Proactivity as a Skill

Who are librarians?  Are they generally all the people employed by the library?  I had a patron at a public library refer to me as a librarian when I was working at the circulation desk.  I had a similar experience at an academic library.  Most patrons are not aware of the difference between a clerk and librarian, because they do not have an appreciation of the differences in the skill sets of each.  Librarians are diabolically aware of the skills required to provide user service and the skill sets needed to continue to effectively serve users and patrons in the future are greatly affected by many issues.

One issue affecting the future competencies of librarians is what references services will look like.  With a current emphasis on learning, implementing, and using technology to offer more traditional services, librarians will need to be more proactive in their approach to the services they offer.  This is for the simple reason that information can be found and obtained from other sources besides the library and users are well aware of this.
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Reader’s Advisory Tools

I decided to review and compare two online reader’s advisory tools Allreaders.com and FictionDB.com.  I chose these two reader’s advisory (RA) tools because they are both free and seemed to be the most similar out of the ten tools listed in our text book.  As the Cassell and Hiremath text states, RA tools should be evaluated based on five reference needs: content, scope, originator, format and purpose.  I will base my criteria for evaluating these two sites on these five reference needs.  Then I will draw from each evaluation their individual strengths and weaknesses.
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Stumbleupon.com as a Reference Alternative

Stumbleupon is a wonderful and interesting way to find new content on the Web.  Simply click the “stumble” button and off you go.

It’s an information discovery tool, per it’s About Us page.  It uses the recommendations of your friends or others using the service with similar interests to yours in their preferences.  By using the thumbs-up or thumbs-down buttons on its navigation bar, users can indicated if they recommend it to others or not.  By doing this, Stumbleupon.com has created a database of likes and dislikes for its users via its community, it is a “people-driven technology”.

What makes it fun is the randomness of the whole process.  Some of the randomness can be mitigated by selecting those topics you are interested in, such as technology, entertainment, and the like.  However, you never really know what to expect exactly when you are using this service.
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