Ah. It’s so nice to have a long weekend to look forward too. I get Independence Day off on Friday but I decided to take Thursday off too. My plans? Read as much as I can. Relax. Enjoy some soy ice cream. Encourage my Bookman to make cinnamon rolls. Attempt to make pac choi dumplings from the ingredients in our csa farm box. And work on school stuff.
The class assignment this week is to go to a library and ask a reference question. We are to pay attention to whether the librarian follows reference guidelines or if the librarian attempts negative closure. In other words, does the librarian conduct an appropriate reference interview, ask good questions, provide source material and offer to do more searching if the recommended materials aren’t what I need or does the librarian try to avoid helping me by telling me I have to ask someone else or that the library doesn’t have what I am looking for any other tactic to try and make me go away. I am going to go to my branch library because no one knows me there since I only ever go in, pick up a book off the hold shelf and use the self-checkout.
My final project for the quarter, as I may have mentioned, is to answer seven reference questions at the Internet Public Library. Before I can “go live” I have to complete a sort of mini course and answer a practice question and get an IPL librarian’s approval before I get a password to access the reference questions. So I plan on starting in on all that.
The ALA annual conference is over and notes and articles from the sessions are beginning to pop up here and there. Library Journal has some notes from a session on the future of libraries. One person notes that with an aging U.S. population, libraries should position themselves as “a massive Alzheimer’s prevention program.” That made me laugh. Someone else suggested that librarians have to work to be “Nancy Pearl on steroids.” Others recommended that libraries have to start thinking bigger, be more willing to collaborate with other libraries, and librarians need to act more like professionals instead of whining about things like having to wear nametags. An intriguing idea came from someone who said that libraries need to have a sort of universal library card that will work at all area libraries. So for instance, my Minneapolis library card would work at a county library and a St. Paul library without me having to go through all the rigamarole currently necessary to cross-register my card. Wouldn’t that be cool?
There are lots of people in the profession who are worried about the future of libraries and librarianship. I think both will always be necessary, though they may not look the same ten or fifteen years from now. I can understand why some would be afraid, but I find it a rather exciting prospect to be entering such a dynamic career. I mean, there aren’t many professions these days with such opportunity for creativity and innovation for the average worker. I can hardly wait!