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  • valarie907 10:12 pm on November 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , services,   

    school library messages 

    school library signs and posters

    school library signs and posters collage made with photocollage.net

    Since our User Experience module, I took the opportunity to take a fresh look at the signs and posters we had up around our school library.  The image above is a fair sample of them.  I was relieved that none warranted immediate removal, but I did feel that a more personal touch could be added.  Signage has a tendency to become “unseen” after some time, so fresh messages are also important.

    The messages we send to our library customers can be subtle; with signage, in our correspondence, and use of physical space.  Children are especially vulnerable to these messages because they are absorbing knowledge about how the world works through their experiences which shape their future behavior, expectations and interactions.  I’ve been trying to see the “library” brand and their experience in our school library through their eyes.  Of course there is a list of improvements that can be made, some easier and cheaper to implement than others.  Fortunately, we have been progressing in the right direction.

    Yet, sometimes the obvious shames me…such as when I asked if a student was ready to check out and he exclaimed excitedly, “We can check out magazines?!”  I felt bad as I told him, “No.”  As he walked away disappointed, I asked myself “Why don’t we check out magazines?”  This led me to the conclusion that we should absolutely check out magazines if the students want to check them out, and any objection could be countered with a solution.  My co-worker agreed and amazingly enough a stand became available that would work perfectly for our new service.  We received permission to order a set of very nice, brightly colored, magazine covers, a policy was fashioned and voila, we are checking out magazines!  In fact it’s a challenge to get them back to change out the old issues.

    children's magazines for circulation

    children’s magazines for circulation


    • Pamela Hawks 8:44 am on November 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Of course! Why shouldn’t magazines be checked-out? I was surprised when I started working at my library that serials could be checked out because the old model was that serials were for reading only in house. A demonstration that re-evaluation is always a needed part of any public service. Good for you in bringing about a needed change!

    • Judi 11:23 am on November 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      You’re a mover and shaker school librarian Valerie! This is a fabulous example of “Why Not?”
      It’s sad that lack of funding prohibits some of the best children’s materials in my local library system from being checked out because they’re too fragile and too expensive to replace, so are kept in the reference section. The disappointment is on a child’s face is heart-wrenching!

      Also, terrific sign photo collage!

    • Patty Miranda 1:18 pm on November 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      First of all Valerie I would have to say I love how you used the library signage pictures. I will have to try it out in one of my blog one day.
      I have also had students ask me if they can check out magazines or paperback books. Normally I would say they have to stay in the library, but because our student body and staff consist of 750 people and I am struggling to balance everything on a 15 hour work schedule by myself I tend to give in. I don’t have the time to officially add it to the library policy. I do wish we could get new subscriptions to magazines, but there is no money at the moment for anything. I am glad that at least I was able to catalog some new books that were transferred to our school when a Kindergarten center closed down. They are titles that we desperately needed especially since Kindergarten students were now going to be using our school library.

  • valarie907 12:48 am on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , services,   

    interviewing librarians at JCLC – part 1 

    Joint Librarians of Color Conference 2012 - Kansas City, MO

    Joint Librarians of Color Conference 2012 – Kansas City, MO

    I recently attended JCLC 2012 in Kansas City, MO armed with a flip camera and a badge that read “I’m a student and I would like to interview you.”  It allowed people to know that I was a student with questions and an opportunity to offer their time without cornering them into a conversation.  I was often asked whose idea the badge was, to which I freely admitted the crazy idea was my own.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any takers for a video interview, but many people were kind enough to stop a moment to allow me to interview them.  I explained that I was taking a class called the Hyperlinked Library with Michael Stephens and we were exploring services offered by libraries that invited their customers to participate and contribute in some way.

    I had two questions:

    • How does your library invite or allow customers to participate in the library?
    • In what ways does your library engage your community?

    This will be the first in a series of three blog posts to share with three participatory library services that left a significant impression upon me.


    The City Library

    The City Library - The back of Mr. Safiullah's business card

    The City Library – The back of Mr. Safiullah’s business card

    This first post is about my last interview.  I met Mr. Safi Safiullah outside the hotel while trying to figure out how I missed my airport shuttle reservation.  I recognized him from the conference, but never had an opportunity to meet him.  As it turned out, we both missed our shuttle.  Once we settled in to wait for the next shuttle, we chatted a bit and he asked what sort of library I might be interested in.  I won’t suffer you my answer, but I did find out that he is the Program Manager for The City Library of The Salt Lake City Public Library System.

    As our conversation continued Mr. Safiullah mentioned they have a mobile media center, which piqued my interest very much.  It turns out that it is an extension of their Technology Center which provides access to computers and various media equipment.  It appears that in the beginning the equipment was transported using private vehicles, but the library recently purchased an SUV and has the computers in protective briefcases for ease of transport to various places in the community.  The mobile media center visits Senior Centers and Community Centers where they provide the equipment to train people how to use technology, such as setting up an email account or whatever they want or need to learn on the computer.    The program has been around for several years, is library funded and now involves several people on their staff.

    I really appreciate that The City Library is stepping out of its physical location to provide important services like their mobile media center; it’s a wonderful example of a participatory service.  …I also noticed a phrase after Mr. Safiullah’s title on his card:  “Exploring New Ideas”  I don’t know if it’s on everyone’s card that works in this library system, but putting it out there kind of gives people permission to talk about it and offer up their own ideas.  Pretty awesome!

    Thank you, Mr. Safiullah!


    Library profile

    • Beth Morrill 10:27 am on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      What great ideas, both the mobile media center and your name badge. Kind of participatory hi-tech and low-tech.

      • Valarie 9:17 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Beth! The idea of taking the technology to the people is wonderful…I’ll bet they are super supporters of this library system!

    • Katie McGaha 7:10 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Such a great way to take advantage of the opportunities the conference gave you, Valarie! I visited the City Library when seeing a friend in Utah a couple of years ago and it is a gorgeous site to see! We spent a good amount of time just walking around both the inside and outside of the library and there are so many spots that invite people to sit and relax. It’s also great to know that the library extends its services out into the community with the mobile media center, especially reaching users that can’t always make the trip to the library.

      • Valarie 9:27 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I’m jealous! The pics I saw online of it are amazing…I have another reason to visit Utah! I saw on Twitter that their website just received recognition for being simple and attractive…I agree. Check out the other notables:
        Top 10 Public Library Websites 2012

    • Pamela Hawks 12:10 pm on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Putting that on your shirt was a great idea, Valerie. You’re right that people feel more relaxed about talking to strangers if they themselves make the decision first. It reminds me of those great t-shirts the staff wore in those Colorado Anythink libraries.

      (And have I mentioned already that you are a great photographer??!)

      • Valarie 10:14 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Pam…its always a relief when one of my ideas work! I think it also made me more approachable, much like those shirts they wear at Anythink…I wonder if they sell them?

        You’re nice to say that about my photography…it was hard since I let the natural light of the day pass and had to take them under fluorescent light…ick. I did some color correcting using Photoshop…

    • Jade T.M. 8:28 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      I love your idea! It really is a great way to, as Katie said above, take advantage of opportunities the conference gave you. Conferences and similar gatherings are such wonderful places to meet interesting people, and people with great stories and professional advice. To the few conferences I have had the chance to attend, I wish I was able to record encounters with people I met and chatted with. I admire you putting yourself out there with the badge and asking questions to strangers, just to see what kind of responses you get. I think there are many things than can be learned from encounters like that.

      • Valarie 10:19 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I wish I had taken more pics, but I’m kind of a live-in-the-moment kind of person. It would be interesting to do this a big conference, but JCLC was the perfect place to try it out. I met some fabulous people I normally would not have and learned a great deal. It would be awesome to see someone else do it…hint, hint… =)

    • Laura Galván-Estrada 9:13 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      With this attitude, you are going to go places! What a great idea! I’m pretty outgoing in my own turf but in a conference, I become Little Miss Shy. I’ve been doing this for twenty years — being a librarian and going to conferences, that is, but the socializing part, out of my comfort zone. But, at work, not so much.
      I’m looking forward to your next installment in the trilogy.

      • Valarie 10:40 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Laura! Here’s the strange thing; I am a very private and reserved person…honest. I’m not good at making conversation and am pretty content to sit back and observe when I do socialize. But, something happens when I’m around other people passionate about libraries and information services, and, well…I even shock myself. I always have a lot of questions and this field seem to welcome them, which helps a great deal to connect with strangers I might not have otherwise. …I hope I get to meet you at a conference one day!

    • michael 4:59 pm on October 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Very impressive! I appreciate the “in the moment” viewpoint. I think some of the best l;earning happens there. Thanks for sharing your unique approach for this conference.

      • Valarie 1:15 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you, Michael! It was a wonderful opportunity to ask questions…something I never seem to run out of. 🙂

    • Patty Miranda 3:25 pm on October 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Valerie,

      You are so lucky that you were able to make that trip and interview people. I can understand why they didn’t want to do the video…they were shy. I’m very shy when it comes to video interviews.

      I thought your idea was genius. The laptop service from the city library is similar to a program a high is doing to help community members learn how to use a computer. I’m glad to see that you had a great experience!

      • Valarie 1:21 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, Patty, I felt most fortunate that I was able to attend JCLC! It was made possible by the scholarship that AILA, the American Indian Library Association, awarded me. I think there were only two of us from Alaska, too. And, I know what you mean about being shy…I doubt I would have volunteered for a video interview, either. The few times it would have worked, I was too slow to realize it and I didn’t want to interrupt the flow of the speaker. It was a lot of fun and I learned a lot!

    • Mickel Paris 4:40 pm on October 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Now that’s taking the initiative! Fascinating work, and the badge idea is very effective! Sounds like you both learned new things and had fun while doing it!

      • Valarie 1:23 am on October 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        It was effective…and, it would be awesome if others did it too…hint, hint. 😉

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