Deepening the Conversation

thinking about questions of authority, technology, learning, and 2.0 in academic libraries

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It’s all in the details

I’m traveling today, not for pleasure, and have become newly assured that I am not cut out for North Country living. Also, newly assured that user-centered, service-oriented is a must for libraries. Because if we don;t do it, we’re gonna leave folks feeling like I do today. And if today is enough to make me want to relocate, imagine what we’ll do to lifelong library users if we treat them without consideration? (note about the NorthCountry: it could be defined as having a core disregard for the needs of folks. Frontier thinking, insular to a crippling point, generally concerned about personal impacts of any and all decisions and behaviors. There are exceptions, but that’s the culture in a nutshell. You may be familiar with it politically, in NH and VT politics. But it ain’t just writ large, it’s business hours, types of stores, zoning,you name it) I’m talking little things, but so many of them, with accumulated resentment. Like the fact that not one single thing I have tried to buy today — including ferry tickets or lunch at a major regional airport — was able to be purchased on credit card. Seriously, I’m doing reimbursable travel here, and I am expected to pay cash for every step along the way? I suppose I’m just supposed to be glad that lunch was for sale at the airport, and that that bagel shop was open (it was after all the second bagel store I tried to shop at this morning). Which is all supposed to make me forget that nobody is feeding me on my noon flight, which I was originally thrilled to have as a direct flight (seriously! when was the last time I had a direct flight??), only to discover that I will be spending three hours smashed into a 44 seater. Life is inconvenient enough these days. Travel is a disaster, from cost to comfort. Add in poor signage, ridiculous stretches of time, and then inconsideration of the details ( um, a carry out only bagel shop on an island between the ferry dock and anywhere else which only spreads half the bagel and doesn’t cut anything through — could they not forsee that their food was gonna be eaten while driving?) So, what can we already tell about patrons lives, and what can we assume about the frustrations they already live with? At minimum, that they already are frustrated, for sure. What details can we come up with to smooth over, to make easier? Because the irritants have longer staying power, and even override the good things (like, for example, the excellent free wifi at the airport I’m currently using)? I’ve got more to say abotu this, but may just be in too foul a mood to think them through right now. And I have to go get chipper for today’s later events…. More on service later, you can be sure.


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long time gone

Hello readers!

Sorry to have been away for so long! I took some time for myself after the conference and have had a most lovely explosion of chaos break out that will probably keep me blog-quiet through midsummer.

But never fear, there is still hope!I have a post buzzing around back of my head about customer service (no thanks to freshpair, who I am now boycotting, and with thanks to TimeWarner, who came through big time), and I’m working on articulating my focus. I’ve been thinking about budgets and what they say about libraries and how we value education. And the value of expert-created taxonomy tagging on top of LCSH for improved searchability… Not to mention my vacation to Nashville will surely inspire some cross cultural thinking, because this midwestern gal has never spent any free time south of Mason-Dixon, and I’m sure it will be interesting!

So you might hear from me before July ends. Add me to your feed reader but please don’t forget about me! Oh, and keep your fingers crossed!

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Blowin’ through the jasmine in my mind

I have been a little buried in mundanities at work this week — repetitive but necessary tasks — and continuing bits started before, and have been bad about posting.

Which might be better described as being bad about thinking, but I’m going to blame the (lack of a) humidifier for the pillow in my head and let that monkey go!

So, what’s been scrolling through my head this week?

  • gender issues in BSG: R@zor. While stunning in terms of the ‘verse, R@zor may have lost me forever. May have completely undermined all previous complex and marvelous BSG gender stuff in 2 short hours.
  • assessment issues – how to assess my teaching, and how to determine if the time we put into our freshman library fair is worth it (and how to do more with no more resources). Is assessment worth the effort if we are only doing it to appease TPTB?
  • soup. yum!
  • snow tires. May the Goddess bless and keep them
  • Settlers of Catan. I’m starting to hold my own, even have some ability to discern strategy and remember what resources folks have in their hands. Soon, I will get The Longest Road AND the Largest Army!
  • Christine Bruce’s Seven Faces of Information Literacy (summary article) and phenomographic approaches to learning. More will follow, I promise. But, how did I get through 4 years of instruction and info lit work and research and not encounter this 1997 gem?
  • snow.
  • sleep

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This has nothing to do with libraries (except that most of the folks are librarians…)

A good friend from library school made a video out of photos taken while we were in school (posted on her blog) and it just made me realize how much I miss this amazing group of people! And our potlucks and picnics and parties and live music gatherings…. We could do food like nobody’s business –check it for yourself!