whatever world the human race has thought of or described or dreamt of.

…actually the point is that you have these publically funded people who are guides to everything the human race has ever thought of or dreamt up.

Listen to Dr Matt’s dulcet tones (interview starts around 26:50] or read the transcript after the jump.

(more…)

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Here is the winning entry. You should watch it.

 

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The Wellington Library Coalition (of the infamous “Are Libraries worth saving?” debate) surveyed Wellington ward and mayoral candidates on a number of questions regarding Wellington City Libraries.  They’ve released the results for us all to look at. Appendix 3 includes the candidate comments as well as commentary from the Coalition.

Kudos to the Coalition for this work.

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I thought I’d share this post with you. Its from Dick Eastman, an extremely tech-savvy genealogist. 

He responds to an email from someone who is horrified that alot of the books in the FamilySearch Family History Library are being digitised so they can be put online, and the original hard copies aren’t being replaced on their shelves. 

This Library/Research Centre is “Mecca” for someone in my field (along with The Fred J. Reynolds Historical Genealogy Department in Allen County Public Library.)

For those who don’t know, FamilySearch is the genealogical organisation owned and run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Although they have their own reasons to do with their faith for genealogical research, they offer their resources/services worldwide free, to anyone regardless of their beliefs.

In their Granite Mountain vaults, they have millions of microfilms that are being digitised so they can be put online on their free website, and their books and serials in the FamilySearch Family History Centre are also being microfilmed so they can be OCRed. They are said to be running the world’s biggest digitisation project.

Anyway, have a read of this post and see what you think, and how it may relate to us as librarians (or researchers) in the future:

http://bit.ly/OULrqU

As a researcher, I am excited about the possibility of being able to access such richness online. As a librarian, I have subdued mixed feelings about the “destruction of books”, even if it is for the “greater good”. I’m sure they have a preservation process for their most precious titles.

I thought the points discussed were thought provoking and not dissimilar to discussions we’ve all had – you might be interested in his opinions about the digital versus “real” books debates that we are hearing and participating in!

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It must be that time of year again, as libraries battle councils feeling the money crunch.

User-pay income rise needed at the library From the Gisborne Herald

LIBRARY users could be asked to put their hands in their pockets to help maintain the service and could be called on to have their share of library costs increased to 15 or 20 percent.

Some parts that just had me steaming…

“As calls were made at the committee meeting yesterday for the H.B. Williams Memorial Library to increase its revenue, chairman Brian Wilson said he was looking at a scheme that had not been tried anywhere else in the country.”

Ok lets hear it…

“Referring to an article on the library on the front page of The Gisborne Herald Weekender last Saturday, he said the efficiency committee might have to consider holding its meetings with the public excluded to prevent people from undermining it.”

Gosh you wouldn’t want the public to have a say in how their money is spent would you…

“Mr Wilson said he and Graeme Thomson had some ideas for raising more income from the library. A fee of 50 cents to $1 for books could raise a worthwhile sum of money. Children’s books could be excluded.”

We have never seen that before… I will scurry off and see if there is any literature on that topic later today.

“Graeme Thomson said the library could be compared with sports fields, for which clubs had to pay a rental. The library had been described as the living room of the community. Many people would say Rugby Park on a Saturday afternoon was that.”

Not really. The Rugby park is the deck you use on the weekend.

“Both Mr Thomson and Mr Haisman challenged the statement that 5000 people a week visited the library, saying they had never seen it even half full.”

And words start to fail me… That is only 104 people an hour… I know how big Gisborne library is and it would be easy to have that many people in there and it to seem “half full”… 

“Mr Thomson said he believed the library could use volunteers more. He had seen that done in Opotiki when he was young, Librarian Pene Walsh, who joined the meeting said the library already had 40 volunteers and was carrying out a volunteer drive.”

Poor Pene…

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I’ve been sitting on this post for a couple of months now . . . the subject still bothers me, so I thought why not publish it anyway . . . so here goes! My first post for the Room of Infinite Diligence.

I work in a research centre, and go out and about in the community a heck of a lot too, delivering presentations on my specialist subject and my collection’s resources.

I am fairly active on the social media front, mostly trying to inform and update people, and networking. But I have a bit of fun with it too.

I am very passionate about user-education and information literacy. I see this as my primary role, when out and about, and also in the Centre.

As part of my job back in the research centre, we also do paid research, for those customers who can’t come in to the centre, or who can’t do the research themselves. Its a great service, and also a part of my job that I enjoy.

I was a bit taken aback a while ago, to receive a phone call from a customer, who wanted to pay me to do the research for her daughter’s high school “dissertation”.

The daughter was much too busy to do her own research, as she spent many hours a week on sports training. Apparently she was a top athlete, represents her country, and couldn’t spare the time to come in to the library to do her own research.

The subject of the school project was outside my department’s specialism, but as a researcher and librarian, I offered to recommend some resources, send some books free to her local library via our reservations service – but, no her daughter was much too busy, she wanted me to actually do the research for her.

The customer service side of me battled furiously with the educator side of me. For a moment.

I took a deep breath, and explained very politely, that it would be better for her daughter to do the research herself, as it helped her with her learning and set her up for a lifelong learning path.

I was told that she always got librarians to do the research for her daughter (and named someone and went into specifics about a particular incidence) . . . that she’d used our research centre before, and that it was money well spent.

She replied that her daughter was a top student that got top marks for her projects at an IB school. Another deep breath. I offered more suggestions, more resources. Not interested “good bye,” she hung up.

I felt very sad. I did a bit of soul searching  to see if I could have dealt with it differently, better. I worried about whether I had given good customer service.

Then I wondered about parents who think its ok to pay someone to do their child’s homework.

That sports practice is more important than academic “practice”.

Then I felt perhaps I’d failed, because I hadn’t delivered “user education” adequately. Or that maybe another librarian would have got a better result.

That perhaps I’d failed because I hadn’t made her understand (conflicted eh?)

But then this high achieving, high school sports star, also apparently achieves top marks on her projects. Perhaps that’s because she gets librarians to do the bulk of the work for her?

Question is, should I have stuck to my guns? If the mother hadn’t been upfront with me, I’d have done the research anyway, blissfully ignorant, unaware (you can still snow the best “reference interviews”).

Maybe that is what had happened previously, if other librarians had really done her research for her. Is it poor customer service to assert your opinion in such matters?

Did I discriminate in some way, by not quietly just doing the research for this student regardless? I wondered what the student’s teachers would have said if they had known. Should I have rung the school and given them the heads up? Or is that a bridge too far? Was I right not to? Is it any of my business what someone wants to do with the research they commission from me?

A colleague I discussed this with asked “what is the difference between arranging a contract with a paid researcher, and a well-off student going online to a paid assignment writing service?”

Could I have handled this differently?

What do you think? What would you have done?

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