The time for libraries is NOW

The time for information professionals is NOW, too.

The idea of this is to position the information professional as someone who will be increasingly important in an information-driven world, and to try and market the library in a more positive light. It's inspired by the Shift Happens deck, as so much of the jaw-dropping information which that presentation contains seems to strengthen The Case for the Librarian...

I can reupload an edited version of this to Slideshare at any time, so let me know if you have suggestions for further ideas about the value of us or our institutions, and I'll see if I can explore them with additional slides.

I've created these slides to act as library advocacy, so obviously I'd love them to be seen outside of the echo chamber - if you can think of any way for me to achieve this, let me know! The deck is available under a Creative Commons licence via Slideshare, so please feel free to embed it anywhere you see fit - I can honestly say I've never put so much work into a bunch of slides, so I'd love to see it in as many places as possible...

Update: They've got on to the hot on Twitter section of Slideshare's home page already, which is great! A mini #echolib escape - they are sure to be checked out by people who don't normally view library stuff. I'm not on Facebook, but if people can get it in to the Hot On Facebook section too that would be amazing. :)

Update II: okay, that worked! Thank you - it got Hot on Facebook and Twitter at the same time, ensuring loads of non-library people will have seen it. It's had over 3000 views in less than 36 hours - thanks for helping me promote it!

- thewikiman

Library advocacy 2.0. Converting the Internet, one random stranger at a time

I decided to try some library advocacy of a new kind, today - I went to Omegle and took on some strangers. Omegle connects you to a random stranger, and when one of you disconnects that's it, conversation over. So could I win over some people to the library cause..? The results are below - I have to say, at first it seemed too easy! Random Strangers love libraries, apparently. :) Attempt 1: already loves libraries...

Omegle chat

Attempt 2: I end up asking him more questions than he asked me...


Omegle chat

Attempt 3: FINE DODGER!

Omegle chat 3

Attempt 4: thewikiman fails to excite conversational partner

Omegle chat

Attempts 5 and 6: surely SOME people don't like libraries? Otherwise how come we're in such crisis?


Omegle chat 5

Omegle chat 6

Attempt 7: It's a tough sell, but someone has to step up to the plate. Censored for your own protection, he really was a filthy little man (or woman)

Omegle chat 7

Attempt 8: finally, a conversion! This makes it all worthwhile...


Omegle conversion...


- thewikiman

Trying to measure a library's success by its footfall is like...

... trying to count the number of people entering a country by only checking the airports, and ignoring those who come by sea or land. It's like trying to count book sales just based on what has been sold in the shops, and not online.

It's like trying to measure BBC viewing figures without taking iPlayer into account.

It's like trying to measure an album's success just by CD sales, without taking downloads into account.

It's like trying to measure a newspaper's success just by physical sales, and not by use of the website.

It's like trying to judge a supermarket's success without taking into account online shopping.


Picture of an angry man

Let's settle this once and for all - as I've written before (PDF), and previous to that Ian Clark has written before, and any number of others have pointed out: library use has changed, people do stuff online now. People renew books online (around 40% of renewals happen online, according to my research - every single one of those is a visit to the library building saved), people reserve books online (around 18% of reservations happen online according to my research - every single one of those is a visit to the library building saved). And people access the library's resources online - e-books, e-journals, e-newspapers, databases, and so on and so forth. Take my local library, in York - in three years, online user activity (which is to say, searches of online library resources - not 'use of computers in the library') has gone up by 9,385%. That's over NINE THOUSAND PERCENT! So stop telling me that because less people visit the building, that means the library is being used less - it is a hopelessly anachronistic paradigm and no longer fit for purpose, damnit!

So thanks, BBC Breakfast, for your ill-considered piece this morning which did NOT take that into account (despite the best efforts of library campaigners who gave you their time), and was editorially led, rather than balanced.

Of course, this post is nothing more than an impotent rant that will be read only by Information Professionals who already know everything I've just said. Aaaaargh! How do we get this information beyond the echo chamber? How can we make people understand that footfall doesn't cut it as a measurement of success on its own any more?

In the meantime, if you wish to make your feelings known to the BBC about the report, you can do so via the BBC's feedback page. If we all do this it WILL make a difference.