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July 09, 2007


Mark K.

I think the prerequisite for defining "patron" is defining "library service." E.g., if providing good reading space is a distinctive service on your campus, then the person reading their copy of Harry Potter counts.

(I would be hard-pressed to define "access to coffee" as a library service, though I'm sure a case could be made).

John R.

If ALA offers hip librarian body wash and it actually smells good, I'll totally rejoin. Some nice soaps would be helpful, too.

Steven Chabot

They are all patrons, because the building itself is providing a service, beyond any particular service inside it (a wonderful book to read is Nancy Kalikow Maxwell's Sacred Stacks about the library as secular sacred space).

Furthermore, assuming that one does not work in a special library, then some level of public funding goes into the running of the library, so even members of the general public have rights to be considered patrons, even if they have no circulation/computer rights. I know for a fact that many homeless men come and read the daily paper in my campus library, and in my mind they have every right

Eric Frierson

interesting stats. i guess this means that your undergrads are coming in to the library. that's good. that means there's an opportunity to meet, greet and reach most students in the flesh.

since you've got an interest in advertising, since we know we've got them coming in (to check e-mail, to check facebook), how do we interest them in our more substantive services once they're here doing those things? is signage enough? can we do some sort of outreach while they're checking their e-mail? have they grown up surrounded by pop-ups, billboards, commercials that they're able to tune most of those messages out?

hmm. i see plenty of students using our computers for those purposes. i wonder how announcing "if you need any help finding articles for a paper, come up to the reference desk" would go over -- of course we wouldn't announce it in quiet study spaces, but what about in those high-traffic check-email places?


on hipsters: i didn't see anything terribly wrong with the article. it in no way HELPED a librarian's cause by neglecting to talk about the value of librarians' skills... but it may make librarians in general seem less frightening for younger patrons. a move from the stereotypical rigid, strict librarian to the looser, free.

i would like to see a piece the focuses on the diversity in librarianship -- or maybe a lack thereof. i can't see this piece making anyone besides other hipsters interested in librarianship. and something with SOME substance -- although this article DID appear in the STYLE section of the paper... can't expect too much substance i guess.


I take it your anti-hip rant means you're not changing the name of your blog to The Ubiquitous Guybrarian.

Sorry. I just can't help looking for ways to use my new favorite word.

Good exposure for you over at Tame the Web though.


What about "patrons" who never walk in the door? Dealing with public libraries, I often wonder about this... do we design for our users only, or do we include the interests of our potential users as well - those people who never actually use the library, but could if they wanted to, or if we do a better job of attracting them? If they pay taxes (or tuition) are they automatically our patrons whether or not they ever actually use our services? I'm inclined to say yes.

re: hipsters - I totally agree. But I'd still find it hard to resist hip librarian lip gloss. :)

Ken Liss

I wasn’t any more hip at 20 than I am now (except to the extent that un-hip was hip), but I don’t see anything wrong with the article, either. Sure our actions send a clearer and more important message than our appearance/interests, but it’s not an either/or thing. If this kind of article makes a few people more likely to think of a librarian as someone they might connect to, then maybe more of them will step across that imagined boundary (physical, virtual, whatever) so that our actions can have an impact.

Oh, and as a native, if since transplanted, New Yorker, I can’t let the dig at the city go without a response. “Style more important than substance”? Maybe for some, but it’s the richness and variety of life – substance – and absorbing, interacting with, and (maybe) having an impact on it that makes New York special. New York’s not for everyone, but it’s not as shallow as you make it seem.

There: two stereotypes with one stone.


Guess you missed it, there already are hip librarian tattoos: http://www.mcphee.com/items/11696.html

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