Sometimes I see an idea that is so good I want to run to the library and next day and do it! Spontaneous story time is one of those ideas. Librarian @rebeccazdunn tweeted a photo of herself wearing a handmade sign that reads “Ask me to read you a story” Talk about a roving librarian. I talk to the customers at the library when I am roaming around the library, I imagine a free offer to read a story would make me much more approachable.
I also thought about grabbing a laptop and plopping myself down in the children’s section with a sign indicating that I am happy to be interrupted Sort of like an embedded librarian, but inside the actual library. I can recommend books, talk to parents and read to the kids. It would be even better if I spend sometime sitting in the teen section to see if I can capture the attention of that age group.
Hmm, this idea has some merit.
I attended a PD today on Word of Mouth Marketing for libraries. You can read more about at #libmark on twitter.
It was a question from the audience that got me thinking. Someone asked “Do you attend your local libraries events?” The question struck me because the person asking the question was from my local library (I work for another council’s library service). And the honest answer was, no. Why on earth would I attend a library event?
I surprised myself with my answer. Here I am trying to figure out how to engage my library with the community, yet I scoff at the idea of attending an event at my local library. So maybe the answer to how does one engage with the library users lies within me. Interesting.
We have nine people so far for our lovely little Community Librarian network, hurray! I am going to a PLVN all day PD tomorrow, so I am hoping to recruit a few more. Then we can have our very first meeting. So excited.
Sunday shifts in the library are crazy! We are only open from 2-5, but almost same number of people come through our doors during those 3 hours as a regular day when we are open for 8 hours. I do love the atmosphere on a Sunday in library.
Going back to my executive decision from two weeks ago, Sunday is for knitting. This was taken on the same day as the World Wide Knit in Public day, I don’t normally get to knit at work. And yes that is a muffin I am holding up symbolically! I made good progress on the socks I started knitting. I had to stop knitting because I forgot how much needed to increase for the gussets.
Why you should never cross your arms again
I read this interesting article about body language and how power poses actually boost people’s confidence. I find it interesting how much brain takes cues from how we are feeling based on what your body is doing. Fake it till you make it really seems to apply in these cases.
This bit of the article made me think
“Realign your body more congenially with your conversation partner” The author argues that if you face the same direction as your conversation partner they will be more likely to agree with you. When I am at the information desk most of the conversations take place while the customer is staring at me. When I am roaming the library with the iPad in tow I do end up standing next to the customer. I am going to start paying attention to agreeableness levels of customers in these two situations. Got to love a N=1 experiment!
We celebrated World Wide Knit in Public Day by turning a corner of our library into an impromptu makerspace
We had many people stop by, pick up some needles and wool and started knitting. We had a grandma stop by with her two grandchildren, a couple of teenagers who came by after school, a primary school student who came to knit leg warmers for her doll, and other knitters that saw us knitting and popped by. The words “cozy, chatty, friendly, connected” we thrown around. I think I am starting to get the point of a makerspaces as community development.
One thing I need to learn about working in a public library is the importance of planning ahead. I thought I was doing pretty good planning for Adult Learners Week which is in September, and a colleague is planning for Seniors Week which is in October. I learned today that the deadline to submit events for the Seniors Week’s hard copy brochure was last month! Who finalises their event planning in May for an October event. Lesson learned, plan ahead. Well ahead!
Today an elderly customer stopped by to ask if we had any books about a remote town in Western Australia. We had a few books, but they were historical books and she didn’t seem interested. When I pressed her for details she said she grew up in this town and she wanted to see what it looks like now. I went into google maps and loaded street view for her. Together we found the courthouse and the building that used to be her mum’s shop across the road.
While searching for images I also came across ABC’s open project. I haven’t heard of this project before and I found it interesting. It looks like an idea that can be adapted in our local libraries. I do love the idea of the local library preserving the history of the area. I am especially enamored by the Object Stories . The user are asked to submit an object that has a story to tell about Australia. I love the idea, I will be sharing it with my local historical society.
I need to remember that it is good to think outside of the book even if a customer initially wants a book. Also good to remember why someone wants the information is just as an important question as what information they want.
If you want to join the network just fill this out. I will get back to you shortly.
So far I have three responses to my call to network, hurray! I am hoping that we can get at least five of us together so we can start plotting, I mean planning, how to crack the mystery of community librarianship
I wanted to clarify two things
1) A disclaimer in case anyone thinks that I have the answers and want to meet and share them. I don’t have the answers, I am looking for the answers. I know there are more people like me who are asking the same questions I been asking and I want us to find the answers together.
2) And my call isn’t just for people with “community” in their title. I am calling out to anyone that wants to work to make their libraries more community centred. From expereince I know that Children and youth librarians are usually very good at working with their communities. I would love to hear from you as well.
Are you a public librarian working to connect your library with the community? Do you believe that our libraries need to be more community-centred? Would you like to meet others who are also looking to solve the puzzle of just how the library can be community centered?
If you have answered YES to these questions then I want to hear from you because I think it is time that we have a network of our own. I am calling out to all community development/outreach/engagement/coordinator librarians in Melbourne who want to connect.
At this point I am proposing an informal network where we can meet and discuss burning questions such as:
How do we figure out who/what/where our communities are?
How do you create a community development strategy in a library?
How do we identify communities who do not think the library has a place for them?
I am imagining us having a monthly “community coffee and chat” and regular contact via Twitter. We could also consider an online community like Google Groups for when our network grows.
Do you want in? Fill this out, and I will get back to you ASAP. Even better tweet to @OzgeSevindik
Many thanks to to Tania Barry @shewgirl
and Hugh Rundle @HughRundle
for their encouragement and commenting on drafts of this post.
Two customers approached the desk yesterday, one of them on a wheelchair. I looked up at the person that was pushing the customer in the wheel chair and greeted her. She looked down at her companion and waited for him to speak. It then occurred to me I didn’t make eye contact or greeted him. I smiled and asked him what he was after.
After they left I reflected about my default behavior. I consider myself good at customer service regardless of who the customer happens to me. Yet when I was approached by a customer in a wheelchair, I automatically spoke to the person that was caring for him. That was not good customer service. I need to keep myself in check for future interactions.