Monday, March 31, 2008

Watching TV on Library Computers

The Shifted Librarian poses some interesting questions in regards to TV programs on library computers. In the past year, we have seen several new online services that allow for people to watch television programs or movies online. For the most part, these services require you to register and download certain software, which would eliminate library computers as a possible avenue to use these services.

However, it may not be too long before a special download is not required. Customers currently access YouTube-type videos and music videos with our computers. Will we be seeing customers sitting back and watching their favorite TV show, or their favorite movie? Are we already seeing this?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Performing Reference Interviews Works!

A recent study, The Effects of Librarians’ Behavioral Performance on User Satisfaction in Chat Reference Services, explains that library chat customers have a higher satisfaction rate when librarians conduct a reference interview. How about that!

And I also just read David Lee King's summary of a presentation at the PLA 2008 National Conference that is going on right now. This presentation by Joseph Janes was called "What Does it Take to be Good at Reference in the Age of Google?". One point that the speaker makes is that one thing librarians can do to separate themselves from Google is to conduct a reference interview, regardless of the way the question was received (in person, over the phone, chat, etc.).

So we have two different sources stating the same thing, "Reference Interviews are Good". And in order to satisfy our customers and to stay relevant in the age of Google, we must conduct them.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

MyiLibrary Introduction

We recently announced a new service called MyiLibrary that provides e-books, of which we have currently purchased about 50. This is a great way to ensure that we will always have an electronic copy of certain titles that disappear quickly and frequently (ex. computer books, study guides, job/career, health). Customers can access these titles via the Catalog and the Databases page. Each book can only be viewed by one customer at a time.

I have added an introduction page to the Technical Trainer wiki. Please click here to access the MyiLibrary page.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March Madness

March Madness is in full force. Add to the fun by reading When March went mad : the game that transformed basketball by Seth Davis. Or how about Last dance : behind the scenes at the Final Four by John Feinstein. Then, in between games, teach some children how to play basketball.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Consultant Helping Companies Tap the Web

An interesting article in yesterday's Commercial Appeal highlights a local consulting company. They are helping companies use free social networking sites to create an online presence. A couple of sentences jump out at me:

"Because such sites thrive on human connections, common interests and personal recommendations, businesses believe that they are potentially powerful tools to drive word-of-mouth traffic to products and services."

"Feedback has been good, but it is hard to measure the results of the effort".

These two sentences jump out at me because they parallel the experiences of us and other libraries throughout the world.

MPLIC has been blogging for a couple of years now and we are always looking for other types of similar services that may suit our needs. These services have the possibility of becoming extremely useful in connecting with our customers. Or they may not. There is really only one way to find out. And do these online services translate into higher attendance at programs or higher circulation numbers? That is difficult to measure.

But as more and more companies and organizations begin to offer more and more online services, how do libraries keep up?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Claims Returned Dilemna Solved

As reported a couple of months ago, we had a problem with our "Claims Returned" items not being obviously marked as such. Paul's departing gift to us is a solution to this problem. (If a customer has claimed that they have returned an item, but it is still checked out and cannot be found, the item is "Claims Returned".)

Circulation staff will need to do a few extra steps, but items that are "Claims Returned" will now say "LOST-CLAIM" instead of "CHECKEDOUT". These items will also not be holdable or viewable via the Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC).

This affects nearly 7000 items and should decrease the number of items on your pick list that are not available.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What Type of Information Technology User Are You?

Pew Internet & American Life Project has broken down the general population into 10 different areas as it relates to users of information technology.

  • Omnivores - 8% of general population
  • Connectors - 7%
  • Lackluster Veterans - 8%
  • Productivity Enhancers - 9%
  • Mobile Centrics - 10%
  • Connected But Hassled - 10%
  • Inexperienced Experimenters - 8%
  • Light But Satisfied - 15%
  • Indifferents - 11%
  • Off the Network - 15%
Basically, half the population is not connected to technology. Of those, you have a few who are wanting to experiment and learn how to be connected to technology. The other half are connected to technology and a few of those wish that they were not.

Where would you fit? No need to guess. Take this quiz and find out. I am a "Lackluster Veteran". Leave a comment and let me know where you fall.

via Library in Black