Are we scared of libraries closing?

People seem to think that librarians are scared of technology, especially middle-aged women librarians with their hair in a bun. (Sound like anyone you know?)

The fear is not of technology but technology alone will not keep people coming to the library. People will have the same technology at home that they can get at the library.

The fear we have is that jobs will be lost. E-books don’t need to be processed, repaired, or shelved, and they don’t go overdue because they are automatically returned. When I first started in the library business, there were more jobs, because we typed and filed catalogue cards on top of everything else that needs to be done in a library.

I already have a problem because my avid readers just go out and buy (paper) books before I can get books shipped and processed. If libraries were completely digital, people would join Amazon Unlimited and just stay home, especially in the winter.

Our hours are cut every year, and then the value of what we do doesn’t show because we don’t have time to do what we SHOULD be doing (Reader’s Advisory, programs, staying current of new publications).

In 50 years, the library will be a server at city hall with a part-time person (or even a volunteer) choosing e-books and downloading them from time to time. We will lose the warmth, the human contact, and a chance to talk to someone “whose job is to read” (ha, ha) to get suggestions. I’m glad I won’t be alive to see that day.

I think we have reason to be afraid

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Now THIS is a true 21st Century Library!

I guess this is the kind of library we should be aiming at. Maybe if our libraries were arranged differently, and books were easier to find, people would borrow more books.

Food for thought.

21st Century Library Blog

The Nieuwe Bibliotheek(New Library) in Almere, Netherlands has built a Library that embodies theideals of the 21st Century library!

“They redesigned their libraries based on the changing needs and desires of library users.”

What they found led them to follow a model more relatable to their patrons:

“Guided by patron surveys, administrators tossed out traditional methods of library organization, turning to retail design and merchandising for inspiration. They now group books by areas of interest, combining fiction and nonfiction; they display books face-out to catch the eye of browsers; and they train staff members in marketing and customer service techniques.”

Based on feedback from their community they included a wide variety of services, spaces and programming.

“The library is also a Seats2meet (S2M) location where patrons are empowered to help one another in exchange for free, permanent, coworking space, and they utilize the S2M Serendipity Machine to connect…

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Mon grain de sel sur le rôle d’une bibliothèque

Peut-être suis-je vieux-jeu et on pourrait me dire que j’ai besoin d’évoluer dans mon opinion de ce que c’est qu’une bibliothèque, mais il me semble que la bibliothèque est un endroit où on va pour lire et pour chercher des livres à lire à la maison.

Aujourd’hui, les bibliothèques se déguisent en magasin du vidéo et en arcade. Le monde s’achète ses propres livres électroniques pour lire partout à son rhythm et moi la première. Il faut examiner nos énoncés de mission.

Nous montons des arcades et nous nous félicitons d’avoir augmenter le nombre de visiteurs, mais si ces visiteurs-là partent avec un DVD à 1$ et aucun livre, ou s’ils viennent pour jouer à des jeux vidéo et ils partent les mains vides, nous avons échoué.

N’importe quel magasin qui reçevrait des clients qui viennent voir et qui n’achètent rien s’inquiéterait et changerait vite ses strategies de vente.

Je crois qu’une bibliothèque c’est d’abord et avant tout un endroit pour susciter un amour de la lecture. Les films et les jeux vidéo n’ont pas besoin de promotion. Nous devrions créer un sentiment de communauté en établissant encore d’autres clubs de lecture et en offrant des activités qui donnent aux utilisateurs une occasion de répondre aux livres qu’ils ont bien lu. Ces activités vont alilmenter un intérêt chez d’autres utilisateurs pour lire ces livres-là à leur tour.

Des exemples d’activités seraient: une soirée de sketches basés sur les livres lus ou bien de la poésie inspirée par les livres lus, des événements de même. Bien sûr, les utilisateurs vont être gênés, mais si c’est de l’art visual ou une presentation filmée, les autres utilisateurs ne verront pas leurs erreurs.

Merci de me laisser un commentaire pour me dire si je suis dans les patates ou non.

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Sound-off on what libraries should be

I’m wondering if I’m just old fashioned, and maybe my idea of what a library is needs to evolve, but it seems to me a library is a place where one goes to read or pick up books to read at home.

Now that libraries are turning into an inexpensive video store and gaming room and people are buying their own e-books so that they can read at their own pace, and carry their books around easily, we need to examine our mission statements.

We set up game rooms and congratulate ourselves on increasing the numbers of people coming in, but if they leave with a DVD rented for $1 and no books, or if they come to game and then leave empty handed, we have failed.

Any department store that had customers coming in and looking but not buying would be worried and would be changing their strategies.

I believe that libraries are first and foremost places that promote a love of reading. Video games and movies don’t need promotion. We should be fostering a sense of community by establishing more reading clubs and creative activities that respond to books that patrons have actually read, which will make other patrons want to read those books. Some examples of these activities would be a skit night, sharing poems inspired by books the patron has read, events like that. Of course, certain patrons would be shy to participate, but if it’s visual art that is already prepared, or if it is a filmed presentation, the other patrons wouldn’t see their mistakes.

Please leave a comment to tell me if I’m out in left field or not.

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Je me tiens avec les pros!

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Récemment, j’ai eu le privilège de connaître Kenneth Oppel (un auteur jeunesse Canadien qui est bien connu) alors qu’il est venu à Québec dans le cadre du Performing Arts Festival.

Je n’ai pas été surprise d’apprendre qu’il a des enfants, parce qu’il a parlé avec les enfants qui étaient là de façon très naturelle. Il avait preparé une très belle présentation power point dans laquelle on voit son livre “Fils du ciel” qui flotte dans l’espace, ainsi que des papiers qui montrent les recherches qu’il a faites sur les primates pour son livre “Demi-frère” et même des photos des personnages qu’il a mis sur son train mythique qui figure dans son nouveau livre “The boundless.” (Ce livre-là n’est pas encore traduit en français). L’assistance fut captivée.

Il a été très patient avec les enfants quand ils lui ont demandé (pour la troisième fois) combien de livres il a déjà écrits (31) et, à son tour, il leur a demandé de raconter leurs propres projets de création littéraire.

En tant qu’auteure, j’étais très intéressée par les photos de son bureau à la maison (je rêve d’avoir un bureau semblable un jour) mais surtout j’étais intéressée par tous les brouillons qu’il a faits pour un de ses livres et combien de corrections que ses éditeurs lui ont suggérées. J’ai compris alors que c’est tout à fait normal pour les auteurs de se faire critiquer et je ne me décourage plus pour toutes les corrections qu’il a falu que je fasses en rédigeant la suite à “Ne viens pas ici, Julie!”

J’ai eu l’occasion de lui demander si je dois refaire ma suite ou si je dois publier chaque tôme dans la série de la perspective d’un personnage différent.  Il m’a dit que je devais faire ce qui me convient à moi et que c’est seulement moi qui puisse déterminer ce qui est convenable. J’apprécie beaucoup sa sagesse.

Merci, Ken, pour une présentation très encourageante et nous vous souhaitons tout le meilleur pour votre carrière déjà pleine de belles réussites.

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Hangin’ with the pros!

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I recently had the privilege of meeting Kenneth Oppel, a well-known YA author when he came here to Quebec City as part of the Performing Arts Festival.

I wasn’t surprised to find out that he has kids, because he interacted with them very naturally. He had a very well-done power point presentation that showed his book “Airborn” floating in outer space, some of the research that he did on primates for his book “Half brother” and some of the characters that he put on the mythic train featured in his newest book “The boundless.” The students in attendance were captivated.

He was very patient with the kids when they asked for the third time how many books he has written (31) and asked them about their own writing projects. He must be an awesome father.

As an author, I was very interested in the pictures of his home office (I dream of having one some day) but mostly all the drafts he went through for one of his books, and how many things his editors wanted him to change. I saw that this is just normal for authors, and no longer felt discouraged by all the things I needed to change when writing the sequel to “Don’t come here, Julie!”

I had a chance to talk with him afterwards about whether I should rewrite my sequel or publish each book in the series from a different character’s perspective. He told me that I should do what feels right for me, and that I’m the only person that can determine that. I really appreciated his wisdom.

Thank you, Ken, for a very encouraging time, and all the best in your already successful career.

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Tu auras beaucoup de temps pour écrire

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