February 19th, 2015 Brian Herzog
My brother sent me this image, which I believe is from the Sandusky Register. The title of this post was his only comment, and the funny thing is that it was my first thought too:
Regardless, great job to the Sandusky Library for running this in the local paper (I presume it was them, anyway). Interesting and engaging, and anyone who reads the paper can't help but be reminded of the library.
February 14th, 2015 Brian Herzog
Sometimes I think my ability to be easily amused is what makes me enjoy my job so much.
This week a patron walked up to the desk - he was a middle-aged guy, and he walked somewhat quickly up to the desk. He had that focused-yet-distracted look that tells you he was intently thinking about something and wanted immediate and fast help. When he got within a few feet of the desk, he said,
What's it called when there's a term for a word that everyone knows? Like "standard penetration test" is called S.P.T.. There's a word for that.
Here's when though my head - simultaneously:
- I think he means "acronym"
- Except the example he gave is more of an abbreviation, and not actually an acronym
- It'd be kind of jerky to point that out to him
- I certainly wouldn't consider S.P.T. meaning "standard penetration test" to fall under the category of "something everyone knows"
- But perhaps it will after 50 Shades of Grey opens this weekend
- Man my job is funny
- I can't wait to post this on my blog
- Oh, the patron is still waiting for an answer
Of course all this happened in a split second, and when I said, "Do you mean 'acronym?'" the patron was pleased and relived, thanked me, and walked away. I never actually saw him again after that, but the whole situation still put me in a good mood.
By the way, my favorite acronyms are NASA and SCUBA. My most pet-peevily-misused acronym is PIN - as in, "PIN number." Ugh, that makes me cringe every time.
February 7th, 2015 Brian Herzog
A patron came up to the desk this week with a 3-1/2" disk, asking for a computer that can read it.
I had to stop and think - I was pretty sure we had a computer somewhere in the building that still had an a: drive, but wasn't positive. I told him I would walk around and check, but then we got into about a ten minute discussion about different storage options - USB flash drives, CD, DVD, SD cards, etc. He seemed really interested in the pros and cons of each, so I told him as much as I knew. He just wanted to store and carry regular files, as far as I could tell, so I was surprised when he decided by the end of the conversation that a micro SD card was his best option. I mean, I'm sure it would work, but I don't associate those and all with handy access to your resume and stuff. Huh.
Anyway, eventually I went on my quest for a computer with a 3-1/2" drive. I looked everywhere, checking every PC in the building - even digging through old donated laptops - but I couldn't find an a: drive anywhere. Nor could I find an external drive that I thought we purchased just for this situation (although I did find some external CD drives).
I felt bad that I let the patron down, but even worse that it was at that moment that I realized that this format really is dead - at least, it's dead to my library.
February 5th, 2015 Brian Herzog
I saw a post on LISNews today about a new Measure the Future initiative to build hardware sensors to better track how people use libraries. They say,
Imagine having a Google-Analytics-style dashboard for your library building: number of visits, what patrons browsed, what parts of the library were busy during which parts of the day, and more. Measure the Future is going to make that happen by using simple and inexpensive sensors that can collect data about building usage that is now invisible. Making these invisible occurrences explicit will allow librarians to make strategic decisions that create more efficient and effective experiences for their patrons.
On the one hand, I love this idea, because actual data can reveal amazing things. However at the same time, the idea of sensors all over the building tracking patrons sets off my privacy alarms. I'm sure it'll all be anonymous data, but Big Brother (even when it's Big Library) will still be in the back of my mind.
I didn't see too much technical detail on what the sensors will look like or how they will be integrated in libraries. But I think this is a great idea, and am looking forward to seeing their progress.
Tags: activity, building, data, libraries, Library, measure the future, patron, public, sensors, track, tracking, usage
January 31st, 2015 Brian Herzog
I'm sure everyone is sick of hearing about New England snow storms by now (I certainly am), but by far the most common question I heard this week was, "Brian, how much snow did you get at your house?"
Well, this is how much:
Which is to say, more than a lot, but I stopped counting. Granted, this is next to my driveway so some of it is piled up from shoveling, but still a lot. And more coming this weekend.
And for the fun of it, I tried to make the yardstick as close to actual size as I could:
So, if you'd like to get the full Brian's Driveway Experience, just print out that image and hold it up next to you. Or, I am accepting volunteers to help come shovel after the next storm.
Tags: 2015, blizzard, january, libraries, Library, new england, public, Reference Question, shoveling, snow, yardstick
January 29th, 2015 Brian Herzog
It's not, actually, but perhaps it should be. We had a plumber in the library today fixing one of our men's restrooms. In the course of his repair work, he had to go into the drop-ceiling in the bathroom, and this is what he found:
I've heard of library bathroom ceilings being used as dead-drops for drug deals - which at least has a logical utility - but I don't understand why these books would have ended up in the bathroom ceiling.
They all seem like old travel books, had been part of our branch library's collection, and have all been withdrawn and deleted. Not just lost and deleted, but actually stamped by staff as withdrawn.
I have no idea how they went from deleted from the branch to above the men's room of the main library. Plus, it's a ten foot ceiling too, so it's not like it'd be an easy place to store reading material.
So, if you get a chance today, pop your head up into the bathroom ceiling - who knows what interesting things you may find (I for one can't wait to check the rest of our bathrooms).