Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Information Services in a Larger Context: What in the world is affecting the work we do? - Needham

The OCLC Environmental Scan – George Needham
This presentation was really great! Here are my notes on the program. I noticed when I was typing them up that they start out with sentances and move to just ideas. The presenter had so many salient points it was hard to write everything down, I guess!

The Scan identified dominant patterns: self-service, disaggregation, and collaboration. The Scan also identified five landscapes in which to look at the dominant patterns: society, economics, technology, research and learning, and libraries.

Self-sufficiency, satisfaction, and seamlessness all play important roles in people’s ideas about self-service.

Information consumers are showing us how they want to use information – we need to respond to what they’re doing. Analogy of sidewalks at universities – the students walk where they want to walk and only then are sidewalks paved. We need to base services on the paths (known behaviors, desires) of our clients or we will be obselete. Look at successful companies to see how they have responded to consumers. Ease of searching, making things fit nicely with existing services (credit cards or drivers licenses as library cards?).

Role of librarian in self-serve environment:
Recent PEW study showed that internet users believe that they’re finding what they want – even if their beliefs are unfounded.

Information scarcity has given way to information ubiquity. Earlier, librarians head to search and seek out infomration. We’re now pathfinders sifting through mounds of information. Current information sources (webpages, blogs, message rooms) strip information of its context (Who wrote this? Where did they get their information?). Librarians need to provide context for information. Annotations, pathfinders, lists of reliable sites (and why they’re reliable), guides to evaluating.

More and better self-service:
Put libraries where customers are (like banks with atms on every corner)
good is sometimes good enough (try new things even if they’re not perfect yet – a response is critical, waiting until everything is perfectly ironed out can make a cutting edge move into last year’s news – i.e. im reference, wireless libraries)

Convergence: The average US consumer spends 10 hours per day using media of all types. The number of hours we spend with media is expected to grow.

Recommended article: “The toll of the new machine” by Charles Fishman (Fast Company, May 2004)

We live in the time of the least publishable unit. Microcontent available immediately, consolidated later. Because people can publish whatever they want on the internet, they don’t wait until they’ve got a nice finished, cohesive product (books).

On demand purchasing –
instead of ILL (Columbus Public Library). Staff time and money better spent on just buying what patrons ask for.

Disaggregation of facilities-
Collections built on electronic resources. In-house collections that are not redundant with other libraries in a system or consortium. The “terse conclusion”.

Recommended article: “The long tail” by Chris Anderson

If a book is mis-shelved it might as well be gone. If a library doesn’t show up on the web it might as well be gone.

Gamers as model for librarianship – First they compete against each other but after the competition is over they collaborate and share strategies with peers – and with developers. (Over 10,000 new characters for Sims came from users.) Gamers expect collaboration.

A. Gamer is always the hero of their own story.
B. There is always a solution the gamer just has to find it.
C. Failure is a part of success.

Recommended article: “Gaming the system: What higher education can learn from multiplayer on-line games” by J C Herz

Libraries as “The third place” -
(not home, not work, minimal comercialism)

Libraries should be community focal points and community builders. Utility for users is paramount (teen spaces, coffee shops, wi-fi).


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