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Friday, March 21, 2008

A great solution to cellphone use in libraries

Thank you Jenny Levine ... your blog is definitely a place I visit when I need a little inspiration and your post about DOK was no exception. I am especially crazy about this:

When you walk in the building for the first time, if your cellphone is discoverable via bluetooth, you’ll receive a text message from DOK, the Library Concept Center that says, “Welcome to the most modern library in the world,” a claim well-lived up to."

Be inspired read the entire post

(The photo is from her recent trip and shows teens at the Xbox kiosk- see the complete set!)

I recently heard a story that demonstrates a different approach often taken here in the states, see if it sounds familiar. Seems a librarian was at a seminar where the instructor made a comment that libraries weren't valuable because of the Internet. Needless to say, she was a bit unnerved and told him so in no uncertain terms after the workshop was over. Feeling almost avenged, she then proceeded to demand that he make some type of apology/correction to the class next time. Feeling much better for having defended the honor of libraries, she proceeded to share the story with others in the field who patted on her back and praised her for having such courage to speak up. The moral of the story: With courage and moxy can make people do the right thing- or something like that. (cringe, cringe)

Sadly we know that after that apology, chances are that he'll never go to a library, will never become advocate and may just become a lifelong critic.

Winning the battle and loosing the war... how many times do we do that in a day with our "No cell phone" signs instead of "Let's Text" signs or using the DOK approach. How many times do we embarrass, talk down, out debate, out knowledge, or downright demean people in order to make sure they know "we are right"?

It's subtle and maybe even ingrained in some to the point where they don't even know it. But it's so easy to spot- look for the person asking a question who gets quiet, acquiesces and walks away. Bingo... there tons of them everywhere- they're the ones that groan when they think of having to go to a library or will do anything to avoid having to speak to a librarian once they get there.

So back to the story of the avenged librarian. Imagine what might have happened if instead of demanding an apology she leveraged a fun challenge for him to visit to her library to let her show him what libraries are really all about and if he felt the same way after that visit she'd buy lunch. And have fun with the visit, hang up signs welcoming him, have staff wear goofy buttons ... go all out and have a blast. It isn't about getting him to change his mind, it's about building an new relationship. Now that's "New Lib Think".

1 comment:

Shirl said...

I don't think it's wise to assume that everyone with a cellphone also has/uses text messaging, and to automatically send out a text message once a phone is "bluetooth discovered." I don't have text messaging included with my wireless plan and it costs me money every time someone sends me one. I'd be pretty annoyed if I walked into a library and I had no control over this.