Archive for April, 2011

If you’ve ever received an overdue notice on your library materials, then you know how they usually read. At best, they are dry and institutional. At worst, depending on how long you’ve had those materials, they become more bellicose and eventually threaten legal action.  I’ve been a librarian for over twenty years now and no one to my knowledge has ever admitted to composing the language that’s used in these notices. They are written that way because, well, that’s the way it’s always been.

After the patrons complained about the unfriendly tone of their overdue notices, the good folks at Kotzebue Public Library, in collaboration with my friend and colleague, Lisa S., came up with an innovative way to solve the problem. Kotzebue, if you don’t know, is a small community on a spit of land in Northwestern Alaska.

Below, reprinted with their permission, is the text of the overdue notices the patrons in Kotzebue now receive:

Daily Due Date Reminder (sent out via email only)
We thought you might need a friendly reminder that your library books and/or dvds are due back in the library in 3 days. If you need to keep your stuff a little longer call us at xxx-xxxx.  Thanks.  :0)

1st Overdue Notice
Hey, we’ve noticed that you have overdue library books and/or dvds. How about returning them so you can get new ones and others can look at yours? Or call us at xxx-xxxx to keep your things for a little longer.

2nd Overdue Notice
Okay, so this is your second notice reminding you to bring your library books and/or dvds back to the library. It’d be awesome if you’d return those things now. You’ll get a little something if you do. See you soon? Great!

3rd Overdue Notice
Now you’ve really done it. This is your third notice reminding you to bring your REALLY overdue stuff back. How about it! Step up to the plate and do the right thing. People want to look at that stuff you’re hogging.

Patrons liked the new notices which have been a big hit. Thanks for Lisa S. and Stacey G. for sharing this story with me. Any time you can make patrons laugh about their overdue notices, you are building goodwill for your library. And that’s what it’s really all about in the end.


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The scene: a rec room on upper campus. Myself and about twenty of my fellow wage slaves and I are halfway through day one of campus emergency responder training. The trainer has sent us to separate corners of this large common area in order to practice talking on our Motorola walkie-talkies. John, a witty and cynical electrician, is talking to one of our number who is concealed in the supply closet.

John: Team X, this is Team Y. Are you still in the closet?

Mass hilarity ensues.

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I ran across some fun links that I just had to share with y’all.
First, Linda Holmes , who writes for NPR’s pop culture blog, Monkey See, posted this about her recent visit to her local library. Full disclosure: I had zero idea it was National Library Week and I’m a librarian. But that’s another story. For the record, depending on your library system and the depth of its budget cuts, your library may deliver requested library materials to a location near you, either by courier service or by one of its outreach services. Also, many libraries do a lot of business by phone and over the web so call or e-mail them if you don’t like visiting in person. However, if you haven’t made a visit recently, think about dropping by. You may be surprised by what the library is carrying in the way of loanable materials. At Hobbiton Public library, for example, you can find video games for checkout as well as downloadable audio books and books on CD, a HUGE selection of DVDs and graphic novels as well as lots of other cool stuff.

Did you know that the triceratops, that three-horned plant-eating dinosaur and frequent T. Rex sparring partner, is now considered to be the juvenile  version of the torosaurus? No, me neither. In fact, my reaction was pretty much as author Robert Krulwich describes here:

“Triceratops lovers were not happy. We all know cute teenagers who become less cute adults. But, hey, this was an iconic dinosaur. It’s like discovering that Elizabeth Taylor was a youngish phase of a creature on her way to becoming Bette Davis. No, no, no and NOOOOO!, people cried. We want the thing we know as Triceratops to stay a Triceratops!

And hear, hear say I. Hey, this isn’t Science Friday, it’s Unwillingness to Look Facts in the Face Thursday and I’m a-sticking to it.

Finally, another post by Linda Holmes, entitled “Poem in Your Pocket” (yeah, I know) in which she asks readers to post their favorite poems. Here’s the YouTube video of  a performance poem by Lauren Zuniga called “Girl: Exploded” which speaks to me about the constant pressure placed on women to rein in our frustrations even as we are loaded up with expectations:

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