Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Maplewood update and Gwinnet

Greetings to those of you joining me from David Rothman's recent post. I'm not sure I can manage five separate links back to him but I'll toss in one or two for good measure so I snake into his Google Reader an extra time or two.

If you haven't read that post--about managing your RSS feeds, you might take a review. David mentions a few good ideas and I've started with one--putting all of the job feeds in one folder. I'm not supposed to be job hunting anymore but I don't think it's a bad idea to still see what is out there at my leisure. Not seeing so many feeds on the side of the reader is already starting to help.

I saw an interesting follow up to the Maplewood NJ story from the NYT that started so many listservs going last week. The town is now trying to find options that the library will deem acceptable to staying open. That story is here: Town Considers Guards for Library Disrupted by Students. This was of cynical interest to me in two fashions.

Part One of Cynicism: I'd seen a number of librarians scoff at the library and tell them they should have hired security guards. This was met with fervent "Don't you think they tried that already?" from other librarians in similar or even very different situations. Some also pointed to the response from the Board of Trustees.

Interestingly...if you Google Maplewood public, you get a place in Missouri. I bet their site count has gone up considerably in the past two weeks.

Part Two of the Cynicism: In the library board's message they note that the problem has been increasing for the past decade. Amazingly--two DAYS after they announced the possibility of closing after school the town stepped in with ideas to help alleviate the problem. Two days....after a battle of ten years. There's something sad when it takes publicity ---very negative publicity ---to get a town into action. At least they are trying now and perhaps something good will come of it.

Interestingly, from LisNews today, Gwinnet Library in Georgia appears to be dealing with a similar problem and, along with their police officer, now have a standard code of conduct to be enforced in the library. Brava to the director for stepping up and working to make the library an enjoyable and safe place for all. For many--myself included--libraries are seen as a safe place to go to, a third place that's freely available.

I hope it works for them!

1 comment:

infoaddict said...

Greetings from someone who, yes, wandered over from your David Rothman link. I've been pondering the concept of RSS overload for a while and stumbled across the answer when I was giving a small talk to fellow librarians at a new job.

Basically, I think of my feeds not as "keeping up to date", but "bookmarks on steroids". I just put quite a long post on David's site, and you probably don't want it all here, but in reality, of my 250-odd feeds, I only read about 20-30 with any regularity (ie more than once a week). The others are kept against the likelihood that they'll be of use sometime - librarians are, if nothing else, hoarders of information (bugger gatekeepers; we're more like those people who collect and catalogue different lengths of string. Yes, and I'm PROUD of even being identified with that dodgy simile. So there).

RSS allows me to keep tabs on those sources and, unlike my booksmarks, quickly and easily duck in to see what's been going on every now and again. And, again unlike my bookmarks, if I have a vague recollection of having read something useful, I can search just my own feeds (something I've been wanting in bookmarks since the very first webbrowser).

So, I proudly read my fave daily feeds (the comics, the stories, the friends and family, the cute and fuzzy, and a small collection of actual news/information), and guiltlessly (well, almost) allow the rest to accumulate hundreds of posts, because I know I'll use them _eventually_.

Mind you, that I can accumulate guilt for merely not reading a bunch of information resources is a worry in its own right ...