Tuesday, January 19, 2010

How the Referece Survey Should Be Tallied

Yes the LibCamp NYC 2009 unconference was a long time ago. What always strikes me is what I'm still talking about a year later. People are generally too cryptic in their immediate tweets (even though I presented about Twitter) and I don't like to mess up my Twitter account with too much non-personal stuff.

Yes, I'm one of those Twitterers who thinks it should NOT be used for personal branding. In fact, people who believe in marketing themselves sorta fall in the same likeability as evangelists and QVC hosts in my book. I'm very very suspicious of you, because I see your motivation.

However, what I wanted to talk about was an idea that was buzzing in my head since the unconference session "How Should We Handle the Dinosaur Known as the Reference Desk?" The answer by the way, was give more options to university students because they don't like it, but public library patrons freak out and still depend on it so don't rush to take it away.

Someone (stranger in the audience, if you ever stumble across my blog I will give you full credit) brought up their super smart library doesn't just tally the number of reference questions and call it a reference survey, but actually breaks it down by type:





Wow! Four columns (or boxes, or whatever you use for your reference survey) and you learn SOOOO much. Like how bad your signage is, what time of day you might want to offer computer classes, and if your patrons understand your borrowing policies.

On a whole I'm pretty disgusted with library statistics. I think the way funding is tied into statistics makes us focus on all the wrong things (ie number of books checked out versus having the right books for the right reader) and competition between branches and library systems (instead of focusing on local needs). Taking more complete statistics would also help with correctly staffing the building. Right now I'm in the dark as to what the use of a "one mark for every reference question" is except apparently for funding and to write articles about the rise and fall of reference.

Folks, it's not about the fun of being a reference librarian. Or the frustration. It's about the patrons. Why do so many libraries neglect to take this opportunity to get some useful data?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Overdrive for Droid

The Librarian in Black got all excited that the Ovedrive software is available for Droid. In beta, so you have to go into settings and allow it download apps not available in the app marketplace. Well, I played with it for a few minutes and gave up. You still need to instal software onto you computer and THEN transfer your audio book to your Droid. Boo. I wanted to just download audiobooks when I felt like it directly to my phone. Like you can with music! See, it's not that hard of a concept. So la la la, no listening to audiobooks for me until they figure this out. I'm not going back to the old annoying thing trying to put audio books in with my mp3s because even though i know there is a tagging solution, it always just got mixed up when i wanted to listen to things on shuffle.