Monday, October 09, 2006

Patrons & Library organization I

One part of reference I find interesting is the perception of patrons about how we have (or should have) our library resources organized.

I had an elderly man come and start berating me one day because we’d moved a section of books he liked to browse to another part of the library and he couldn’t find them. I tried to discover what books he was looking for and explain how we organized the library, but he seemed more interested in complaining than in finding the books. He did, however, come back in a couple of hours much happier because he’d stumbled across the collection he was looking for.

Another common request is for a print out of all the journals/e-journals to which the library subscribes. This request seems to come from older patrons who seem to have fond memories of browsing through a binder filled with journal titles and then going to the journal that caught their eye and flipping through it.


Blogger Dean Giustini said...

Astute observations.

I often have patrons who prefer print over online, even when I tell them we can be faster and get more current information online.

For some patrons, the print is the gold standard. Dean

3:41 PM  
Blogger Rob said...

Hi there PMJ: I too have had similar interactions with patrons, and not just older ones. Part of it comes down to the willingness of any given individual to make an effort to understand an area of knowledge (in this case information science) outside of the ones they already feel comfortable with. While it may seem nice to imagine a world where everything is handed over on a sliver platter (or perhaps this is a nightmare...), putting some effort into learning seems to be the better method in my opinion. On the other hand, the library you work in has a non-standard (i.e. discontinuous) arrangement for the "core" reference collection, so go figure...

3:49 PM  
Blogger PubMed Junkie said...

I hate it when someone asks me to find something in the reference section behind the ref desk. As you mention, it's "non-standard" in its arrangement. "A dog's breakfast" might be closer to the truth.

I browse it periodically to see if I can learn where things are, but . . .

5:11 PM  
Blogger Dean Giustini said...

PMJ & R,

So - you need to change something. How do you do it? How do you broach the subject with colleagues, when they have laboured to create the current setup?

How about first asking someone to explain the setup, and why it was done that way. If that doesn't convince you how about talking to one of the librarians who agrees with you (me?) and asking that librarian to take the issue forward?


9:49 PM  
Blogger Chris B. IHSLA President said...

We had a physcian request a list of our print and online journals. We no longer keep a hard copy list. Instead they are "online" and can be printed out if need be. This of course was not the answer that he was looking for. He insisted that the library provide him a hard copy of journals and on top of that it needed to be faxed to him. We obliged by faxing over 100 pages of print and e-journals to his office.....Some days are good, some days are bad and sometimes I enjoy small little victories.

1:28 PM  

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