Posts Tagged ‘library services’

Halo and Clever Kids

I don’t mind the game. Honestly, I don’t. I’m a science fiction and fantasy fan, so really, the basic premise is fine. And of course, who doesn’t want to be an amazing “fighter/warrior/marine,” the underdog, who takes on the Covenant, one mission at a time, one day of reckoning after another? Looks like some kind of fun.

That is, until last week when suddenly, out of fourteen computers on our main floor in the library, there were 12 kids who were playing Halo on our computers. . . . against each other.

How did they do that? That kind of game would normally bring our bandwidth to its knees.

So here were all these middle and high school boys (ok, there was one girl) on our computers and the place was quiet, too quiet? apparently, they were either using headsets or they simply played without the sound. That’s a lot of shooting; I thought the gun sounds were part of the fun.

Anywayyyyy, as much as I enjoyed having the kids, I had to find out how they were accomplishing this feat. It turned out that one (or more of them) had figured out how to get the game on a thumb drive, download it temporarily onto a computer and then the rest of the kids would access the game through our local LAN. I didn’t even know such a thing was possible.

I called our computer department to give them a heads up and sure enough, a few days later I got the verdict: although the kids hadn’t done any damage to our network yet, the chance for a virus to piggyback onto an illegal bootleg copy of the game was high. The kids had to cease and desist.

In a way, I felt bad. They were having a blast. I even heard kids saying, with shocked voices, “Wow, man, we were playing Halo at the library!” Yes, for those few days, the buzz was big, and the library was a cool place to go.

Gotta figure out how to capture that excitement legally. Sigh.


The Hand Stamp

One of the big delights for our youngest crowd is the hand stamp. It doesn’t really matter what it is (although they do get to pick from a changing assortment: fish, dinosaur coming out of an egg, heart, cat, etc.). Some have been doing it for so long, they have developed favorites and some even request a particular color of ink.

But what is delight here? I think it’s proof they’ve been somewhere!

My kids are now teenagers but if they go to the hospital or the local carnival where wristbands are affixed, they will often leave them on. The message: I’ve been somewhere.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone thought about the library as a place of importance? Wouldn’t it be great if people could tell their neighbors were at the library today?

Hmmmm. I wonder! Maybe we should offer hand stamps to adults? Never know! 🙂

Extra Service

There’s really no way around it. In a small branch, when someone comes in who really needs help, it’s gotta happen. Busy or not, we need to extend that extra service.

Today, a wheelchair-bound older patron came in and needed to order something online. From searching for the item, to placing the order, to creating an email address, it took almost 60 minutes. In between, we were helping people sign on to computers, adding book requests, refilling the copy machine, finding the restroom key, unblocking computers for MySpace, and printing guest passes. The hour went by quickly.

We are also running a promotion here called “Get Carded @ the Library” to encourage customers to sign up for a library card and to win a prize. At the end of September, we’ll be drawing names for an MP3 player (thanks to the generous donation of our Friends of the Library). Each day we draw for mini prizes: “Thanks a Mint” mints, stuffed bears, polka dot puppies, and book marks. So far so good!

It’s settle down now. Knock on wood, as they say. We expect a rush at 4 or 4:30 as people make a last minute run to the library for videos over the holiday weekend.

Tuesday, we will be facing a mountain of materials inside our book drop and the new fines and fees schedule.

PLA: Reinventing Your Library for 21st Century

Speaker: Karen Hyman, New Jersey (remember she spoke at HCPL’s staff day one year)

Basically, she offered 12 questions for us to consider. Karen posted her slides to the PLA Website.

But here are the questions – Food for thought and discussion!

  1. Do you think this is OK? That is… satisfied with the status quo or still wishing that it was like it used to be.
  2. How do you know something at the library needs to change? How do you define “it works.?”
  3. What’s your story (about the library)?
  4. What’s your brand?
  5. How do people experience your library? How do they FEEL????
  6. Why are you so mean? (Your library is as friendly as your least friendly public service employee. Think about that for awhile!)
  7. Is your space holding you back? Do you have space for people to choose their noise level? Is energy efficient? What about views and daylight? Is your building tailored to the community?
  8. In a world supersaturated with obligations and choice, why would someone pick you library?
  9. Why don’t you do [something else]? eg. Why didn’t librarians develope wikipedia?
  10. How do you serve kids (fyi, Echo boomers will outnumber boomers by 2010)
  11. Why don’t I know what you’re doing? Marketing basics say: It’s about THEM! Are you customers in the picture? What do they care about? Go where they are!!!!
  12. What’s the most fun thing you’ve done lately? eg. Are you a third place? Have Fine Free Fridays? Concerts? Dance lessons? Drive in movies?

I think there are interesting threads from one program to another.

PLA: Transform Yourself & Your Library

Speakers: Mary Jane Kepner, Principal, Kepner & Associates and Yvonne Bergendorf, Director Wood Dale Public Library (Illinois)

Kepner’s Keys: A person will not change until he/she is ready to change. In order to create an environment for change, you must first build the groundwork. Behavior change happens when you “speak” to people’s “feelings.” Facts alone will not bring about a desire to change, they have to be incorporated into a person’s framework of feelings and beliefs. It is important to get to the “heart” of the matter.

Kepner had a little formula that was interesting:
D = dissatisfaction with how things are
V = vision of what is possible
F = First concrete steps that be taken toward the vision

If all three of these elements are in place and are GREATER than the Resistance, then change is possible. It’s important to know which people are at which stage in the change process.

Phases of change are similar to the phases of grief (this is from the book, Managing Change at Work by Scott & Jaffe).

  • Denial (that change is warranted)
  • Resistance (refusal to do)
  • Exporation (the questioning phase of the possibilities)
  • Commitment (to the change

Another hint: If someone asks you three times for the same information, there is probably an underlying issue that has not been discovered or addressed.

PLA: The Idea Store

Speakers: Sergio Dogliani, Principal Idea Store Manager, Idea Store, London and Roger Adams, Principal, Bisset Adams Marketing, London. Ginnie Cooper (Chief Librarian, DC Public Library) and Martin Gomez (Urban Libraries Council) asked questions to extend the conversation about the Idea Store.

The Idea Store is a new model for libraries and community learning centers. It is retail inspired and all outlets (at this time) are locaed in London’s East End (Tower Hamlets), one of the poorest and economically deprived areas. Tower Hamlets is one of 33 “municipalities” in London and has over 215,000 residents. 25% of the service area population is unemployed.

In 1998, only 20% of the population used the library, as of today, it is now up to 55%! At that time, they had 12 libraries… with the evolution of the Idea Store (tagline is Libraries, Learning, Information), those 12 outlets will be closed and 7 new ones (or refurbished ones) will be opened. So far, there are 4 Idea Stores in place.

The core idea is that the Idea Store is a place for Lifelong Learning and that will be accomplished by Empowering, Enriching, and Engaging the lives of those who enter the Idea Store and utilize its services and materials. There are 4 areas that can be used to that customer empowerment, enrichment & engagement: the products and services offered, the built environment, the communications with the customers, and the behavior of the staff. Each of these areas have been overhauled for the Idea Store concept and the results are staggering!

Everything in an Idea Store is full branded from the architecture to the materials to the coffee cups in the cafe and the t-shirt uniforms the staff wear. Most Idea Store outlets are open 71 hours a week, 7 days a week and 358 days a year.

The Idea Store is gaining momentum in other European countries. My question: is it coming to the U.S. and what system will be the first to try this model. It is definitely an “urban” model and location, location, location of each store is critical to success.

This was a very exciting program and concept. Change is truly in the air!

PLA: Take Your Online Services to the Next Level

Speaker: Michelle Jeske, Manager of Web Information Services & the Community Technology Center, Denver Public Library

According to a study by the British Library, the searcher of the future expects access 24/7, instant gratification and the ability to “power browse.” We need to be ready by “being where they are.” We need to get as much “return on investment” as possible.

Her primary point of view is that it’s audio and video that will take you there.

  • You’ll be more popular
  • You’ll get more people involved.
  • You’ll make more connections with a new audience.
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s easier than you think.

Audio is particularly easy with just a computer and an Internet connection for doing the basics. Video requires a little more because of the camera and then some kind of software like I-Movie (Mac), Captivate or Garage movie.

She then shared some examples of other libraries doing some of this type of work:

Interestingly enough, Denver does not have a large budget and even hosts their podcasts offsite at Libsyn for only $240/year while Boulder Public Library uses GCast which is primarily free.

She also talked about the Children’s Technology Workshop who have an online presence, but also do “parties” and teach children how to use podcasting and vidcasting equipment. They do not have an outlet in Harford County but they do have it in Baltimore… so perhaps this organization would be worth contacting.

Other types of opportunities and examples:

  • Smithsonian Global Sound (streaming music)
  • YouTube now has Channels! and with them, you can really customize and brand your offerings. See Anaheim Ballet as an example. It really looks like a MySpace page almost and has lots of different things… not just videos.
  • Edmonton Public Library also has a YouTube channel.
  • Allen County Public Library has a YouTube channel with over 52 videos. Right now, there’s an interview with Michael Stephens, Web 2.0 guru and blogger for Tame the Web. They ran a very successful video contest as well. Check it out.
  • Other uses for video and podcasts might be exhbits (which gives the visit a longer life), author visits, and online help tutorials. Another nice example of this is Orange County Library System. They call it their Virtual Library! Very cool.

Denver Public Library has many plans for the future. They are planning to do more Teen Programs, build a podcasting studio, do more videos with their new cat mascot (see their 2006 SRP promotion), and podcast original poetry during April for National Poetry Month. They are also hoping to do a “cell phone” video contest, build a YouTube channel, build a Facebook presence, create a video panorama of the “front range,” do more with local music and bands and create a PDA size website.

Interesting note on their mascot, they spent a lot of time describing the “attibutes” of their cat… perhaps we should do the same for Tales. email: