the right question

I’m teaching the reference course in the local LTA program this quarter. In our discussion today a student said that she was surprised about some of the questions that reference librarians receive, and asked if many patrons are too demanding. I mentioned that different libraries have different policies which indicate how far a librarian is to go in answering a question, etc… and that I probably would have answered the particular question in question.

It was later that I thought of something else I might have mentioned. It really isn’t the question of what information we’re giving patrons that should be concerning us, but rather how we are giving it to them. Obviously we need to be providing them with quality information, but if we’re not giving it to them in formats they want, or will be wanting, they might forget about us.

blowing their minds

“Keeping your Computer Clean” was the title of a class I held at the library tonight. Interestingly enough, many of my patrons came even though they thought their computers were doing “okay.” However, I made sure they left with the fear of God put into them. While I didn’t feel comfortable making a direct recommendation about any tools, I did show them what I use at the library for the staff computers.

I run these computers through a gauntlet of Spybot, SpySweeper, and AdAware. Pretty typical for computer types, but only one of them had heard of any of these. I also mentioned ZoneAlarm,, and the security check on Symantec’s site. Also I made sure they knew how to clear out the cookies and cache from their browsers.

If you’re in the position, hold such a class. Their heads were spinning, but they loved it.