Saturday, February 04, 2006

Loud and Proud about Libraries

Sometimes I have the pleasant duty of addressing a local club or organisation as their "guest speaker" which gives me free rein to shamelessly promote any aspect of library service I happen to be enthusiastic about at the time. I tend to speak to the local Probus Club once a year - Probus stands for "Professional/Business" and they're an offshoot of the Rotary Club, only for their older, less active (all male) members who are no longer involved with the fund raising aspects of Rotary but want to continue to meet socially. Since I saw them last year and talked about what our new library might look like, I had to pick a different topic - so I thought I'd regale them with the wonders of podcasting and blogs and loosely discuss how that might impact on our library services, and indeed on our society, in the future. I also introduced them to the concept of our new youth space/youth library - it's really important to get the support of influential citizens and keep a positive buzz going about new services, even if they'll never be direct users (their grandchildren might be, though). Of course, many of the attendees are already computer savvy and an interesting debate about the power of the Internet to influence politics (broadcasting vs narrowcasting) developed. It was lovely talking to these older men (some of quite advanced years - I would guess average age around 70-75). I'm pretty sure that for the majority this was the first time they'd heard of blogs, and they latched onto the idea pretty quickly - I'm sure the computer savvy ones will be trying it out. Ditto podcasting - when I mentioned that Radio Australia now podcasts a lot of its programs their ears pricked up, as I guess they would be typical of Radio Australia's intelligent listening audience.
The thanking spokesman jokingly suggested that the library run courses for old guys like him so that he could understand what the hell I was talking about, but regardless of that, he noted that I obviously "had a huge enthusiasm for your job." There's no higher compliment than that, is there?


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