Posts Tagged ‘libraries’

We lost a big deal of the active patrons – women in their 40-50s. They have turned towards the eReaders and don´t come to the library anymore

One librarian, almost with the tears in her eyes

http://anakedlibrary.blogspot.com.es/2011/01/virtual-library-in-cloud.htmlMore and more we go virtual. Both – libraries and patrons. In HelMet libraries (Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland), for example, number of virtual visits is corresponding the physical: 8,1 million vs 8,4 million a year. Both types of visits are important and the customers in these groups represent totally different behavior and needs.

And here we have the same problem: our virtual resources are very well hidden from the patrons, aren´t they? You can´t efficiently market virtual services for the physical visitors, usually you also can´t get new virtual patrons through the physical contact. The language/medium is to be changed for building the successful communication. So the librarians turn virtual. (more…)


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We are sitting in our libraries and feeling important: we have so much to offer! There are, apart from the books, movies, music, computer courses, e-magazines, recommendation sessions, fairy-tale hours, 3-D printer workshops, sewing machines… Only that sometimes I have a feeling that only librarians know about it. But not those for who these are meant.

A chamber. A common library problem. Everywhere, almost.

I´ve already suggested once an experiment: go out from your library and ask 10 random different people where is the library. Don´t go too far. How many positive answers will you get? On my way today I´ve asked two: a gardener and an “office worker”. Both knew.

While living in Donostia – San Sebastian I´ve learned that you just have to know things. They are not visible. You don´t find (almost never!) a sign outside the building with the words “Library” (Biblioteca or Liburutegia on the local languages). You just suppose to know where it is. It is interesting, but it´s a part of culture here. It´s not only about the libraries. It´s not enough to know the languages here, you have to know the ways. (more…)

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Crisis, savings, economical efficiency, using the personal just like the resources… capitalism? pragmatism, cynicism? some-other-ism?

Everyone everywhere now and always have had the financial problems, bigger or smaller ones: it is very easy to say, that there is not enough of money, that is why things don´t really work like they suppose to. But anyways, is the question more in prioritizing and establishing the “correct” values?

The libraries are among those public services, which are among the first in the list to cut the financing (governmental or municipal – whatever). Budgets are being reduced almost everywhere, in every country, city and village. But then local bosses and politicians are to decide – from what part of the service to cut away.

One (extreme?) example: Koldo Mitxelena library, San Sebastian

Customer service: 16 workers in two shifts (8/8) + Saturday, outsourced

Easy assistant work (disabled persons): 6 workers in two shifts (3/3) + Saturday, outsourced

Reprography: 1 worker, outsourced

Security: 3 workers in two shifts + Saturday, outsourced

Cataloging: 4 workers, outsourced

Office work (administration, direction, cataloging, digitization, inter-library loans etc.): 6 workers, own personnel (more…)

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There are different models of cooperation and working as a one system. For instance, Helsinki Metropolitan Area Libraries – HelMet network – works as one organism, though it includes the city libraries of four different municipalities (Espoo, Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa) with own bosses and own budgets at each unit. There are challenges in coordinating and managing such an organism, but all in all the whole is greater than the sum of its elements, acording synergetics.


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What do you have there what we don`t have here? Libraries/ librarians are same same, but different. It is nice to have a chat sometimes. To talk about your routine and to compare things. Without stressing about official numbers or perfect presentations. To establish a connection. To shake your habitual a bit after 15 years of work at the same point.

I have lately experienced two Skype conferences. The first one about a month ago was organized between three Finnish libraries (Tampere, Mynämäki and Entresse) with librarians from Polyarny (Russia). All participants could speak the same language – Russian, it was easy.

The later one we organized between Donostia – San Sebastian library (Spain, Basque Country) and Entresse library (Espoo, Finland). That was my personal challenge because of the languages. Switching between Spanish and Finnish is not the thing my head was ready for. So now I know: one language at a time. Translations are not really a case in such virtual meet ups.

Anyways, more of such! There is no excuse of not enough budget: you don´t need to travel and internet connection nowadays is absolutely must in the libraries, isn’t?

Skype connection Espoo-San Sebastian, photo - David Muñoz

Chosen vocabulary of this week:

un portatil – laptop

un fusible – fuse

un socio – member

una resaca – hangover

un enlace – link

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There is no library without rules. But anyways, the level of strictness and user control vary pretty much from library to library, and better to say from country to country: norms are different from the physical access to WiFi availability.

Be quiet in the library! (pic source - bibo.kz)High-end strictness: Russia


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One day Central library of Donostia was in a different building, on the San Jerónimo street, hidden in an old town. Now it is moved to a more spacious place on the Alderdi Eder, a ground floor of the City Council. Anyway atmospheric cellar in San Jerónimo is still used by Donostia city library for special occasions. Like for instance Literature gathering or lectures = Tertulias literarias.


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