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Christina's LIS Rant
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
  eVisioning Maryland Libraries: Customer Panel
Andrew Zolli
1:45-2:45
4 issues:
Demographics
Library experience
Participation/Authorship revolution
Evolving forms of literacy

Panel of library users
Michael Powell – Assistant Principal of Patuxent Elementary (PG County)
? – mother of a pre-schooler in Hyattsville (PG County)
Margaret Thresher – Private Citizen (former PGCMLS librarian)
Ken Ulmen – County Executive, Howard County
Hannah Gallagher – Heavy library user, home schooler

Questions:
What opportunities do you see for improving the libraries?
- mother – the only way she hears about things is through actually coming to the library, so there needs to be a better way to find out about things
- principal – story times and programs for children need to be scheduled such that working parents can take advantage of them
- citizen – need to still have print materials, she likes to actually touch and browse materials
- county executive – lack of parking! Space issue. More partnerships, more collaboration, more guest authors and book signings. Would like to see the libraries maintain/build position as cultural center. Libraries as places to hold events. Special section for cancer research – referrals from local doctors, health system.

Audience questions:
Libraries as spaces – we have trouble justifying costs, usually the thought is just to keep books dry – what would you recommend?
- in Howard County 60% of the local budget goes to the school system so the rest of the agencies get crumbs
- your users should lobby on your behalf
- have events and invite local officials to get visibility
- have people at open budget sessions as advocates for the system

To the principal – what would you like to see in your own school library media center
- line between what teachers teach and what librarians (or in his case paraprofessionals) teach
- system that would give more funding to the library to buy more materials
- books more in line with teaching requirements
- certified librarian (their principal has only chosen to hire a paraprofessional)

Problem of lack of communication between the public library and the schools
- he has teachers publish all of the materials the students need to their web page
- maybe blogs or other communications tools

Public-Private Partnerships (to county executive)
- have to have libraries who are willing to innovate and partner
- have to talk
- they have a librarian who’s assigned to each school so they can work together.

How do you interact with the electronic resources
- the mother – doesn’t really use them except to check when books are due but things they are important
- the home schooler –

Comment from Zolli: we’ve gotten better with transactional interactions and known item searching but we have problems with serendipitous finds

How can we reach your communities better?
- local town newsletter
- send out information to the schools
- more places to plug in laptops, quiet places to study, fun novels

Are libraries in the county planning process?
- he was on zoning board - we only test roads and schools for development approval, other counties take public safety into account, but they also need to take libraries and other things into account
- work with developers to put new public libraries within walking distance of new developments – win-win situation

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This is my blog on library and information science. I'm into Sci/Tech libraries, special libraries, personal information management, sci/tech scholarly comms.... My name is Christina Pikas and I'm a librarian in a physics, astronomy, math, computer science, and engineering library. I'm also a doctoral student at Maryland. Any opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or CLIS. You may reach me via e-mail at cpikas {at} gmail {dot} com.

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Christina Kirk Pikas

Laurel , Maryland , 20707 USA
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