Friday, January 11, 2013

A Few Things On My Mind

I read library blogs every day. I love the tips and tricks, the program idea sharing, the camaraderie that shows any time the media misunderstands (again) libraries. I love hearing about new books and reading what fellow librarians are thinking about them. Perhaps what I love most, however, are the meaningful conversations that pop up around timely topics. Blogs are a great way to see what sorts of things are on the minds of librarians at any given time. Here are the three topics that have been on mine thanks to some great posts:

Programming
     I was one of the many librarians to forward an article including a library program on pig-butchering to my coworkers. I also linked my branchmates to a follow-up article from The Atlantic Wire that further explores the untraditional realms of programming to which libraries are now offering access. I love that articles like these help us to think about what it means to program in a contemporary library. What do our communities want and/or need from a third space like a library? The particular answers may seem crazy at first, but so do a lot of really cool things.

Unprogramming
     That was programming. But what about what Marge Loch-Wouters of Tiny Tips for Library Fun has dubbed "unprogramming"? I love the sort of questions that the idea of unprogramming your programs makes you ask. For example: Is what the attendees get out of the program worth the amount of time I put into planning the program? How do our programs tie back to the library's mission, values, and/or resources? Is it time to retire/revamp old or traditional programs that have become tired? Basically, is what we offer worth it for our customers? I'm thinking of coming up with a list of such questions to ask myself and my staff before we commit to future schedules of programs--we want to make sure that we're intentionally offering what's best for the community and what makes sense in terms of resource use.

App Reviews
     Cen Campbell at Little eLit has been blogging this year about what librarians should consider when they review apps. She gives a thorough reasoning behind the importance of a variety of criteria: age appropriateness; in-app controls; interactivity; affordances; early literacy support; annoyance factors and customization; and intended use. I am finding these posts incredibly thought-provoking as I tweak my own plan for how to incorporate apps into my library space. Cen also shares great examples of the criteria she discusses, and I'm happy to have a list of apps to try after reading her posts.

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Those are three big topics that seem to be on my mind lately as well as on the minds of my colleagues. As programs kick back into high gear now, I will make a concerted effort to still give these topics as much consideration as I can in order to determine how they can inform what we do at my library.

What library topics have you been ruminating on lately?


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