Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Gig's Up: Librarians Really Just Want Patrons to READ more.

At this point in history,  it's fair to say that not everyone is born a reader.  A while ago ALA graphic store had a cute little onesie that said "Born to Read" .  It was cute but not accurate.  It's what we all want to believe as librarians and educators.  In all honesty,  some need to be taught and shown that reading is essential and fun.  Especially since the younger generation is constantly bombarded with all types of electrical gadgets and toys to grab their attention.

How do we get child who does not have the DNA stamped reader in him?  Give him or her  books.  Doesn't make sense to do this right?  Wrong.  It's the attitude of keep trying until the right book is found to engage their minds. Despite what certain educational sources claim about  studies  that prove  video games can teach valuable skill, such as strategy or critical thinking, there is a deep concern about what is lost when children are ensnared into the video game world.  Quite simply the ability to communicate and express oneself is lost.     When it comes time to interact with a live person, the communication and social skills, these children demonstrate their awkwardness.   It really is easy to identify a child who reads regularly and the one who is the "gammer".   Reading helps strengthen the vital skills needed to interact with the real world.

As professionals who work with readers of all ages,  the main objective should be to encourage reading for any reason and for every season.    In the past couple of years there have been trends in library programming to offer gaming at the library.  Initially, this seemed like a great idea.  A chance to reach out to the gammers who would normally pass up the library without a second thought or glance. The theory was once the gammers came in, they would check out video games and perhaps glance over the books.    However,  as technology changed allowing better, faster and easier access to games through smart phones,  the need for programs aimed at gammers diminished.  Why go to the library to play a game when an entire network is available at a finger tip?   As a matter of fact, games can be played anywhere, anytime.  Can the library provide this?

The answer to that question is yes, it's possible to provide  24/7 access. At what cost?  It's not just the dollars we are speaking about.  It's the value of the library and it's services to the community.  If the mindset continues that there is no need to go into the library, the building disappears, the staff  go home and the patterns will find other places to sit and click.  After all the library has fallen into the trap of trying to make everyone happy and no one is thrilled about the library

Perhaps it's time to fess up and let the world know what libraries are really all about and not shy away behind the curtain wanting to be  everything for everyone.  Libraries are all about information.  Gathering, reading and absorbing information  to give meaning or usefulness in ones life.  Libraries are literary and should be proud of what the provide.  Why tangle in the mess of  video games,  cafe shops in libraries, and legos contests.?   It's time to go back to the basis and reach out to the community and invite them to enjoy a good book --- on us.  It's a small step to chaining a community and strengthening  communication skills.  What could be a more important roll for librarians?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

PSA -- Why Go to the Library This Summer?

This is just a friendly reminder, a PSA, if you will for those who believe they can live without a library this summer.  Frankly, that idea looks preposterous in type.  Must sound even more ridiculous if it were said out loud.  It goes without saying  that they will always be those who will argue until they are blue in the face that in fact they have lived without libraries and they are just fine thank you.   No matter what is said to them, they will not be convinced.  As  difficult as it is to show a non library person  that they are not truly alive until they go to a library, any library,  it shall not stop the mission for going forward to pursued at least one to come over to the library side.   

 Without further ado,  here are the top ten reasons why Everyone should go to the library this summer.

10.  Libraries Welcome Browsers.  No not the the Internet browsers.  (Librarians like them too) In a library you can browse through the stacks for hours to find the right book and never be given a look that says, "Are you going to buy that or not?"

9. Librarians Make Better Searchers.  It's not a brag or an exaggeration.  Librarians are better researcher even if the only way to search is using digital rescues.  If a patron can't find the information, who better to turn than the librarian,  the original Search Engine.

8.  You're Paying for It!   Your tax dollars are already supporting the library.  Might as well use up your portion of the resources.

7.  Libraries Have Great Spots for Quiet Reading.   If looking of that out of the way spot where it's just you and the book, the library has a wonderful quiet areas for the serious reader.

6. Where the Cook Kids Are   Don't let the youngsters fool you.  They don't wanna be a mall rat. No, they really want to go hang out with the cool kinds a the library.  Libraries are perfect places to meet up with friends.

5. The Best Used Book Sale Around  Most libraries will accept gently used books as donations. these books later fill up the used sale book racks where bargain hunters can find a good book for about a buck or two.  Can't beat that price even at a second hand bookstore!

4 Got Kindle?  Got Nook?  Librareis have ebooks... really!  The argument that libraries are for the old folks who can't let go of print is so off based.  Libraries have gone digital just like the entire  population.  Just ask a librarian how to get hooked up and download to your heart's content.

3 When You're Spotted At the Library Everyone thinks You're Smart!  Wasn't it always said that only the brainy guys in college went to the library? Going to the library instantly gets a person labeled as Book Smart.  Now who couldn't use looking a little more intelligent once in a while?

2. Great Place for Family Day Out  It's raining.  It's Saturday.  The kids are bored.  What better place to find adventures than at the local library!   There are so many things to check out.  When was the last time the family whipped out a board game?  Don't have one?  Well go to the library they may have one that's just right for your family.

SUMMER READING PROGRAMS!  This is by far the best reason to go to the library in the summer!  Libraries have summer reading programs for every reader, toddlers,  preschoolers,  kids, teens and even adults.  It's a wonderful way to remind everyone to slow down, enjoy summer and pick up a great book!

Convinced yet?  Not to worry.  This process of luring people back to the library is far from over.  Give it time.  After all there the entire summer to convince non-library people to discover what they have been missing.  Come to think of it, there's the Fall as well!