Bronwyn's Library Blog

Monday, June 27, 2005

Libraries provide internet access

One of the great values of libraries if their ability to equalise access to information. And this is no less the case for information from the internet. The American Library Association has just released a report that says that "99.6 percent of libraries are now connected to Internet, with all but a handful offering access to the public. That compares with 20.9 percent in 1994 when the study was first conducted." There is similar coverage in Australia, but this must not be a case for complacency. As ANICK JESDANUN points out in an article for Seattle Post, computer time still has to be limited at busy periods. If it takes people two hours to fill in an application form or resume, then this is very limiting indeed. She also quotes Andy Carvin, an expert in improving access to technology and the Internet as saying "While most of America's middle class has Internet access at home, there's still a digital divide among low-income citizens, people with limited education, ethnic minorities and other groups."

We need more space as well as more funds for computer access ... as always!!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Librarians not so obsolete

Just love this statement from Patricia Schroeder, President of the Association of American Publishers.

" Those who declared librarians obsolete when the Internet rage first appeared are now red-faced. We need them more than ever. The Internet is full of 'stuff' but its value and readability is often questionable. 'Stuff' doesn't give you a competitive edge, high-quality related information does." 

Incidentally the Library Bytes newsletter went out today. You can read it online or subscribe by sending an email to with the words Subscribe Libraries in the subject line.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Critical literacy covers all media

Wonderful article from Karen Orr Vered in the current issue (Vol 19 Issue 2 2005) of Access. The title says it all: "Beyond books: Electronic entertainments as supplements not substitutes, to literacy." And I quote excerpts from her introductory paragraph ... "It is increasingly acceptable to claim that recreational media use is taking up time that children could be devoting to more worthwhile pursuits such as reading and healthy physical activity ... Claiming that media use is displacing or replacing other activities is to proffer a substitution thesis: media use and media play are substitutes for other activities. ... The essay deconstructs the substitution thesis to broaden our view of literacy so that we can more readily recognise how print literacy and media literacy are two parts of a much larger social practice of literacy."

As a normal media user and parent, I find her thesis a useful peg on which to hang my unarticulated feelings. As a librarian, I was inspired by her examples of how teachers and librarians can build literacy. But my major concern with this issue, is as a parent. In my last post for my personal blogI thought aloud about making children aware of the processes they can use in search and research on the internet. And I guess that underlying that thought is a hope that this sort of self-consciousness will also help protect against the ugly and unscrupulous. Hopefully the use of critical literacy techniques applied to media, both at home and at school, will do the same. Thanks Karen.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Reading - a lifesaver

"My folks were drunks. I was an outcast at school.  Then, when I was in the 8th grade, a librarian in a small Town in Minnesota got me to read - and it saved my life."

Gary Paulsen

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Search For Information Wasting Professionals' Time

In my reserch for marketing strategies for ITC internationalI came across this article from Media Post.

"Anthea Stratigos, CEO of Outsell, reporting on the survey results, "2001 vs. 2005: Research Study Reveals Dramatic Changes Among Information Consumers," concludes that professionals are shifting away from their Internet research methods of just four years ago to more efficiently gather information and get on with their jobs. They are now looking more to their peers and colleagues, "alerting" services, and other conveniences.
According to the new survey, 67 percent of professionals now go to the open Web for information, versus 79 percent in 2001. Fifteen percent rely on their corporate intranets (up from 5 percent), and nine percent consult their colleagues (up from 5 percent). In addition when seeking information fewer now prefer to get it themselves (51% down from 68%) preferring to rely on regularly scheduled updates, members of their team, or their library."

or their library..... or their library...!!

Do I have to say more?

I do have to say it is very welcome to have recognition from outside for the role that our industry and its professionals can play - the role they have always known they could play, and that they do.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Video games as a service

Providing services that the customer expects is vital to success. But creating new customers is another issue entirely. Providing video game tournaments in the library - a service to be expected or a marketing tool to create more customers? Well I guess it depends on what has gone before. Do it the first time and it's marketing. Make it a regular thing and it's a service to be expected. Either way the library wins, given adequate planning and skills. But it has to be a wonderful marketing tool. Which is why this article is so useful. But I have to say I simply enjoyed reading it - for its language and for the wonderful amount of useful detail included. See for yourself...

Video games as a service – hosting tournaments at your library Disclaimer: Eli is a Computer Geek and Erin is a Media Junkie. Jargon found below may reflect these contexts. We include a glossary for your convenience; glossary terms appear in bold italics within the text and are defined in a sidebar on page 453.] Libraries are in the content delivery business, capisce? It’s that simple, or it used to be. The challenge is that our customers’ conceptions of what constitutes both content and delivery are changing fast, especially among those who are substantially younger than the McDLT. If teenagers come to the public library, they will find content that appeals to them, especially when they have access to good collections of popular music, movies, magazines, and manga. Note the “if.” Libraries realize that we need to take steps to get this generation in the door before they become jaded blog-reading, Netflix-subscribing, Googlefu masters who can’t imagine why someone would bother actually going to the library. We need a hook, or as they call it ... Article continues

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Sign of the Times...?

College Libraries Set Aside Books In a Digital Age smirks the New York Times ... "Students attending the University of Texas at Austin will find something missing from the undergraduate library this fall. ... Books. ...By mid-July, the university says, almost all of the library's 90,000 volumes will be dispersed to other university collections to clear space for a 24-hour electronic information..." Did they throw the books out? No. The librarians, like all of us, were serving the customer just as we have always done. If the customer prefers a particular atyle of search or a particular medium, we cater. Doom and gloom and the end of the book, it most definitely is not.