A Librarian adrift

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Currently, I’m a librarian more or less without an institution, though I think that will be changing in the near future. However, there’s this about librarianship: you can take the librarian out of the library, but it doesn’t help. As the t-shirt says, it’s like the Mafia: you know too much.

I’ve had the opportunity to visit a number of libraries lately, both public and academic. All of them have exciting and interesting programs that others don’t have. Someone suggested on Twitter that a program like Diners, Driveins, and Dives, but with visits to different libraries to see their specialities, would be incredibly popular with librarians and library users, and I agree.

If there are still people out there who think of public libraries as gray and gloomy, it’s possible they haven’t visited very many lately. Yesterday I was at a public library with an amazing water feature, as well as a tropical-themed children’s room. Another library near me was setting up a murder mystery game when I came in, so I saw 5 library staffers deciding exactly where to put the chalk outline in the lobby when I came in, and the chalk outline being drawn as I walked out. (That library also has a study loft.)

Many of the local academic libraries allow outside patrons, often including using their computers and/or scanners. (Both of the academic libraries I visited in the past month had self-service scanning stations, where you can scan to Google Drive, email, or a memory stick.) Being in the library, especially if you bring your own device, often means you can access and view their online resources (which only makes sense, since being in the library means you can use their print resources).

Living in NJ means living high on the library hog, too. My local library offers Mango Languages, Overdrive books (now with an easy to use mobile app interface), reciprocal borrowing with all the libraries in the county (plus online requests– 5 per day!), 6 different regular clubs, and all kinds of activities. That’s in addition to the regular circulating collection, children’s activities, films, ESL conversation group, etc. Public libraries are really hopping these days. Also available through many public libraries are technology training, either one-on-one coaching or classes– some libraries have Lynda.com or other online training subscriptions.

In addition to continuing to belong to NJLA, my state library/librarian association, I am keeping up with my fellow infophiles on Twitter. Twitter has drawbacks, of course. But the nature of the medium, compared to Facebook, seems to be more conducive to professional and informational discussion.

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