Saturday, October 24, 2009

Preaching to the choir

Surveys. Focus groups. Interviews. Evaluations.

What do they all have in common? You do them in the library with people who are already in the library. So that's helping us? With what - organizing the library the way those 10 or 20 people would like it?

Why aren't we out in the student union, asking people what they think? Why don't we have librarians in the union, anyway? Isn't our mission to get info to students where they are? You can bet they're not in the library, unless it's to get coffee.

Why should they be? We code it with weird signs - A-F on the right, xA-xF on the left - and don't give them a code book. That's helpful? Don't we know English? Or Spanish, or...any language other than Librarian Code? NW Core is a location? Do we carry compasses in the library? How about a map? I remember a student who thought that ILL and Circulation were signs for nurses offices...and there was no live person around to disabuse him of the idea.

When I was an undergrad, long before I thought about being a librarian, people used to come up to me in the stacks and ask me questions about locating things, since I seemed to be finding stuff. Reshelvers seem to get the same thing. Why? Are there librarians in the stacks somewhere? Or are they all on the first floor, waiting for people to come to them?

Why aren't we advertising to the students who aren't here, or taling to the ones who are? That's another thing we can learn from bookstores.

Besides serving coffee.

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