“Your” Librarian

An incredible thing happened tonight. One of my favorite library trustees and patrons told me that I’m known as “our Chelsea” around the building where she lives.

For someone with a goal to be known as “your librarian” in town, it was magical to hear. I’ve only worked for this community for a little over two years. I still have a long way to go when you consider how many residents have yet to be infected with my doctrine. (Side note: Peter Shankman’s Zombie Loyalists is a must read for anyone with the same goal.)

I want to believe that most public librarians are driven to this profession due to a personal urgency to be of value to a community. But I rarely see it. Yes, we have to deal with unfortunate situations –  mental illness, porn on computers, surprise poop on the floor (not a joke) – on a daily basis. Sometimes you have to turn to wine or you’ll surrender to the dark side. If we make it our personal missions to effect the lives of our patrons, however, the end result provides the perfect balance that will steel us for the frustrating episodes of serving the public.

So it may seem insignificant, but a minor comment like this makes a librarian feel that much more connected to the provided services. And thank you chocolates. We love those.

Link

Local paper articles

One of the easiest ways to promote the library is to have a standing column in the local paper. With print news what it is, snagging a weekly article is difficult.

The library used to have a weekly column years ago, which made it easier to reinstate. We’re limited to a space only once a month now, but it will still be a great vehicle for communicating library activities.

Here is the first.

The director asked whether we wanted to put individual names on articles, or make a generic “library” byline. As we work toward putting faces to this building, and make the institution more vibrant and dynamic, I recommended naming individuals. I hope to recruit more librarians to help me out though to prevent it from being a “me” instead of a “we.”

Mobile Wifi Hotspots

I’m getting ready to kick off a few of my new outreach projects this Spring, including roving business reference and a book bike. The one common thread with all of these projects is the WiFi issue. I want to be able to do reference and borrowing services on site no matter where in town I am.

Currently, the library uses Comcast for internet services. While Comcast has some hotspots throughout town (train stations), I’ve found that it’s not always reliable. It seems to go in and out often, and I wonder if this has to do with the volume of use. Some local businesses offer WiFi, too, but I’d prefer to use both of these free services as backups to a personally controlled device.

It took a few searches to come up with the appropriate keywords. It appears that what I’m looking for is a “MiFi,” and Novatel’s device was “Editor’s Choice” a few years back: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2385018,00.asp

xfinity MiFi

xfinity MiFi

According to some articles published in 2011, Comcast only charges $25 for the device. Naturally, a search of their site doesn’t show any pages with purchase details. When I chatted with a rep, she said that Comcast still has the MiFi. I can find it by looking on “comcast.net.” Ha. I didn’t have time to ask for a direct webpage and signed off. I plan to look more into the costs, etc. after the holidays.

Here’s to 2015 being the year of fun, busy, effective outreach!