Monthly Archives: February 2010

Trouble in Massachusetts

Isn’t there a better way to handle this?

The Hingham Public Library’s Board of Trustees voted Wednesday night to stop lending library materials to Hull residents, effective next Monday.

The decision comes in response to the Hull Public Library’s decertification by the state earlier this month, because Hull had cut the library budget disproportionately to other accounts in the town budget.

Decertification means that Hull will lose all state aid to its library, and Hull library card holders face the prospect of losing the right to borrow from libraries in other towns.

For now, the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy is the only library that has said it will continue to allow Hull residents to borrow materials. Milton, Randolph, and Walpole plan to decide soon whether to continue lending to Hull residents.

According to Hingham’s library director, Dennis Corcoran, Hull residents borrowed 33,468 items from Hingham last year, or nearly one-third of the materials lent to nonresidents.

The Hingham trustees said Wednesday that Hull residents are welcomed to use the Hingham library and attend activities there, but cannot borrow items, either directly or through the interlibrary loan network.

OK.  I understand that there need to be consequences for the Hull Powers-That-Be in cutting the library’s financing to the point that it loses certification. Nasty stuff, that, and it is something that communities need to consider when deciding what to slash in their respective budgets.

To some extent I understand that by punishing the residents of Hull, they will descend with pitchforks on the City Hall (metaphorically speaking, of course) and demand that the funding be restored.  However, meanwhile, people are losing the ability to borrow items from the library – and one that they have traditionally borrowed from, judging by the circulation numbers.

Couldn’t these two communities have worked out an arrangement? Since so many Hull residents are using the Hingham library anyway, couldn’t Hull have paid Hingham for library services? Merge the two libraries? Something?

It’s situations like these that make the library look like the bad guy. Not what we’re looking to do, is it?

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Filed under Customer Service, Libraries and Librarianship

Saving the World

A recent interview in the New Yorker featured author Marilyn Johnson, whose book “This Book is Overdue: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All” is one I must pick up immediately. If nothing else, I must have it simply for the title.  The contents sound pretty interesting, too.  In it, Johnson talks about libraries and librarians and how we’re changing technology.

Q: How did you go about finding the many libraries and librarians you wrote about?

Librarians are the most organized, networked, literate people around, and they love to help. I asked all sorts of librarians to recommend colleagues who they felt were doing visionary work, and they flooded me with suggestions. I did not have trouble finding great librarians; I had trouble choosing among them all.

I think I love this woman.  If you’ll pardon me, I’m heading out to get the book.  And thank you, Marilyn, for your vote of confidence!

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Filed under Libraries and Librarianship, Miscellaneous

On social networks

There seems to be a movement towards Twitter lately, and away from Facebook a bit.  Sort of.  I’m having a hard time grasping exactly why I’m feeling this, especially since organizations and businesses seem to be jumping on the Facebook wagon.

What I’m finding, however, is that Facebook has become a place where people are talking about their game stuff almost incessantly. There’s even a new group that is entitled, “I don’t care about your farm, or your fish, or your park, or your mafia!”  The group has over 3.6 million fans.

Meanwhile, Twitter is becoming increasingly active, and is full of interesting stuff.  There’s extraneous stuff, too, but that can be rather fun.  I’m finding myself watching Twitter for information and news.  My Twitter feed updates constantly.  There are seven new tweets just since I started writing this post.

Google Bing Buzz has joined the fray, but I’m not sure if that it going to be much competition.  (Be aware, however, that my prescient abilities seem to be almost non-existent. For example, when a high school friend joined a newly-formed History Channel, I wondered whether anyone would ever watch, and questioned how long it would last. Duh.)

Tried Google Wave. I was seriously underwhelmed.  Perhaps that will become more….something.  In the meantime, I’m not impressed enough to continue to play with it.

I’m finding that my life is busy enough that I will use the tools – networks, web pages, services – that I find useful and that add value, and can’t be bothered to plug away at those that may have promise but just aren’t there yet.

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Filed under Me and mine, Techie stuff, Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."