Public library staff and libraries/information services.
FA:14 LIBR:200-19 TASH Blog #4
Do they (library staff) use resources and services provided by libraries or other information organizations?
Library staff naturally uses library resources and services. To quote Bivens-Tatum, “We’re library users, too, but we’re so familiar with our libraries that we overlook the flaws, workarounds, and frustrations.” This applies not to just when we are serving our communities, as implied by the author, but when working within the departmental structures of the library and with its internal resources. Talking with co-workers, and researching the interior of my public library workplace again and again underscored this sentiment.
On the public side, the catalog may have cataloging errors, such as “Animal House the dvd is in the system under ANI while Animal House the Blu-ray is under NAT for National in the extended title of National Lampoon’s Animal House”, as exampled by AC. So we experience using the library differently than our community, knowing that a cataloging error may be the cause of Animal House being absent from the Blu-ray collection under A and instinctively look then under N.
Much of the cataloging is outsourced and this outsourcing is likely the culprit of such cataloging discrepancies. So while public service desks work around this in their way, technical services must accept this as a normal part of the flawed system and correct the records in retrospect.
Articulating the user experience of library staff is more difficult than it would seem because of this familiarity. This is our profession, information. Using it and generating it is part of us. So many times information is findable but not readily accessible, disorganized in various SharePoint discussions buried in a department sub-sites or recently updated webpages. The water cooler or the telephone becomes the information source many instances.
Yet information sources are part of the interior life of the community. Gimlet reports are run for statistics on reference transactions. Baker and Taylor is searched, as is amazon.com for availability of replacement or new items. Reader’s advisory sites such as GoodReads, Novelist, HarperCollins and other publishers send our reviews and lists in email subscriptions. Other information is gotten from ALA, Booklist and other vendors providing training and education.
So, briefly this is a small glimpse of the backside of information services in a public library.
Do they (library staff) create their own information sources and services?
Yes, there are countless ways that public library staff creates information sources. In the graphics department, SL says, “The program guides take months of planning and collaboration. Marketing, Childrens’ Services, Adult Services and the NV community all contribute staff time and talent to make each edition a success.” This is then used by both the staff and the community as an information resource for library programs and services. A board packet is sent monthly to all staff and is published on the website. Binders with genre and age appropriate reading lists are made to help both staff and public. Cheat sheets for the new technology and their updates are constantly revised, as is the staff phone directory. Brochures, bookmarks, pamphlets, banners, signs, policies, procedures are all information sources generated and used by staff.
How does library staff’s perceptions of information services correspond with the user experience theories covered in the lecture and readings?
It was interesting how the spaces were used in particular. It was right on the mark. Many times there will be twice as many teens surrounding a table for four or squeezed into a conference room. Cords stretched across the floor are a common. Although it is unusual to have people sitting on the floor it does happen during peak study sessions such as midterm and finals. The desks as barriers issue is being addressed. Partitions were taken down at the self-checkout so that books could rest on the counter. Computers were rearranged so that gaming could become interactive for the teens. As staff we experience this along with our customers.
In respect to the library staff as an information community, staff’s use of library space is dictated by established policies and procedures. To this I mean that library staff uses the spaces as intended as part of work performance.
Bivens-Tatum, W. (2010). Imagination, sympathy, and the user experience. Library Journal, 8. Retrieved from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2010/11/ljarchives/imagination-sympathy-and-the-user-experience/#_
AC and SL NPL.