Just a short post to share a great article passed on to me by a web designer friend.

William Hicks (no relation to the comedian as far as I know!), a web designer and librarian at the University of North Texas outlines how useful libraries can be, even for those who work almost entirely on the web.

He includes some great real-life examples of when a library might be able to help you with your work and why it could benefit you to visit your local academic (or public) library. Obviously, this is aimed at an American audience but I’m sure many readers of Digital Web magazine will be UK based so I hope they will realise the same applies in the UK. I particularly like his summary:

I hope I have demonstrated that libraries may be worth returning to if they don’t currently receive any of your attention. Many large institutions have nothing but their patron’s, and often society’s, best interests at heart.

We have a few regular visitors at our academic library; some who come to use our PCs, others who come to browse our collections or ask for our help with an enquiry. Some of my most interesting enquiries have been from visitors who are particularly passionate about their research area which is great.

I am often found complaining about how people don’t realise how valuable their library can be to them, but I’m such a hypocrite in two ways; firstly, I never really realised it myself until I worked in libraries and secondly, I’m not doing anything to change these ideas. I know it may be quite a big task but maybe I should be doing more small things to make people realise just how useful their local academic library can be in this age of information. Certainly got me thinking anyway, how can we promote our services and change the public opinion of libraries?

  • What people don’t know about they don’t care about. All anyone can do is spread the word. Preferably in a far more succinct manner than that particular article though 😉

  • I take it you’ll be dropping into your local library and spreading the word now then?! 😉

  • Ian

    Hi. I just found your blog by sheer accident! I am also studying at Aberystwyth by distance learning and I have just recently set up a blog about my experience in libraries (as well as the course itself). Although I have been blogging for a few years now, this is my first blog that has my name attached (the other is under a pseudonym). I have added your blog to my (very short at the moment!) blogroll.

    Oh yes, and I also have a big interest in how ‘Web 2.0’ can help develop the library service. I’ll be very interested to read your thoughts on the subject.

  • Hi Ian, it’s great to know another Aber distance learner blogging, at my last study school there seemed to be little interest in blogging and Web 2.0 technologies in general.

    Thanks for letting me know about your blog, I’ll return the favour and add it to my blogroll. 🙂

  • Ian

    Thanks 🙂 And yes, I found exactly the same thing. I seemed to be the only one in the group who ran a blog. I felt a bit uncomfortable when everyone turned round to me as I explained my blog!

  • I’m glad it wasn’t just my cohort then! I do think it’s unusual seeing as so many American librarians and library students are blogging. I’m hoping to base my dissertation on new technologies in some way, although I’m not entirely sure what yet.