Friday, December 21, 2007

Libraries in the News: Attention Must Be Paid...please?

According to the Library of Congress blog, LC is given ten minutes of screen time in the new National Treasure: Book of Secrets movie starring Nicholas Cage. The LC blogger hopes this might help bring positive attention to our national library.

Library Journal reveals that Cuyahoga Library has extended its toy lending program of 15 years to all branches. Patrons can reserve toys from the library website. The website notes that each toy is inspected and disinfected between borrowers. MRSA anyone?

LJ also reports that the SanFranscisco library has a Book a Librarian service. Patrons can make appointments to meet individually with a librarian. SFPL librarians provide research and technology help. Note that BHPL reference librarians can usually give enough time to each patron to fully answer questions, but if you need more, we are willing to arrange a slightly longer than usual time to help you with your email for example.

Jacob Liebenluft wrote in Slate that Yahoo Answers is a Librarian's Worst Nightmare. Yahoo Answers is a website where people can ask any question and instantly get answers from any person at all who has signed on to be a member. It is very easy to become a member. I signed up last week and have answered a few questions and noticed that Yahoo Answerers rarely cite sources. Answers are generally people's opinions, anecdotes and casual personal experiences. Last fall there was a big push in the librarian universe for reference librarians to answer questions on websites like Yahoo Answers so that people would realize that libraries are a good resource also. This effort was Slamming the Boards which is now supposed to be a monthly event.

Libraries lending toys, lending librarians, being happy to get ten minutes in a major movies and proving our relative value on web answer sites - What do these four stories about libraries and librarians have in common? Again it's the common theme in the library profession: are we obsolete yet? and please notice that we are still useful.
Well, no we aren't and yes, we are. Are we the self-designated buggy whips of professions? We are still here. Quiet, but here. Stop by, give us a call, ask a question.

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