Wednesday, November 3, 2010

November 3rd - Day Eleven

Practicum Day 11
site: City Center

hours worked: 4
hours to date: 67

The City center gets a large number of school visitors every year as they are the largest of the 17 in Auckland, have the largest collections and the most special collections, including the rare books in the Sir George Grey room. Sir George Grey gave the founding donation of early Maori and English documents that are second only to what is collected at the national library in Wellington. This was just part of what I learned in preparation for the school visit of 130 students that are coming to the library tomorrow. I was priviledged to be included on a crack team of school visit specialists (Daniel, Erika and Ben) who would handle the throng. We met to discuss strategy today and came up with a variety of experiences that would encourage eight to ten year-olds to have a positive library experience, and hopefully return often. More on this tomorrow.

Because the fee for borrowing books from other councils was eliminated with the merger that took place on Monday, the number of holds placed has skyrocketed. The number of books returned and just the sheer number of visitors has also increased dramatically this week. It seems as though patrons are responding very positively to the change. Allison Dobbie, head of the now 55 branch system gave an initial positive report in this article. Of course, in order to make these things work, someone has to actually find all of the books and shelve all of the books that are being returned. So to deal with the increase, many staff members from different departments in the City Center came down to circulation to help with checking books in, shelving them and finding books to fill holds. It didn't take anyone more time than they had to spare, usually a hour or half-hour, and I think this pitching in really made a difference for everyone.

Lastly today I met with Gerard (Learning Services guru) about the "Book a Librarian" program that I've been mentioning. I really like this service because it is an example of providing professional expertise in a customizable format that really serves patrons when and how the want they are looking for help. Basically the program allows patrons to make a 30 minute appointment with a librarian to get one-on-one help with whatever they might need. Book a Librarian exists to "teach a man to fish", complimenting the "giving a man a fish" service that most patrons need and recieve day to day. Topics predominantly reflect the public computer class topics such as learning software, signing up for email, writing a resume, or navigating trademe (which is like craigslist). Sometimes a patron will want to learn how to do online searching or how to use a particular database. These more in depth questions are perfect for the service. Really in depth research, like geneaology or microfilm scanning, are refered up to the Auckland Research Centre.

in the staff room
hot chocolates today: just 1
hot chocolates to date: 15

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