Tuesday, April 10, 2012

National Library Week

April 8-14 is National Library Week.When I look at all the banners I notice that it is mostly geared towards public libraries. I am sure others are being mentioned, however I hope that we don't forget the many other different types of libraries that are out there.

Throughout my special libraries class I have learned about the different libraries that many may not realize exist. I remember seeing that there was an American Girl Co. Library and I about flailed thinking about it. Special libraries are essential towards running businesses! They are indeed an asset and during this week I feel that they should be recognized as well. ALL libraries should be recognized, academic, public, medical, law, the list goes on and on.

My volunteering and research of medical libraries have made me realize how essential they are to hospital organizations. In some situations, the articles that one librarian may find may speed up a patients healing process. There are clinical librarians that do the rounds with doctors, retrieving information face to face and not via email in the library. Its just become so fascinating to me and who wouldn't want to commemorate the librarians who work so hard at their field.

What I am basically saying is, realize that there are other libraries out there that deserve to be recognized for their efforts. Whether in a business, or helping the public, they are important and I personally believe vital!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Monday, April 2, 2012

Competition

I feel like I sound idiotic in the fact that originally thinking I didn't think libraries had competition. We provide a service that is unique where you can retrieve materials for free, and who can compete with free? Well, upon searching and pondering for a moment we do.

Doesn't matter what your take on it is, Google is a major competitor. For many its a one stop shop, just Google what you are looking for and instant results. Librarians on the other hand are taught that this not always the most accurate way to retrieve information, depending on what you are trying to locate. Anything scholarly, or hardcore facts need to be done properly and a librarian can certainly do that but Google is making it seem that they are the way to go to find information. However, it sadly can be used for a lot. I myself found a blog post discussing the same topic questioning who is a libraries competition. Who Are Your Competitors? Brings up a lot of the same items but more geared towards public libraries.

My issue is still thinking about competitors for special libraries. They are unique in what they offer their patrons and are unique to the company they serve. I could say that their competitor is budget cuts because many libraries become eliminated because of them. Google can be as well because their patrons may just find it easier to hop on Google then venture to the library. Which is why marketing the library and making it known that they are of importance to the company is extremely important.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Marketing your library

Many would think that marketing your library is essentially and easy task. However, sometimes it may not. The reality is marketing will not happen unless you put in the effort and want to promote what your library does. Without marketing and library advocacy, I truly feel that libraries would almost dwindle away. There needs to be reminders of what a library has to offer to its patrons. With special libraries this is of extreme importance. Organizations may find ways to cut budgets and a library can possibly be the first to go. The one way of course to save this it to market and promote what your library has to offer.

I think the biggest part of this is making yourself known. Being active and being present to the patrons is highly important. This is especially true with special libraries. I had read an article about a medical library practically being located in the basement of the hospital and many patrons did not even know it existed! Putting yourself out there and actually going to the patron I think is an ideal way to market. I myself am a very personable person and would hope to be face to face to the patrons within whatever organization that I work for. I personally would want to have staff orientations. I am sure with budgets and time it must be hard but currently where I work, patrons do not know the access that they have here at the library. It is not initially discussed during their orientation when it should be! That is one important step in promoting your library is making it known. Plus, those patrons miss out on the benefits of the user services the library has to offer. 

A popular way that has taken the library world by storm it seems is Social Media. Libraries have facebook pages, twitter accounts, tumblr pages, blogs you name it. I personally think these are great for academics or public. However, I have my moments of thought when it comes to special libraries. Special libraries are usually much smaller and sometimes ( I stress sometimes) a smaller patron base. I personally feel that newsletters, face-face orientations better serve marketing a special library. It all depends on the type of social media a library wishes to use. Web 2.0 is an ever powering way to market a library, but depending on how you want to use it and what you want to accomplish I feel one should really think if its worth doing. RSS feeds can be a great way to link patrons to articles or newsletters for example. 

I am excited about promoting my library someday. It is probably an extremely geeky thing but who wouldn't want to promote something they love to do and what they work hard for. I couldn't imagine taking a backseat and letting patrons miss out on the great user services a library has to offer!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Having fun in the workplace

I am sure from a managerial standpoint, when someone says fun in the workplace they think of all sorts of things that are not beneficial to the work environment. However, fun in the workplace does not have to be all fun and games, even though some organizations are stepping towards these methods to make the workplace more enjoyable.

Let's think about it, our jobs are where we spend a majority of our time. Many of us, and I for one, become dissatisfied with the work environment and sometimes do not feel appreciated. That alone effects how we work, the service we give but also our overall morale. Libraries for many outsiders seems to be a mundane job, however even though it can have its moments, it certainly can be far from mundane. According to a survey done by Leysen & Boydston where 143 catalogers were surveyed about their job satisfaction, 88% experienced levels of satisfaction with their current jobs. "Trust in administration and relationships with co-workers were found to be among the top-ranked indicators of satisfaction"(Everett, 2011, p.3). I can personally say that I want to be able to trust my administration and feel like I can go to them for anything. We are all people and it should not matter what level you are at but I feel that one on one appreciation for each other (management and all) extends to have great work morale.

The article in which I got most of this information discusses fun ways to enhance work morale, but it is not necessarily games and such. For example, the article mentions a library in which staff stayed over to help with a literacy program and the director rewarded them with pizza. This past Friday I was at the VA volunteering and the librarian ordered us all pizza for our work. Its the little things sometimes that make employees feel appreciated.

I personally hate to admit that the way I work is affected to how I am treated. A job is a job and you should do it, however when you do not feel appreciated in your work environment why would you want to be there? It is especially hard in the library field because we know the job search can be difficult and then you are "stuck". I don't necessarily think that play time is necessary to make us feel better in a work environment, but knowing that we are part of the organization and are important is essential for work morale.

Everett, A. (2011). Benefits and challenges of fun in the workplace. Library Leadership & Management, 25(1), 1-10


Saturday, March 17, 2012

NMRT Mentor Program

So a WHILE back I signed up to have a mentor. I figured that I am getting closer to the end of my degree and I really wanted to be in touch with more people within the field and understand what I need to get the job I want. I think they took a little while because they wanted to see how we would fit with someone. I am extremely excited to find out the person they chose is working in a federal library. Her name is Amanda and she is the Director of the National Transportation Library for the U.S DOT. So interesting! I cant wait to hear everything about what she does and how she got to where she is!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

SOPAC..Why aren't more libraries using this?!?

So, I was reading an article for homework discussing ways to improve user services. Very interesting article in the sense of its title, Why All Librarians should hack...a least a little (sure that is supposed to be at but I will type it as I see it). It mostly discusses exploring programs and changing how they operate and such, however, I came across something that intrigued me. Last semester I wrote a paper on social tagging in library catalogs. Found it to be extremely interesting. It is a great way to have your patrons participate with the library but also I felt like it made the searching process within the catalog easier for the patron. Well SOPAC was mentioned within the article that I read and I just had to explore.


SOPAC stands for Social Online Public Access Catalog. This OPAC allows patrons to tag, rate and review items within the collection! That happened to be part of my main discussion within my paper. For example, lets say a student uses a book for his/her class paper. It was definitely a great resource and she feels that it should be looked at by her classmates or future students within the class. She can then go into the catalog and tag this class onto the book. Current classmates or future students can search tags by class and find the book. It is currently how our patrons explore. We all do it, search Google by key terms, not library terms. 

Slowly libraries are integrating to different catalogs. I am in love with USF's library catalog in which its a one stop shop. I can type in Journal Articles in the search engine and it brings me to them without having to search the database. Why not take it that extra step and make it a more interactive experience for library users? There are some libraries who participate in a SOPAC and I congratulate them! This is just me personally feeling that a more interactive catalog makes it easier for patrons but also get them more involved with the library no matter public, academic, special etc. I only keep this short because I literally just discovered it but you can look at information from the website 
http://thesocialopac.net/