September 18th, 2007 Brian Herzog
Sparked by a discussion in the ning Library 2.0 forum, I recently revamped my Library's 404 error webpage (what displays when the webpage someone is looking for is not found).
Until earlier this year, we just had the standard "404 error: file not found" page, which is common and boring. I had made it a little more interesting just by adding our logo and some helpful information. But Darlene's call for injecting humor and casualness in this situation got me to rethink it, and I came up with our current page.
Libraries are always fighting the traditional stuffy stereotype, and little things like this can make the patron experience more interesting and memorable. Also, it really was fairly easy to do, and I think in this case, a little effort goes a long way (of course, ideally, this page would never be seen).
But let your 404 page be seen - Darlene also started a flickr Library 404 Page group, so please add your screenshots. Also, some live, non-library examples are available at sendcoffe.com.
And before anyone asks: I didn't put too much thought into the books in the photo. This is just the shelf closest to the Reference Desk. But really, I think these titles lend themselves pretty well to the process of discovery of something missing - plus, this is the "self-help" section.
404, 404 error, chelmsford, chelmsford library, error page, librarian, librarians, libraries, library, public libraries, public library, web page, website
Tags: 404, 404 error, chelmsford, chelmsford library, error page, librarian, librarians, libraries, Library, public libraries, public library, web page, website
September 13th, 2007 Brian Herzog
I recently received this announcement in email. Free to public libraries, this is a Federally-produced citizen toolkit, geared to immigrants working towards American citizenship.
September 12, 2007
To: Public Libraries serving New Immigrants/Newcomer Populations
The Task Force on New Americans, a federal interagency effort to help immigrants learn English has developed The Civics and Citizenship Toolkit. This free toolkit is designed to serve as a self-study resource for immigrants but can also be useful for librarians and adult educators in a classroom or community literacy setting. Included in the kit are guides in English and Spanish, Welcome to the United States, that contain a wide range of practical information as well as basic civics information introducing newcomers to the U.S. system of government. Also included are Civics Flash cards for individual study or instructional use and Learn about the United States: Quick Civics lessons. In addition, the kit includes a Citizen's Almanac and Pocket size Declaration of Independence, copy of the U.S. Constitution and a DVD covering an introduction to U.S. History and Civics.
Interested? Please go to http://www.citizenshiptoolkit.gov/ and register for a FREE copy of the Civics and Citizenship Toolkit.
- Registration limited to PUBLIC LIBRARIES ONLY.
- Please DO NOT REGISTER IF YOUR LIBRARY IS PART OF THE FEDERAL DEPOSITORY LIBRARY PROGRAM (FDLP)*. Registration is subject to review to ensure eligibility.
- If eligible, registrants will receive a copy of the Toolkit on a first come, first served basis.
- Resources are limited. Registrants will receive one Toolkit at no charge.
- Registration for the toolkit is now open and will be available while supplies last.
The Toolkit is a joint effort of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the U.S. Government Printing Office.
All questions about the toolkit should be directed to the federal office at the above website.
citizenship, government, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, librarian, librarians, libraries, library, public libraries, public library, resource
Tags: citizenship, government, immigrant, immigrants, immigration, librarian, librarians, libraries, Library, public libraries, public library, resource
September 6th, 2007 Brian Herzog
Earlier this week, the Online Educational Database released its rankings for the top 25 librarian bloggers. Although I am tops with some people, I am not tops with them. Sigh.
But don't despair; I have a theory. As I was looking down the list, I noticed something: they all have a cool, easy-to-use name. librarian.net. LibrarianInBlack. The Travelin' Librarian. See? Compared to them, "herzogbr.net blog : A Hitchhiker's Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk" is a bit cumbersome.
PageRank? Subscribers? Pshaw. I'm convinced that if I just had a catchier name for this blog, I would be much more popular.
I had actually thought about the whole name thing a few months ago, and came up with a couple options. But a friend of mine recommended against adopting one. The logic was this: it might be counter-productive to rename an already established entity, because that would be confusing and erode whatever name recognition already existed. Which makes sense.
But now, not making the top 25-tier, well, that's just the clincher. I've decided I am going to start using a new name - and redesign the entire website, as well (which I've been meaning to do for awhile, anyway). My goal is to design solely with style sheets, and use WordPress as a CMS, to finally move away from my oh-so-'90s static html pages with table-based layout. It'll take a little while, but I'll keep posting my progress.
That being said, I would like to get back to the list of top 25 librarian bloggers. First of all, congratulations to everyone on the list. Thank you for contributing to the overall library world - even Annoyed. Well... maybe.
I was also curious how my blog fared based on the metrics the OEDb used. As near as I can tell, here's where I stand in each category:
So, with an overall score of 15, I'm really not that far out of the running - #24 and #25 both scored 17. Of course, as Jessamyn (a.k.a. #1) points out, the methodology of this study is somewhat questionable, so who knows.
Besides, there's always next year.
blog, blogs, librarian, librarians, libraries, library, online education database, rankings, top 25 librarian bloggers
December 8th, 2006 Brian Herzog
So, I was checking my visitor log on StatCounter [click image], and saw that someone from Nottingham, England, visited my blog. Of course, this had to be Robin Hood, checking out what's happening in the library world of Chelmsford, USA (maybe he thought I was in the other Chelmsford). Perhaps he was gathering ideas to try out in his local library.
But you know, the more I think about it, Robin Hood would have made an excellent librarian. Just like him, today's libraries take from the rich (and middle class, in the form of taxes) and give to the poor (and middle class, in the form of resources and services to which they might not otherwise have access), despite the best efforts of the oppressive and overreaching Sheriff and Prince (in the form of the USA PATRIOT Act).
The bow and arrow might come in handy at the reference desk, but I don't think I could pull off the tights.
chelmesford, librarians, nottingham, robin hood, statcounter, visitor log
November 18th, 2006 Brian Herzog
Instead of a reference question this weekend, here's another quote from a book I'm reading - Fruit, by Brian Francis. It's a novel about an eighth grade boy, Peter, who, uncomfortable with his body (and his talking nipples), takes a job in his school's library so he doesn't have to go out and play with the other kids at recess. His rational for this is:
The truth is, I'd rather be in the boring old library putting books away and making ditto copies for the teachers than outside with everyone else. It's safer.
So, I wonder how many people working in libraries today are there for this exact same reason.
And speaking of how librarians think, here's another quote from the book. This one comes after an argument Peter has with his nipples, over whose fault it is that they are abnormally large:
I got out the masking tape and shut them up. I was so angry at my evil nipples. Who did they think they were, anyway?
Who among us at the reference desk hasn't thought that before?