Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Yes thankyou Anon it was Walt Crawford's piece in Google Librarian's Newsletter that I was remembering. "Good libraries aren't just local libraries. They're places that serve their communities in that regard. Good libraries build and preserve communities. “Cybercommunities” can be fascinating—but the physical community continues to be vital." On re-reading this article, I'm struck by the brilliance of the Google strategy of opening a dialogue with librarians - effectively flattering and recruiting the librarians of the world to promote their product and help train and guide their users, even help them with the trickier searches. A role many of us have taken on willingly - I wonder, is there a downside to this?(I can't think of any but then again I'm not that sharp on this sort of thing). Or is it all win win? What if Google ever goes "bad"?
Anyway, Andrew's summing up comment to my last post is particularly affirming -Giving an example of the personalized service given by some libraries - "Let's see Google beat THAT!. "

.For anyone curious as to why I haven't blogged in a while, I've been particularly busy with family life viz picking up and dropping off kids, entertaining and cooking for kids and their friends staying over, and occasionally husband (he's vegetarian so often prepares his own meals if I'm feeling like meat), attending Lano and Woodley's last show, going to French and sculpture lessons, gardening, washing, shopping, cooking, cleaning, working, watching telly, reading, listening to homework reading, helping teenage son with assignments, walking the dog, falling into bed satisfied but exhausted to start all over again the next day...I am after all a "real" public librarian!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The importance of belonging

I have been reading a book,"Well and good: how we feel and why it matters" byAustralian health researcher Richard Eckersley, and his discussion of the correlation between positive feelings of "belonging" and happiness/wellbeing. This started the chain of thought about how "connected" I felt when I attended our local arts festival this weekend, as a volunteer and as a participant. Here we were, this little community of a couple of thousand people who had decided to join together in this artificial "village" for three days in an atmosphere of mutual fun but also of respect and goodwill - when I was on the gate on the Saturday night nearly everyone was leaving with a smile and a word of how great the day had been/how great they felt. Then I got to thinking about how you could replicate that feeling of belonging in the "library" community. And I got to realizing that we have a natural head start - by definition library members "belong" to the library - so it's about investing that word with more - how could I phrase this without sounding like a hippy (I did eat a lot of Hare Krishna food and listen to a lot of Indian spiritual music over the weekend so the effects may still be lingering) - "spirit"? "being there"? "authenticity"?. And then I was reminded of something I think I read on one of the blogs (buggered if I can remember where I heard it actually) that more or less said that the local library has nothing to fear from Google because of just that - the local library is local in a way that Google can never be. Which is why I and the staff get such a kick out of helping a library member find/discover/locate/ that special personalized book/novel/website/bit of information that can never be replicated by a machine (well not in my lifetime anyway). There must be such huge potential to build on our community's need for belonging...

And BTW, I felt moved to thank the Hare Krishna guys for nourishing me all weekend (their food is so good I couldn't be tempted away by any other food stalls), and they thanked me (I felt sincerely) for my presence. Not that I'm at all religious, and not even a vegetarian, but that is a group of people who really understand the meaning of being authentic as per the "Fish" principle I posted about from the Conference - "Have fun, Make their day, Be there, Choose your attitude".