029.4 – I Have a Question

Questions on Door EPL
I’m not the only one with questions.

I am that annoying classmate of yours that always had a question at the end of a lesson when the rest of you were anxiously casting side-glances at the clock face and trying to silently, surreptitiously drop your books into your bag without catching the attention of the teacher.

“Are there any questions?”

And there I was, hand raised, look of anticipation on my face.

As I prepared for the interview of Adult Services Supervisor, Lorie Vik, of the Eugene Public Library, I created a list of questions compiled from the resources provided and the my own curiosity.

  1. What is the community of Eugene like? Describe your patrons and their needs.
  2. How long have you worked with the Eugene Public Library?
  3. What type of technologies are available for patrons to use IN the library?
  4. What type of technologies can be used by patrons OUTSIDE the library?
  5. What technologies are used by staff in the library?
  6. What type of Internet-based services are provided for patrons?
  7. Who manages the technology? If there are multiple staff members, what does that collaboration look like?
  8. How much of the overall budget (proportionally) is spent on technology, including devices, databases, and software?
  9. What type of systems are used? Are they up-to-date?
  10. What type of training is provided to those directly working with technology?
  11. Is there training provided to staff not directly working with this technology?
  12. What type of network is used?
  13. What type of Internet access and connection?
  14. Who maintains the website?
  15. Is the library automated? If so, which system is used?
  16. Do you have policies and forms related to technology? (i.e. Acceptable Use policies, time-limits on computer use, etc)
  17. How often are these assessed and modified?
  18. How does technology get repaired? Is this done in house or sent out?
  19. Are fines assessed to damaged technology items?
  20. Is your physical space conducive to the technology uses and needs? Have there been any modifications to accommodate?
  21. What kind of assistive technologies are provided?Are they available for check-out?
  22. What type of security is in place?
  23. What do you think works well?
  24. What do you think can be improved on?

Ok, I’m done.

Class dismissed.

060.1 – A Plan Comes Together

Eugene Public Library Downtown Branch  By User:Cacophony (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
I often tell the students I work with that I don’t work in libraries nor am I a library student because I like books. It is because I love to organize.

I love to order and alphabetize.

I love that the true success of a library is that information is accessible and it remains accessible because it’s in a predetermined, logical place. Every time.

(Note for those new to the library world: it’s not in it’s predetermined, logical place every time and that is frustrating)

And I love to plan.

Which explains why I started on this week’s part of the assignment months ago. I first contacted the public library in the coastal town where I will be residing after August. It seemed logical and potentially a great way to get a foot (heck, I’d take the nail on my pinky toe at this point) in the door, but I did not get a response. I moved on to the Eugene Public Library, as I would be spending about a week in Eugene after the end of the work-school year.

After searching their website, I wasn’t clear on who the best contact would be and intended on throwing a dart at a name, crafting an e-mail that ended with a subtle plea that if the recipient was not the best fit for the interview that they pass on my information to the staff member that was, and hope for a response.

But I was saved by a small bit of incredibly smart library programming that I hope to find in many more libraries soon:

Book a Librarian!

Beyond the wittiness of the pun-y title, this program allows patrons to book 30-60 minutes of one-on-one time with a librarian for training or information on library services and resources, such as basic computer skills, how the library catalog works, reader’s advisory, how to use the products in the Maker Space, and, as it turns out, interviews on the technology services offered at the library.

I got a quick response to my request the next day from Adult Services Supervisor, Lorie Vik, who graciously extended an invitation for me to visit in the few days that I was going to be in town. After the usual game of e-mail tag, we were able to find a date and time that worked for both of us and before the visit I sent her a list of questions that I had compiled.

Truth time: I have had little experience with “cold interviews”, so I had not actually considered sending the questions before the interview, but was prompted to by Lorie’s request. After conducting the interview, I’m glad that she had suggested that I send the questions because it gave her more focused topics, helped us utilize our time better (which gave us extra time for a behind-the-scenes tour <insert nerding out>), and, overall, helped ease the anxiety I felt about interviewing someone on a topic that I was just starting to discover.

It just went to prove my theory that one can never plan too much.

027.007 – The Purpose of My Visit

Chicago Cultural Center
Always in pursuit of (library) knowledge – even on vacation. The Chicago Cultural Center, formerly the first central public library in Chicago (completed in 1897).

As an Information and Library Services student and, overall, library nerd, my immediate response is, of course, does there need to be a purpose?

Can one not just visit a library for the sake of wandering the stacks admiring the passive programming and taking note the expertly crafted displays?

Or excitedly (but surreptitiously) taking pictures of the technology spaces designed for discovery, creation, and exploration to post on social media thus making a very public declaration of said nerdiness?

Yes and yes.

But, while I will undoubtedly get to indulge and unabashedly let my nerd flag fly, my upcoming visit to the Eugene Public Library will be under more formal pretenses.

As a student in the University of Maine at Augusta’s Information and Library Services program, this summer I am enrolled in Introduction to Library Information Technology (ILS 225). To expand our own knowledge and practical experience with library technology, we have been given an assignment to visit a local library and interview a staff member who works directly with the technology services provided.

In addition to gaining knowledge of the real-world applications of the information technology we are reading about in our textbooks, this visit provides us with an opportunity to engage in conversations that will be commonplace in our future library roles. This exposure to technology-based services and issues will add another layer to our foundations in library and information science.

(And I’ll also get to oogle shelf signage and Makerspaces – squee!)