Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Conference Buzz

I just returned from the annual American Library Association's Conference in Washington D.C. With 27,000 attendees and nearly 900 exhibitors this was one of the largest ALA conferences ever! I came away inspired and with a suitcase full of samples from the vendors, and examples from award winning libraries across North America.
So here are a few random thoughts from the conference:
* Radical Trust. People just loved to use this term. Trust your staff, your students, let people make anonymous comments on your blogs, etc..... Interesting, but I keep thinking it would be wise to radically trust only trustworthy people. ;-)
* It is perfectly fine to be imperfect. Don't be afraid to make mistakes, libraries need to move forward - quickly. Don't be paralyzed by fear of making an error.
* Library 2.0 is so 5.0 minutes ago. Here I thought we were ahead of the game, but big technological advances are on the horizon.
* OPACs Suck. Mostly librarians under 30 expressed this sentiment - LOUDLY. I guess they are too young to remember filing those little cards in the card catalog drawers. I'll take my imperfect online catalog over those card catalog drawers any day.... err, except the days when the power is down, or we are having problems with our phone lines, or the server is down.....
* Librarians need to play. We need to have time to play around with new technologies so that we can explore how we can adopt them to improve library services.
* The Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County Rock. There are so many libraries doing so many fabulous things, but PLCM name seemed to pop up everywhere during the conference. I want to learn more about them, what they are doing, and how they are doing it.

My hat is off to ALA for planning and implanting such a wonderful conference.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Careful What You Blog About

Not two hours after blogging about fire safety in the Library, I peered out our third floor window to see the above image in our parking lot! A "bucket truck" owned by the city had burst into flames. Fortunately no one was injured, but the city is going to need a new truck.

Steve Bertand
Assistant Director

Let the Good Time Roll

In our one hundred plus year history we've had our share of bad times and good times. I would definitely say that we are in a good time era right now. This week, our Library is being recognized at the American Library Association's annual conference with a "Best in Show" award for our website. We are also one of 15 finalists for the SirsiDynix "Building Better Communities" award. Some of the other finalists include the Smithsonian in Washington DC, the Shanghai Library in China, and The World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
If you are not familiar with Kankakee, IL you may think that we are a large metropolitan library serving a well educated and economically affluent community. While the latest census figures tell a different story, you may soon be right. A public library is a reflection of its community. Our community celebrates diversity and innovation; it values hard work and education. That's a recipe for prosperity.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director

In the event of an emergency...

At our last Library supervisor meeting, a representative of the Kankakee City Fire Department visited with us to discuss evacuation procedures. As many of you may know, we have an odd situation here, since we share our building with four floors of office suites above us. Consequently, as we try to leave via our emergency stairs, the upstairs renters are doing so as well. Still, that isn't our biggest evacuation challenge. That would be patrons who simply refuse to leave or delay leaving while they collect their belongings. This may be a case of "the boy who cried wolf". People assume if they don't see flames or smoke, it must a drill. But last month, we had one alarm caused by a sprinkler malfunction that was not a drill. For all the staff knew, some other part of the building was in flames. Still we got those who wanted to close Windows and save their documents as they casually pack up their laptops or run to other rooms to collect purses. We're approaching the point where we are thinking of enacting penalties for such behavior, including a temporary banning from the Library. Such measures will be for our Library Board to decide. I'm at a loss as to what else to do about his small minority that selfishly insists on putting the majority at risk.

Steve Bertrand
Assistant Director

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Nancy Drew Rules

Some people just seem to age well. There's a new Nancy Drew movie coming out next week and she's looking better than ever, especially for someone who has been around for over 75 years. I remember reading hand me down copies of Nancy Drew books growing up. I would carefully write and illustrate reviews of my favorite ones. I looked forward to watching the too short lived "Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries" staring Shaun Cassidy, the dreamy Parker Stevenson, and of course Pamela Sue Martin as Nancy Drew. So what's Nancy's secret to staying hip and popular? I did a little sleuthing of my own and this is what I found out.

While Nancy Drew mysteries have continually been in print since 1930, over the years the books have been reedited and revised. Not just the cover art, but the text itself. Nancy has gone from driving a Roadster to a Mustang, and later editions contain fewer chapters and are quicker paced. Despites the changes, Nancy Drew remains true to herself; she is inquisitive, smart, resourceful, forever young, and helpful. Nancy Drew just might have discovered the clues to being a successful librarian in the 21st Century.

Cindy Fuerst
Library Director