Monthly Archives: January 2013

Why Marketing the Reference Librarian Is Important (via LJ online)

From Library Journal Online:

In  the article, E-Resources: What Could be Better? by , January 17, 2013 states:

Undergraduate researchers now look at me like I’ve got two heads if I talk about subject headings or descriptors, unless I can get them to pay attention long enough to see what a difference using those antediluvian information appendages can make to the quality of their search results. I try to do this as fast as possible, since so many students can barely sit still long enough for me to sign into a database. Frankly, I don’t explain what I’m doing much of the time when I’m helping a student researcher, because they don’t want to hear it—they want to see the full-text of the perfect article onscreen right now and if I can’t do that what good am I to them, anyway? (Emphasis mine)

Then there are the wonderful students who want you to show them exactly what you did to get the results you got out of the database. All goes well until you get to the part that took you 20+ years to learn about how information works (and doesn’t work) and how you have to tease it out of a zillion online items. And trying to explain the bare facts of that would take so long the student would have graduated by the time you finished.

The syllogism that giving students the ability to search online themselves will make them good researchers is predicated on the flawed premise that they know what they’re doing in an online database, or that they can “pick it up” in a matter of minutes. This idea is a load of random. Post-baby-boom researchers may know how to mark up a web page in HTML within seconds, but they’re not going to grasp the complete underpinnings that govern sophisticated search systems in a trice. It takes extensive online experimentation and education to coax what you really want out of that computer.

Read the article…think about how to market the library and librarian as  necessary.



It’s TRUE!!!!!

However, undergrads are not Great Old Ones(TM). I adore Jeph!


Free Libraries Equal Free Minds (via @mikecane)

@mikecane is one of those people who reads ematerial that is archived (and free) and then blogs about it to share it with the world. (He’s a very interesting dude and I recommend his blogs. One of his recent posts is called Free Libraries Equal Free Minds in which he quotes an article found in a 1905 issue of Every Where Magazine, talking about a certain Bishop Matz of Colorado condemning the Carnegie Library.

He found this rebuttal to the Bishop in The Pacific Presbyterian, v. 5


Bishop Matz of Colorado thinks the Carnegie libraries are “sinks of corruption,” where Voltaire and infidel and sensational reading is doing much damage. If Bishop Matz would tell the whole truth he would say that these libraries refused to be expurgated by the Roman hierarchy and hence war has been declared. The public libraries in many places are under the dominancy of the hierarchy. If any fuss is made about it the trustees are turned out. The public school text-books, the public libraries, the public press, in fact freedom of any kind unless it has been passed upon by the hierarchy is not tolerable. We have no doubt but that there are books in the Carnegie libraries unfriendly to the Christian religion. That is to be regretted, but Rome must learn at some time that she cannot control the thinking of the world by an edict directed against free libraries.

There are a couple of things I find interesting here. First, is the obvious…people have been expressing opinions about libraries and whether they are good or evil since the beginning of libraries and this is just one example.

Second, and more important, is that not only is there a lot of information out there and available electronically and free (and it should be free, dammit), it is our job as library staff to know about it and to do our best to provide it to the world and fight for it to be available to all.


a link to yet another post by @mikecane quoting an article about books and libraries.

The fact is, that in the years to come, the mass of literature will become so great that no man within the period of a lifetime will be able to do more than penetrate its edges.

Therefore the literary benefactor of the future will be he who is a condenser and an indexer.

The future has a problem in the way of books that we seldom consider, but which nevertheless will be a problem to the future.
— The St. Louis Censor

I remember saying this about the usenet/the internet back in the early 1990’s. Once upon a time I could keep up with every post in every newsgroup that I read.

The future of libraries (via the effing librarian)

The future of libraries (via the effing librarian)

January 17, 2013 — kittent | Edit

The effing librarian (aka Censored Genius) has a great post about the future of libraries and how to address the issue:

Everyone is trying to come up with some solution to the non-existent problem of what should we do with our libraries. It’s a non-existent problem, imo, because I think libraries do a great job of taking a bunch of money and hiring great people and buying lots of cool, useful shit.

But as much as we do great stuff with all that money, there are people outside and WITHIN the profession who claim it isn’t enough and that libraries don’t fit into our speedy groovy shiny new world.

Fuck you, is what I say.

Because I can fix libraries with two simple words: Hey, Asshole….

…Take my advice, and just add Hey, Asshole to everything. But if it doesn’t work for you, you might have to get nastier and try Hey, Shit-for-brains.

It’s probably a solution that I won’t personally use, as we are not a public library, I want to keep my job and the biggest thing people bitch about when they come to our library is not enough study space. (I actually had a patron tell me it was the job of the university to make sure libraries had enough study space because she wanted to study on campus during exams)

However, one of the perks of my job is being able to (humorously) harass the patrons…although I have to be very careful because some people just don’t get my sense of humor or the way I interpret public service (hey, what do you want? I got my customer service skills as the night manager at a convenience store…god only knows I didn’t learn them in library school).