So, since the last time I actually posted something here (and who reads it anyway?), I’ve gotten a new job! I am now the Children’s Services Supervisor at a branch of a large-ish, Metro DC-area system. Anyway, it’s great. I love it and feel like it was a solid move coming back to the town where I was a teacher for seven years.
So, we’re probably the second largest branch in the system here and pretty visible considering we’re smack in the center of a suburban, planned community area. Still, in the last couple of days I’ve spoken with more than a few patrons who are “first timers” at our branch. For one reason or another (some had moved into the area, others didn’t know we were here somehow), they are just making their way here for the first time.
My interactions with these patrons really got me thinking. At my last job, I worked at the largest main branch of a large-ish system. I was on the Children’s floor and we definitely went out of our way to be friendly and welcoming when we got new families in. However, we also got a lot of new people on a pretty regular basis. Here at this branch, that happens more rarely. So, when someone announces themselves as a new patron, we tend to be especially welcoming. Is that the fundamental difference between a busy, “urban” main branch and the more rural or “suburban” branches? I mean, of course it’s not the only difference, but it seems to me a very striking difference.
I guess I’d love to know if anyone else has experienced this difference in how new patrons are treated at larger branches vs. smaller/more suburban/more rural branches. What has been your experience?
“They were all in their early thirties. An age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.”
― Alice Munro, The Moons of Jupiter
Last week, the Kickstartered Veronica Mars movie came out in a limited theatrical release as well as being available simultaneously on Video On Demand. It may have slaked fans’ thirst for the escapades of a wisecracking, whip-smart female sleuth and her star-crossed lover(s?) for a little while, but they’ll be looking for more content in that vein before long.
Tumblarians, did you know that LJ media editor Stephanie Klose writes a monthly online RA column focusing all type of media (from books to online games) that embrace and reflect pop culture? You can check out her previous columns here: http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/…/pop-culture-advisory/
Great stuff for your patrons!
there’s a librarian code of conduct that we all learn about, but there should really be a patron code of conduct too, one that doesn’t police our visitors, but instead reinforces why we’re all here:
- you’re not “bothering us” by asking a question, i swear! i work here mostly to help you find what you need. it’s nice of you to be considerate though, and i’m sorry if others have made you feel less welcomed.
- it’s okay to ask questions more than once- in fact, it’s brave to approach a stranger for help at all, even if they’re sitting at a desk marked “information.” even we want to be able to find things ourselves all the time, but opening a dialogue is wonderful and we’re so glad when you do.
- you have the right to read whatever it is that you want to read, whether for school, personal enjoyment, enrichment, book clubs you didn’t mean to join, or mere curiosity. you don’t ever have to be embarrassed to ask for something you think we might deem “unacceptable,” and if any library employee makes you feel that way, they don’t belong there.
- when you compliment us on our service, or our collection, or our programs, or that comfy chair in the corner, it makes our hearts swell as big as a gutenberg bible.
in other words, thank you to those who visit the library, and all other library professionals who aim to make it a welcoming place. you make what we do meaningful, and we care more than you know.
Yes, yes, yes! I’ve worked in a school library since 2006 and have observed how rules emphasize the negative and squash curiosity and engagement. Students generally know what’s expected of them, so I post two rules, which are working great:
- Ask Questions
- Be Kind
I may add “Clean up after yourself” as a gentle reminder, though… =)
Ernest Hemingway (via foreveragoforemma)
I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. … Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading. Stop them reading what they enjoy or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like – the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian ‘improving’ literature – you’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and, worse, unpleasant.
Neil Gaiman on writing for children, echoing Maurice Sendak – a comment especially apt on the anniversary of E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, which received a great deal of criticism for presenting young readers with the “inappropriate” subject of death.
(Source: , via explore-blog)
Fast forward to a couple of months ago, when I stumbled upon Ronald Hamilton’s paper “The Silent Fire: ODAP and the Death of Christopher McCandless,” which Hamilton had posted on a Web site that publishes essays and papers about McCandless. Hamilton’s essay offered persuasive new evidence that the wild-potato plant is highly toxic in and of itself, contrary to the assurances of Thomas Clausen and every other expert who has ever weighed in on the subject. The toxic agent in Hedysarum alpinum turns out not to be an alkaloid but, rather, an amino acid, and according to Hamilton it was the chief cause of McCandless’s death. His theory validates my conviction that McCandless wasn’t as clueless and incompetent as his detractors have made him out to be.
Hamilton’s discovery that McCandless perished because he ate toxic seeds is unlikely to persuade many Alaskans to regard McCandless in a more sympathetic light, but it may prevent other backcountry foragers from accidentally poisoning themselves. Had McCandless’s guidebook to edible plants warned that Hedysarum alpinum seeds contain a neurotoxin that can cause paralysis, he probably would have walked out of the wild in late August with no more difficulty than when he walked into the wild in April, and would still be alive today. If that were the case, Chris McCandless would now be forty-five years old.
20 years after he wrote Into the Wild, the now-legendary tragedy-turned-movie of how 24-year-old Chris McCandless perished in the wilderness, Jon Krakauer revisits the facts of how McCandless actually died, thanks to a compelling example of citizen science and citizen journalism.