What you may not learn from a drive through town, you’ll soon understand when you spend an afternoon at the Orland Free Library in Orland, CA. Others may consider Orland a drive-by town, or a blip off the highway, but we’d call it a sweet town with a thriving library that sits literally and figuratively as the center of the community.
I love learning about libraries, and what I particularly enjoy is hearing about what librarians love about their library. I've asked each librarian to share their thoughts on this topic, and it was Sue's answer, from the Grass Valley branch of the Nevada County Library, that has remained in my mind.
Each day, I've used the public computers at the libraries we visit, and at the Madelyn Helling Library, when I attempted to plug in my MP3 player/flash drive, I experienced difficulties fitting it in to the Dell desktop computer's USB port (my computer was named Zeppo). The port was situated at an angle and designed for a smaller device. Try as I may, I couldn't make it work.
I’ve met so many superstars on this trip, and look forward to meeting more. At each library, I sometimes feel like a walking Cookbook: I share stories, I offer solutions I’ve heard from libraries, and I capture the triumphs and challenges each step of the way. Here’s a brief synopsis of just a few shining moments:
Open entering the Nevada County Public Library, the first thing I noticed were the names on the public computers--“Groucho,” “Gummo,” “Zeppo,” “Chico,” and “Harpo”-–a fun way for the patrons to select the public computer they want to use, and a great way for staff to keep track of patron usage. No numbers to remember, or tech-specific codes, just names that are memorable and offer a human aspect to a sometimes cold and distant technology.
Making books in the Internet Archive bookmobile not only draws a lot of curious patrons, staff, and passersby, it's also a lot of fun. So when I had a chance to bind our very own Cookbook, I jumped at the opportunity. Today, I invited Margaret Miles of the Plumas County Library to learn how the binding machine works using her personal copy of the Cookbook. Here she is, a veritable pro!
Today I spoke with librarians from the four branches of the Plumas County Library. Margaret Miles, the director of the library, invited me to speak at their all-staff meeting, and we shared a provocative conversation covering many topics, from lockdown software, to tracking public computer use, to low-fi PC reservation processes, to patron training.
When asked what has made a big difference in the world of public computers at his library, Eric Brooks of Placer County Library spoke of flash drives. Eliminating another responsibility at the reference desk, the pervasiveness of these powerful gadgets has made public computing a bit easier on the staff and the patrons. No purchasing of disks, and thanks to the recent upgrade, no crawling around on the floor--just pop it in on the USB drive, and you're good!
Today I spent an informative (and fun!) day at the Placer County Library in Auburn, CA. I met the entire staff, and spoke at length with the Director of Library Services, Mark Parker, and Eric Brooks, the sole tech person responsible for all 12 branches. (check out photos of our visit)