October 4, 2011
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That book that I want to read was just returned.
One of the first things that we saw on our field trip to Darien Library is this screen that displays a real-time list of library materials just returned.
August 2, 2011
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How many of you have used, seen or heard book carts that are noisy, difficult to move around, like to drop a wheel, or topple over?
We have, and we’ve found a solution.
We saw this book cart on our field trip to Darien Library.
What makes this book cart so special?
- Used with the library’s automated return sorting system. Books go straight from the sorting system onto the book cart.
- Holds books in place.
- Cart handle, wheels and overall design allow for more flexibility in movement.
Check out more posts in the Everyday Usability series.
November 22, 2010
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Is it a doodle or a scribble? Or maybe it’s a piece of spaghetti. Whatever it is, it’s the logo of Anythink Libraries, located right outside of Denver, Colorado.
Some interesting tidbits, points, and thoughts:
- No Dewey.
- No reference desk.
- Like Darien Library, they changed staff roles by matching skills with duties (i.e. those that are better at handling materials than providing public service are responsible for back-end processes).
- When designing the buildings, the new director said “focus on the quality of the space, rather than the number of books we’d put in the space.” In my conversations with librarians who were involved in library renovations or relocations, shelf space is a top priority. While shelf space is important, it’s more important to look at the library space as a whole.
- Not everyone is going to like the changes and that’s okay. You can’t please everyone. “Achieving culture change hasn’t been simple—for instance, one new hire, shocked to see the reference desk gone, bowed out.”
- “Because the library pays many bills (on time) with credit cards that accrue points, it can send staffers to conferences and training events without cost.” What a great and simple idea to reduce the costs of professional development and conference attendance.
- “Instead of trying to get everything perfect, we work to get the big idea right, then circle back to work on correcting and refining the details.” Someone once said perfection is the enemy of progress. Just get it out there and you can tweak it along the way.
Library field trip to Anythink! (One day…maybe when there’s a conference in Denver. Darien, CT is a lot easier to get to than Thornton, CO). Check out the LJ article for more info about Anythink.
October 21, 2010
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Dear Darien Library,
I’ve got a crush on you. It was the day before Sandra and I went on our field trip to visit. I was checking out your site and saw some of the things you have:
- Power Library - library users can borrow all sorts of gadgets like digital cameras, e-readers, GPS devices, LCD projectors, and video camcorders.
- Free web hosting – nonprofit organizations can have their websites hosted by you
- Wireless printing
- Notary services
Amazing. These are pretty simple and basic things. I found myself telling people about you that day. Darien this. Darien that. A crush, an infatuation, an obsession – call it what you want, but you’ve got to be one of the coolest libraries out there.
After our visit, I was hooked. I’m particularly amazed by three things:
- the trust that you have for your staff and patrons
- big picture thinking & doing
- the focus on empowerment and choice
And then there are the little things like being able to see what items were just returned.
You made an unforgettable impression.
P.S. You’re my first library crush.