Archive for June, 2006

More about marketing

Saturday, June 24th, 2006

Friday’s Library Link of the Day was a great article about marketing our electronic products.  The author points out that most people continue to associate libraries with books and tend to use search engines and free websites to find information.  She also mentions several surveys and studies (of which I still need to read myself).  One of these, the Pew Internet & American Life Project study, echoes the Long Overdue study results that show a majority of people feel that the information they find on their own is just as reliable as the information found through the library.

It’s an interesting article that brings to light some of the marketing issues libraries are up against in connecting their patrons with their electronic resources.

[The link the author provided to the Pew study, PIP_College_Report.pdf, is broken.  I've briefly looked through the site, but I haven't been able to find the report.  If anyone has the working link, can you leave it in the comments?  In the meantime, once I'm able to find it, I'll post it.]

Dewey Donation System

Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

Want to help one of the libraries devastated last year by Hurricane Katrina?  A friend just told me about the Dewey Donation System.  In addition to monetary donations, the site includes links to the each librarys’ wish list so that you can be sure your donation is an item that is both wanted and needed.

“Long Overdue” study

Monday, June 19th, 2006

I finally had the chance to read the Long Overdue study that recently came out.  Prior to reading the report, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical.  I don’t tend to trust surveys and research studies, because I believe that statistics can be skewed to say what the authors of the survey or study want them to say.  A good example of this was an obesity study conducted a while back.  The results released from this study claimed that girls who regularly ate breakfast, particularly cereal, were slimmer than those who skipped breakfast.  Although breakfast might help in preventing obesity, I have a difficult time putting a lot of faith into this study, because it was partly funded by General Mills.  Therefore, when I saw that the Long Overdue study was supported by the Americans for Libraries Council, I wasn’t too surprised that the report would put libraries in a positive light.  Please know that I want libraries to be reported in a positive light, and I truly believe that the public finds libraries as beneficial to the community, so it wouldn’t surprise me to hear positive results.  But I simply couldn’t help being a bit skeptical.  I was pleasantly surprised, however, that the report included both strengths and weaknesses that came out of the survey.

Here are some of the highlights I found interesting:

- One recurring theme I found throughout the report is that libraries need to do a better job of marketing themselves.  More on this throughout the highlights.

- The survey found that the libraries biggest supporters, or “community soldiers,” aren’t aware of the financial difficulties that libraries are facing.  This is one of the potential marketing needs.  It doesn’t help to have supporters if they don’t know the library actually needs their support.

- A low percentage gave libraries an ”A” on online access to catalogs and databases.  Once again, this seems like a marketing issue, because I’m sure that the majority of libraries (at least the larger branches) have at least online catalogs in this day and age.

- A low percentage gave an “A” for teen programs.  My assumption on this area is that this is also a marketing issue, but I can only base this assumption on my local public libraries, which I know provide various teen programs.

- One result that doesn’t come as a surprise is that the majority of those surveyed believe free services should be a priority.  However, only half support tax increases to cover costs involved in continuing operation.  A good real life example of this is near me.  The City of Mesa voted against establishing property taxes, even though the result was a cut in public services including libraries and parks.

- “When libraries are well-funded, they are perceived to be running well.” Ok, I just couldn’t resist including this quote.

The following statistics aren’t dealt with in the written report, but I think they deserve some consideration:

- 65% of all those surveyed have never visited the Internet site of a public library.

- 65% also think that having a cafe inside the library is a low priority.

- 60% think that the information they find by themselves on the Internet is more reliable or just as reliable as the information a reference librarian directs them to

- Almost all of those surveyed find it easy to find their way around the library.  This one amazes me, because I have difficulty finding my way around most libraries.



Monday, June 12th, 2006

For those who might want some more information on the Deleting Online Predators Act, which would prevent schools and libraries from providing access to social networking sites…

The text of the proposed bill, HR 5319.

ALA’s reaction.

An interview with Henry Jenkins and Danah Boyd.

An LA Times article on the reality behind restricting access.

Keep in mind that these few links barely scratch the surface of what’s available on this topic.  But it’s a good start in understanding the issues involved.

Thoughts on 2.0

Sunday, June 11th, 2006

I have spent the better part of two weeks attempting to come up with an eloquent essay on the 2.0 technology privacy concerns and Congress’ attempt at preventing students from using most of these 2.0 technologies.  Yet, as I sit here trying to write, I haven’t a single eloquent sentence.  Instead, I have a jumbled mess of thoughts on how social networking software can be used for good, not just evil. 

How I agree with one blogger’s metaphor of throwing out the baby, bathwater, and bathtub as a way to describe the legislation’s attempt to avoid the potential evil by also doing away with all of the good.  (And how frustrated I am that I didn’t copy the trackback url or note which specific blogger this was at the time I read it so that I can’t give said blogger credit.  Edited to add: I finally found the post!) 

How I applauded Karen’s manifesto.  In it, she states “If you block a tool the users want, users will go elsewhere to find it.” and I wish I could make Congress realize this.

How blocking the use of these technologies in the schools and libraries will create yet another digital divide between the “haves” and “have nots.”

How I feel that while Library 2.0 technology is a nice idea, I don’t think it’s a realistic path in this day and age of the PATRIOT ACT.

How Web 2.0 technology can be greatly utilized in the library, especially in outreach with the community.

How Web 2.0 is creating an information overload that is preventing me from writing an eloquent essay, but is also providing me with the social network I need to to develop an informed opinion.

Sometimes you can’t have good without evil.