Sunday, May 1, 2016

Library Closures hit Canada

An article from CTV News states that nearly half of all the public libraries in the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador will be closed. The provincial budget included a million dollars less for public libraries than in the previous year resulting in mass closures of branches.

So I will leave you with these two quotes to be used alternately:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.” 
― Joan Bauer

...unless you live in Newfoundland unfortunately.

OR

“Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.” 
― Walter Cronkite

And that is the real danger.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

You think data caps won't affect you?

Think again. This article from the website Techspot drives home the real issue with out current FCC / cable industry / Internet provider dynamic.

The data caps are punishing the group of people (of which I am one) called "cord cutters". These are folks who have left their cable TV subscriptions behind for a variety of reasons. There are two major reasons our family cancelled cable TV - cost and lack of use. By lack of use, I mean that we watched a handful of the channels to which we were subscribed and rarely viewed bundled-in channels on the various tiers we had to carry in order to see the few we wanted. That was tied directly to the cost factor. We could not justify $100 per month for the 4 or 5 channels we wanted.

So, we went our merry way with a data plan and Netflix and Hulu subscriptions. We could watch what we wanted when we wanted, so long as we could wait for our shows to appear on the service.

If you are streaming a lot of video though, you can easily hit lower-tier data package caps. I am convinced, as the article above states, that this is intentional with the aim to drive people back to cable TV packages.

What is needed is competition, cafeteria-style cable channel selection, and some governmental and regulatory backbone to make those things happen (in my humble opinion, of course).

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Hero-Librarian

No, I'm not talking about Noah Wylie and that sometimes entertaining but very silly  movie and TV series "The Librarian". I'm talking about a librarian in the real-life struggle of preserving cultural heritage and artifacts from the very real barbarians attacking countries all over north Africa and the Middle East.

Read about Abdel Kader Haidara, a Malian book-seller and librarian from the ancient African city of Timbuktu. This guy is an example of a regular person going about his life, finding himself in an extraordinarily bad situation, and choosing to do something about it. His actions undoubtedly saved an irreplaceable collection of work from the clutches of the barbarians that had invaded his city.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hard hat area!

Over the next few months, the Hutchinson Public Library (well, parts of it anyway) will be hard hat zones! Watch out for the construction - it starts in the East side or Main Street entrance THIS MONDAY - April 18th!

From Monday the 18th through early August, the Main Street entrance will be closed, so please use the West entrance that goes into the Children's Department.

We are embarking on a remodeling project that, when finished, will leave us with a new Main Street entrance, a new reading/lounge area, new children's restrooms, and a revitalized story time room. I for one am very excited. This is a step in the right direction toward becoming more welcoming and more modern-looking.

You see, we have a bit of an image problem at HPL. I rank us up there with the best of them in the areas of services and tools offered and certainly when comparing staff skills. But we don't necessarily look it.

I think our visible changes will help with the perception that we're the "same old library". We haven't been the library that you knew in the 1980's for, well, decades. Public libraries have been constantly adapting and changing to meet demand and HPL is no different.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A New Brand - A New Image!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity at the Hutchinson Public Library! We have been working for some time on a fresh new image for the library.

Every once in a while all organizations need to pause and take a look at HOW they look. What does a patron experience when she visits the organization's website? What does the app or apps look like? What does the physical space look like?

Hutchinson Public Library's image was what it has been for many, many, MANY years. It wasn't bad by any stretch, but it wasn't inspiring. It wasn't current. It didn't let people know what our amazing staff had to offer or what tools we had hidden.

So we went big with color, we set our sights high on what we want to say to our users. We want to be the place where patrons can explore an idea or a subject. We want to be the place where patrons can discover a solution, a new passion, or a new course in life. We want to be the place where patrons can connect with one another, with other entities in the community, and with ideas from around the world.

Our new face has a name - Seemore. He will help you (and us) see more of what's around locally and far away. I'm excited to with where the Hutchinson Public Library is going. You will be seeing more of our bright new colors and our smiling helpful nature in the weeks and months to come.

If you haven't visited us recently, stop by virtually or in person and we'll be glad to help you with that next great discovery!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A dream to leave behind

When I was in library school, I always thought it would be a great experience to work in a library in England. I suppose it will have to remain a thought exercise now. British public libraries have closed at an astonishing rate over the past few years. 343 libraries closed since 2010! Not only that, but in many more areas, paid staff are being replaced with volunteers, open hours are reduced, materials budgets slashed, and maintenance to facilities put off. The state of British public libraries is discussed in this Newsweek article and elsewhere as the true state of affairs is coming to light.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Eating at the library?

Of course. Everyone does it. Walk through the library on any given day and you will see patrons snacking on packaged things like a candy bar or peanut butter crackers. Often, library staff will have an event in their breakroom or a celebration, like our volunteer luncheon, in the auditorium. Food is part of the library. Heck, we even had a coffee bar in here for many years that served cookies, muffins, and sandwiches!

So why not take two of the typical functions of a library - book clubs and food and combine them? This article from the Columbus Dispatch talks about an Ohio library that has done just that. They have a cookbook club that taste-tests recipes from the library's cookbook collection!

What do you think?