Posts Tagged librarian
For my interview with a reference librarian, I was actually fortunate enough to speak to two at the same time: Karl Wasmuth (children’s reference) and Sue Bond (general reference) of Hazard Branch.
One of the most interesting concepts I pulled from this talk, however, was not related to reference service at all. They had noticed a trend over the last 10 or so years that library patrons had become bookstore patrons (a pang of guilt here, for that neatly summarizes my own book acquirement habits). Most of their reference service also takes place through chat, email, and phone rather than walk-ins. Combined with the move toward providing audio books and e-books for download through library sites, it isn’t too difficult to imagine future libraries (at least some of them) as nothing more than websites to visit rather than physical centers, at least for the average patron.
I met with Barbara Giardina, the manager of the Betts branch public library. My most striking impression of the interview was how perfectly situated in her environment Ms. Giardina seemed. She had not originally planned on a library career (her earlier degrees were in biology and equine science) but she felt she was incorporating all her life’s experiences into the job. She stressed that there was no such thing as a typical day and life regularly intervenes in her work plans.
She was adamant, however, that a library is a “center of the community, not a community center”—rather, it is not an active force in programs but inviting for people to participate. This was, to me, an interestingly traditional stance, as more and more people don’t seem want to use libraries as a quiet place of books.
Curiously, she was very enthusiastic about e-books, since they cannot be stolen (something I hadn’t considered before, especially since I tend to focus on the related potential copyright “theft” for those things) and would not take up valuable physical space. So many people are too busy to come in and physically grab books, whereas a download service would be available at all hours. This is certainly true, but it seems a little at odds with her feelings on the role of libraries in the community– if libraries become online repositories of e-books, what else can the physical building become?