Monday, November 24, 2008

Librarian like a gas station attendant


At the Cambridge Library/Headquarters, staff members enjoy having a monthly birthday coffee. Shannon made cards for the many November birthdays. This is mine. I particularly like it, because I see the services provided by library staff to be a valuable community asset.

This quote: "Librarian is a service occupation. Gas station attendant of the mind." is from The Gold Bug Variations p.35, 1991. The author, Richard Powers (born 1957) is a novelist whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology. The Gold Bug Variations is an exploration of biology, computer science, classical music, and librarianship. From NoveList:

Librarian Jan O'Deigh researches Stuart Ressler's past at the request of Frank Todd, Ressler's colleague. Ressler, a promising young molecular biologist of the fifties, has disappeared from the scientific community and is now working as a lowly computer operator.

I do find it amusing that in 1991 (the copyright date) a computer operator is described as "lowly" in contrast to the career of being a scientist. Another sign of the times . . . it won't be long until we have a generation that doesn't know what a "gas station attendant" is.

The Gold Bug Variations is not available in the ECRL catalog, but it is in MnLINK, and can be requested via interlibrary loan.

Barbara Misselt, Director

Friday, November 7, 2008

Planning and building for the future

Perhaps you think your town needs a library. Or, you've had a library for a long while and you want to enlarge it or move it to a more accessible location. About half of the communities in the East Central Region are at various stages in exploring these questions. Some are looking for land to build on and some are looking to expand current facilities. Thus was the impetus to bring in an expert in the planning and building libraries business, Jack Poling, Managing Principal of Meyer Scherer and Rockcastle Architecture and Interior Design.

The workshop was attended by 41 library leaders that included librarians, library supporters, and city and county elected officials. Poling led a discussion on the library building process that included: identifying and establishing need; defining needs; funding campaigns; design; construction; and the post construction period. Poling's nationally-known firm has built more than 100 libraries. He shared his experiences and offered valuable insight into the process including lessons learned. The audience asked many questions and shared experiences with each other. The attendees thanked Poling for the valuable information and expressed a desire for the Region to sponsor additional opportunities to get together and learn more about the process.

Personal Attention
Jack Poling answers a question posed to him by Dwight Haberman,
part of the committee working on getting a new library built in Isanti.

Making Connections
Participants from Princeton, Onamia and Sandstone converse about library planning issues.
It never hurts to get a little help from your friends.

Barbara Misselt, Director