Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20, 2007

The consultants have been here, conducted many focus groups, and interviewed a number of key City officials. We hope for a preliminary report sometime in January, but we do know some of the things they heard from Everett residents during their visit. People want more books, more programs, and more technology. No surprises there. I'll post information about the planning process as it is available to us, and I thank everyone who took the time to attend a focus group or fill out a survey.

If you haven't been in the Children's Room at the Main Library lately, stop by and take a look. The Family Reading Area is really beginning to take shape. Although the permanent furniture is not here yet, we've moved some of our upholstered arm chairs into the room to let people start using it now. We have new magazine shelving so that all of our children's and parenting magazines are in one easily visible spot. Our easy readers are now on the south wall on shelves within easy reach of their intended audience. Computers are no longer the first thing you see when you walk in the room.

Our downloadable e-audio books are finding listeners. With very little fanfare on our part, one quarter of the available titles have been checked out. I have finally decided on an MP3 player for myself, and placed an order. I am looking forward to downloading my first book.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

December 7, 2007

I'm starting this blog as a challenge to myself. Although I've used email and the Internet in my work for years now, I've been relatively slow to adopt many new technologies. I got my first cell phone less than two years ago. While that may not be so unusual among people in my age group, it must seem positively retrograde to many others.

Providing access to the Internet is a large part of library business these days. People use it to look at our catalog, to put materials on hold, to search our online databases, and to use what's called the social web. Web sites such as MySpace, Flickr, and FaceBook are hugely popular. This fall I took a class that introduced me to a few of these sites, and I promised myself afterwards that I would make an effort to find out whether there might be a way to incorporate the social web into my work and home life.

I've been using now for several months, and would recommend it to any reader. It lets me keep a list of books I've read, or might want to read, tag them with words that help me remember what the book was about (I have a terrible memory for book titles), and see what others are reading who enjoyed the same books I have.

I've also been using since September. Last year I got a digital camera, but wasn't so good about doing anything with the photos once I took them. Now, I upload them to Flickr, arrange them in sets, and add labels. I can share them with friends and family easily and cheaply--and frankly, since most of my photos aren't that memorable, I don't have to devote shelf space to albums of photos.

Which brings us to this blog. This is my latest foray into technology. I intend to use it to tell you about what's going on at the library, books and films I've enjoyed, and about my experiences as I explore technology that's new to me and maybe a bit outside my comfort zone.

Feel free to comment--otherwise I won't know if anyone is reading this.

December 10, 2007

As 2007 comes to an end, the library's strategic planning process is building momentum. Last week Kim Bolan, youth services and technology consultant, spent two days with various staff members. Kim will return in January for more interviews. This week PROVIDENCE Associates will be in town to conduct a number of public focus groups as well as interviews with key city officials.

This is a busy time of year, and for those unable to attend a focus group, we're offering both an online survey from our website, and a paper version available at either the Main Library or the Evergreen Branch. We really do want your input, so we hope you'll either attend a focus group or take a few minutes to complete a survey.

Watch this blog for more information on our planning process, and additional opportunities for public input.