Whether formal or informal, planned or unplanned, most libraries offer some variety of patron training. Call it what you may, when a librarian bends over a public computer and offers help to a puzzled patron, that’s training, too.
“Yeah, we have wireless at our library…but we don’t tell anyone about it!” When I began looking at wireless for my library, I heard this more than once from other libraries. I found this very odd. If you had a new storytime format or some new DVDs, would you keep them a secret? What is it about wireless, or wi-fi, that has some libraries so scared? Is it that the technology is so new and/or difficult? Well, we’ve been providing some sort of Internet access at most libraries for some years now and technically wireless is simply another way to provide that access.
I'm happy to announce that Louise Alcorn, Reference Technology Librarian at the West Des Moines (IA) Public Library and author of Wireless Networking: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians (Neal-Schuman, 2006) has graciously offered to share her know-how on this blog!
Early in our trip, I was amazed by the technology the three of us brought on the road. We were a veritable computer and video production lab on wheels. I even took a photo to prove it.
She peered over at me, eyebrow raised, and asked, "how old are you?"
Unprepared to answer such a personal question, I stumbled and paused, mouth opened.
Yesterday we visited two libraries in two sweet towns and topped it off with the fundraiser for the Humboldt County Library. Today is much the same--we're traveling to Mendocino county to visit two libraries, and then we head back to San Francisco. The phone just woke us all up before our alarm, and I tumbled around, trying to find a way to make it stop. It was the front desk at our hotel, telling us the bookmobile was about to be towed, due to the farmer's market setting up in the square. What a rude awakening, and what kind of person would tow a bookmobile???
As Brewster Kahle cautioned, practice, practice, and more practice is required to perfect the setup, the bookmaking, and the break down of the bookmobile. He spoke the truth, and as we embark upon our last days of the tour, I thought I'd list some of the hard lessons of the road. :)
As I mentioned earlier, we've established a ritual of visiting each library before showing up in the bookmobile. As a trio of librarians and library users, we like to check out public libraries whether we're on a bookmobile or on vacation.
So when we set up shop at the Humboldt County Library just a few minutes ago, we expected we'd maintain our incognito status. This time, we were wrong.
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