Some Thoughts Post-IL2007

I didn’t go to Internet Librarian this year, but one of my colleagues did. Direct quote, “Wow! What a conference! I’m convinced!”

A group of us met for a farewell dinner this evening (for another colleague who is moving to a new job across the continent), and the after-dinner conversation got ’round to public librarianship. Like the path the moon lays down on the ocean, the path I see myself focusing on and becoming most passionate about is the one that leads to making information and library resources available for users NOT inside a library building. I would love to facilitate providing info by telephone, web site, downloadable materials, e-mail, and sms – maybe even in a virtual place like Second Life or Facebook. Also, maybe using a service like Skype would allow conversations with ASL speakers without the unwieldiness of our ancient TTY machine. (I was recently exposed to my first video relay call – even though I didn’t have video running, the caller and the operator were doing a video thing instead of keyboarding the questions.)

At one time, I was collecting articles on writing web pages for small screens like those on a PDA or cellphone, but I didn’t have enough time to actually write one (except for the one on my PDA.) This is something I think will become more important – the glitz will go, and the content will stay in cleaner, leaner form.

I’ve got some ideas for improving the TEL Tipsheet and organization of the workstations. Still working out the details, but it will involve a blog for the daily announcements, and Links Toolbar items for the things we use that are behind the library’s firewall.   I’m going to set up one workstation – maybe the one at my desk on 5L – and test it.  I’ll need to collect ideas and feedback from the staff, but I think anything is better than what we’ve got now.  I really believe telephone service will become more and more important, and we need to be able to incorporate more services that are phone-friendly. That means having links readily available, being willing to send info to an e-mail address or cell phone, and handling problems on the spot instead of requiring the caller to come in to the library.

I’m meeting with my supervisors soon to discus the level of service that should be expected of TELIS and how best to achieve it.

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