Tuesday, June 06, 2006


via chicago
Originally uploaded by dwfree1967.
Hello! Miss me? After vacation in Chicago and a swamped week of instruction sessions and meetings I finally have some blogging time.

Somewhere in the insanity I happened across Karen Schneider's "The User Is Not Broken" manifesto and related commentary on other blogs. Very thought provoking stuff about the relationship of library workers, users and technology. One commenter on Karen's post used the phrase "bibliographic inquiry" in discussing the merits of the card catalog over OPACs.

Now I think card catalogs are pretty cool and a decent enough search system. But seriously, "bibliographic inquiry"? I'm imagining the blank stares of a class when I walk in and say "My name is Dave and I'll going to teach you the fine art of bibliographic inquiry".

I'm really not picking on said commenter, but it made me think Karen's lack of jargon in web sites item should even be expanded:

Talk to the users in their language, not ours.

Or something like that.

"Jane" at Wandering Eyre made some excellent additions to the list too. Although I'm not 100% sure about this one:

"The library does not belong to librarians, it belongs to users. It. Is. Not. Ours. Period."

I understand and generally agree with the sentiment there but I really look at the whole 2.0 blahblahblah thing as more of a collaboration. We need to understand what it is our users want from their libraries and how they want it. And then work with them to provide it. But at the same time not be afraid to use our expertise as info pros to generate new ideas and ways of serving those needs. And keep staff invested in the library. We're definitely part of the equation. Just not in the traditional "Keep your hands off my books, don't drink that Coke in here and sssssshhhh while you don't do all the things I'm not letting you do!" way. So maybe more like:

"The library belongs to everybody. Work together to make it better."



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