Reference and Services Trends in Public Libraries

Here are some thoughts I have gathered, some from professional literature, some from blogs, some straight from my own heart.

We are talking about reference and how it is changing in UPLIFT this week: August 15 at the Utah State Library & August 17 2012 in Ephraim, at the Karen A. Hunstman Library on the Snow College campus. Thanks, Jon Ostler, for being so accommodating to the public library directors and others who are coming on campus.

Reference and Services Trends in Public Libraries

Yesterday’s reference, today’s reference – 8 differences

1. Yesterday’s library reference was all about looking in books.
Today’s reference is all about finding the resources the people need, wherever it’s found.

2. Yesterday’s reference was all about what was housed in the library building. Today’s reference includes online services and digital resources.

3. Yesterday’s reference was all about getting information.
Today’s reference is also about helping people create and share information.

4. Yesterday’s reference was about term papers for students.
Today’s reference is also about multimedia projects for them.

5. Yesterday’s reference was all about being copyright enforcers.
Today’s reference is about being intellectual property counselors.

Continue reading Yesterday’s reference, today’s reference – 8 differences

Library Collaboration

Collaborative undertakings must have:

  •  Distributed benefits – more is accomplished jointly than could be individually
  • Common, new goals
  • Commitment from the organizations’ leaders
  • Well-defined relationships
  • Planning, including goals, objectives, activities, and measures of success
  • Mutual risk
  • Shared resources or jointly contracted

Salt Lake 2002 Paralympics: right…right…right…right….

Paralympics 2002
Salt Lake Paralympic Games  March 9, 2002, Snow Basin ski resort


Right…right…right…right…       Left..left…left…left….

Those words rang out to the 114 blind kids and their parents or family members at the Salt Lake 2002 Paralympic Games at Snow Basin Ski Resort on March 9, 2002. All of the children had a reading disability that prevented them from reading regular-sized print. Some had been blind from birth, others had some vision, yet not enough to make reading a regular-sized print book work out. All were from Utah or Wyoming and some had come in from very long distances.

It was just so great that the kids that needed it the most–those that may be able to participate in the Paralympic games in the future–were able to attend. They experienced being there when others who were also blind were speeding downhill. The right..right…right…left…left…left…were the instructions that the coach to a blind skier said as they guided their Paralympic star down the steep course.

Continue reading Salt Lake 2002 Paralympics: right…right…right…right….

QR codes in libraries

I went to a good presentation by Marriott Library and Eccles Health Sciences Library on QR codes. QR stands for quick reference, btw. The notion is to have a code that someone can take a photo of with their handheld device, and the device will translate that code to the information represented underneath.  A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be small or large. It can be huge, as on the side of a building.

Here’s a QR code about my Trading Spaces Mentoring Program: trading spaces qr code

Libraries can use QR codes in all kinds of ways:

  • Paintings or photos in the building
  • Map of the library
  • Search the library catalog
  • Place holds on books
  • Summer Reading signup
  • Upcoming events
  • New book arrivals
  • Contact information
  • Any text at all
  • If you can print, post, or tweet it you can QR it

In order to access QR codes people need:

  • A handheld device with a camera and the internet such as a smartphone, iphone, droid, one of the many products that are widely used today
  • A QR app which can be found at the app store or at a variety of places on the internet

It’s really easy to create QR codes. You need a QR code generator and there are so many that are free, it’s easy to get one.  Just look online. The one that I used to make the above QR code was Delivr. The one that Eccles is using is BeeTagg.

There are tips for creating QR codes, for example, don’t have a long url, the image will be too finely grained. Shorten it first using a url shortener within your  QR code generator, or use another such as or

Also, make sure you are pointing to a version of something that is made for handheld devices. A url to a very large website won’t be readable on the handheld once they get it, so that’s lame.

There’s more,  I hope to hold a training on QR codes in the near future. Stay put.

Sincerely, Colleen (p.s. here’s my contact info, try it out on your iphone)