The Casual Librarian

My thoughts and opinions

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User Experience

There are many aspects to a user’s experience and as society has changed so has the face of a library, which we hope has also changed the way a person uses a library.

Schmidt (2010) constructs this ‘mapping’ in which he thinks of  every step a user may need to go through in order to accomplish their informational need. Step by Step he brings us through the many interactions that person has with the many aspects of a library only 1 of those being us the librarian which for the first time it stuck me how we relate to the structure and how embedded we are in process.

Each of these elements need to adapt to the changes in society here the way I would approach and anticipate my users actions or informational needs to analyse and develop Political, environmental, social, and technical needs, changes or maybe wants within that community, also known as PEST.

Environmental changes for instance may affect how that community engage with seasonal changes if they are in a high flood plan or are prone to storms the information would change according to what informational needs the community has. This is one way of looking at how or what your users may need, during my time learning information behavior there were many articles like these:JunJul10_Palen_Starbird_Vieweg_Hughes that I found very interesting.

images cOf course the diversity of your population and community changes drastically from area to area and the social aspects would the geographical situation of the community rural or urban, social housing private housing etc.

Each of these elements gives you a foundation to build on when looking through that particular communities eyes, you can see gaps in where they lack information or could improve in areas of literacy skills and by doing this it changes and adapts your library to fulfilling their needs.

I recently came across a beautiful quote from an Irish lady Caitlin Moran and it goes like this: ‘A library in the middle of a community is a cross between an emergency exit, a life raft, and a festival’.

It is anticipating your community needs and making sure the process is free flowing that will ensure your diverse user and community a fluid service.



Rural Ireland

Having read Chapter 7: Serving the User, I began to relate alot of the challenges to Rural Ireland, but I don’t want to paint a bleak and backward notion of the region either.

I don’t live in rural Ireland but I have been part of it for a short time, WiFi is strong in some parts of the Island and weaker in others, however there is a vast number of the Irish population that is elderly, and here is were the problem lies.

Thinking about my own parents in their 70’s they have no idea what the internet is, they are constantly amazed when I bring my laptop home with me and spend hours on it doing work.

The most interesting piece of reflection came when the paper acknowledged “assistance” and the self-service option of a library. Many of these new self-service machines have been integrated into many libraries all over Ireland, however many are left idle. I was amazed recently in my own public library to see they had removed the self-service machine, when I asked they simply said that the area it was in was simply not working and there was nowhere else they could locate it in the library. Secondly they have a library catalogue service (again located in a very hidden place) but when I went to use it it was out of order, with a sign saying “please ask at desk”. As happy as I was to see these 2 things happen, as I always questioned them in my own mind, it is a shame that even though we are moving into a new technological era that some libraries are working away just doing the traditional process, like asking the librarian! But how long will this last, if staffing cuts are rising and more more people are using the library these 2 elements need to be able to take the pressure off the library as a whole.

This brings me back to my topic “Rural Ireland” because we are a country of warm engaging people and the elderly mostly will visit their library to integrate and communicate so that the self service option may not be the answer to many libraries problems, and that this technological change may hinder this user group access to the library.

I know for certain 1 county of Ireland there is no self-service and there is no library catalogue available, the county I live in now the library branches are very dispersed but I think it may be a useful investigation. I did live in the Capital city for 4 yrs and they do use the self service options widely, however their user group is much larger.

One to keep in mind!