Saturday, September 24, 2005

Borrow a person

Great idea blogged on One New Thing - from Malmoe in Sweden via ABC News Online - the idea of "lending" out a person for a conversation. Sticking this one to the staff room notice board right away!

Thursday, September 22, 2005

To view or not to view - the legalities of DVDs and games in libraries

I have been putting off blogging for a little while because I haven't had a finished topic to blog about - you know, a well constructed and satisfying blog article about something significant with a clever conclusion. But as nearly everything I'm involved in at the moment is in a state of half-finishedness (which is pretty normal in a small public library situation), if I'm to keep up the momentum of this blog I'll just have to ramble.

Unresolved legal issues around the showing and lending of DVDs and console games are an example of the half-finished stuff hanging around at the moment. This is particularly in the context of the Youth Library where these resources will have a big emphasis. After combing the copyright law and interpretations re showing DVDs in the library, I emailed Roadshow who handle the distribution of about 80% of DVDs in Australia, and while their response was not exactly what we wanted to hear, at least it was definitive. Libraries (no matter how teeny as is the case with the Youth Library) are considered to be public places, and therefore even if you own the DVD and even if you are not charging for entry, you MUST seek prior approval via Roadshow before screening a DVD; and then if you do receive approval, you must remit to Roadshow the sum of $55 (including GST) for each screening. Looks like movie night might only be once a month!

This lead us to read the fine print re playing console games like Playstation and XBox in the library - this is an area not so well covered/understood in the library world so I emailed Sony direct to see what their response might be - a somewhat dangerous strategy as it now means I have drawn attention to our operations. Coincidentally our library supplier has sought legal advice re lending, and after chatting with him today, he will extend that to the legalities of playing games in the library. But so far no answer from Sony. I did try to impress on them in my email that we actually promote their product; and would they take into account the communtity benefit resulting in young people accessing their product in the wholesome environment of a public library? (implication: playing Sony games keeps kids off the street - surely a marketing gift showing what good corporate citizens they are?). Somehow I'm expecting a negative, legalistic response. So things are looking a bit grim for our brand spanking new huge $9,000 plasma screen which has pride of place in the Youth Library....

One little ray of hope to the potentially blank plasma screen dilemma has been the great response from our local pay TV provider Austar. Their deal is remarkably affordable - $200 installation and around $80 a month subscription to a good selection of youth oriented channels including 2 music channels (well 3 if you count the country music channel, which I don't), The Comedy Channel, and Nikelodeon. And no worries about screening in a public place. Voila, moving wallpaper for the Youth Library, ensuring a constant background of colour and noise.

Speaking of half-finished stuff, the Youth Library is due to open in early November and we still haven't advertised for staff yet...

Oh well, you can only deal with one thing at a time - pity you can worry about everything at once though!

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bucket O' Poetry

Bucketful of Poems Take a poem to celebrate National Poetry Week 2005!

It's National Poetry Week and we have a simple but effective promotion happening. Patrons are encouraged to select a poem from our "bucket of poems" in celebration of Poetry Week. We started today and have had a great reception! The idea sprang from the creative mind of one of our staff members who has more than a passing interest in poetry - she's an up and coming published poet herself! Thanks K for that fab idea.

Here's library borrower L and staff member P getting into the spirit. (Both gave me permission to put them on my blog).

The poetry bucket is a combination lucky dip/horoscope - the poem you pick at random may well be the universe giving you a special message. There were separate buckets for adults and kids. Unfortunately we started out by mixing them up (didn't read the instructions left by K adequately) but the adults didn't seem to mind.
Encouraging adults to participate without feeling silly takes a certain confident and positive attitude - like, "please take a poem to celebrate National Poetry Week!". Only one gentleman refused - said he'd had enough of poetry at school. Even so I asked him what poetry he had learned at school - and he reeled off all the classic names - Ancient Mariner, Keats, Wordsworth - without hesitation. Most were absolutely tickled pink with their poem. Great that we could make a perhaps mundane library visit a little bit special.
Those wanting to try the idea in their library be warned - many patrons were moved to read their poems right there and then (aloud! with feeling!) which caused lots of merriment for borrowers and staff at the circulation desk on the busy Saturday shift!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Every so often I have one of those 50 hours+ weeks and man am I knackered. But I am compelled to keep up my blog. It's become a matter of pride not to be a slacker.

Work proceeds nicely on the Youth Library, whose name can now be revealed - wait for it - "Verbyl". Yes I know it rhymes with "furball" or ''gerbil". However our panel of young people chose this out of 118 submissions . Close contenders were "Youth Lounge" and "Youth Booth" but Verbyl was just more "out there". Number one, anything mispelled is just cool. (This is the young people talking, not me). Number two, being verbal means being free to speak and be heard - also a nice counterpoint to the stereotype of libraries where silence is golden. And number three, verb "is a doing word" implying action and participation. The YL on the end is also a subliminal acronym for Youth Library. Trust me! We have hired a professional graphic artist to produce a logo for the space based on the name and the young people had a chance to meet with her today and discuss her rough drafts. We're thinking black or silver library membership cards with the lime green/orange logo.

Our E-Zine launch was more like a limp but not to worry hopefully things will look up. This is a very difficult demographic and rather than whipping ourselves for things that don't work we should be congratulating ourselves for giving it a go. Live and learn from our mistakes.