Sunday, October 17, 2010

October 18th - Day One

Practicum Day One - 10/18
site: City Centre Branch, orientation
hours worked: 7
hours to date: 7

It's finally October 18th, which means that I have finally started my practicum work! After such a long long period of looking forward to it, I get to find out that it is everything I was anticipating and more. I was met early this morning by my practicum superviser, Lin Kaiser, who manages the Community Outreach team. In short order I was introduced to a calvalcade of welcoming librarians and managers who work in various posts throughout the library, almost all of whom I will get the chance to work with over the next few months. This includes supervisors of children's services, information services, reader services, learning services, music collection, selection and acquisition, and more.

I've got a general sense of the library now. The City Centre branch was renovated about four years ago with an emphasis on being a community library. To do this, they made several dramatic changes. The ground floor is given to high interest and high traffic areas such as children and teen services, DVDs, a newszone with newspapers and a tv set to BBC or CNN, popular magazines, adult fiction, 20 minute express computers and a cafe. The second floor is more specialized: adult non-fiction, music, a small public meeting room, reservable computers, and section for citizen's information (renting, taxes, legal issues) including the New Zealand version of a notary public. The third floor has the local history and geneaology collections, special collections including some beautiful rare books, and special meeting room where Maori traditional rules are observed. One particularly interesting decision that was made during the renovation was to shelve the majority of the collection in the basement. This gives an enormous amount of floor and office space that is used quite well. Most of the available seats and much of the floor was full of students and patrons using the free wifi. The books in the basement are retreivable through a book delivery machine. Imagine Mr. Roger's trolley if it could go on walls and ceilings and deliver books to programmed stations. Librarians and assistants take scheduled turns in the basement finding books and sending them to the station that requests them. This service model reflects two modes of patron behavior: 1) community use is becoming a more important role for the library and 2)patrons who need information are often looking for a specific book rather than browsing. I'm not sure if this system inhibits the public, or librarians, from accessing books that they might if they were more casually available, but I am sure that this library is a very vibrant busy place.

I observed Wiggle and Rhyme time today. In conjunction with Auckland Sport, the Community Outreach team developed a program of 10-12 sessions that teach early literacy principles to parents of 0-2 year olds through music and movement. This program has been hugely successful, gaining at times a hundred active participants. I got to do the hokey pokey, which put today's attendance at 55. And get this! There are two machines in the staff room that dispense free hot chocolate!

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