Thinking Out of the Book / Work Examples

The Words We Choose To Use

As anyone who knows me can attest, I sometimes get an idea and just have to go for it. Immediately.

This morning, I was looking at our library (the Minneapolis St. Kate’s campus library) and thinking about how much I like it there, and how droll it looks. The library itself is in a state of transition and its future is uncertain in terms of how the space is going to be used (so we had a large bit of weeding this summer, and now there are many shifted and empty shelves, etc), but at the very least, our metal stacks and especially the unfriendly red signs hanging from the ceiling were making me pity the students who might benefit from even more flowers. We have a lot of plants in the library, which is fantastic, actually. Monica O, who is in charge of ILL, let me know about some student workers who had opted for a couple of beta fish a year or so ago, but unfortunately, it was not clear who was in charge of them, and they didn’t make it over winter break.

2013 10 15 11 06 07 2013 10 15 11 06 58

I just got a beta fish this Saturday, who I named Winston (#afishcalledWinston), so the thought of dead beta fish in the library was a particularly chilling image.

On the flip side, the thought of a fishbowl at the Circulation Desk is particularly thrilling! If only I had been at the library a year ago, I’d like to pretend I would have been a major help in this situation.

….So. There’s the long part of the story.


The short part! I took a few minutes to make up some fun signs to hang on the walls, etc, by our normal signage! I got permission from our librarian Cindy, who thought they were funny and told me I could go ahead and hang them up once I showed them to her.

The idea came to me because of a conversation I had with (who was it!? I don’t know! Was it at MLA, which I attended last week? I don’t know!) someone about “reference desk” being an obsolete term which patrons don’t really understand and moving towards the information desk/iDesk model (or the floating reference librarian, you know…) I decided to define some words I’m not sure all students (or public library patrons) really know but which are used in the library all of the time.

reference book sign stacks sign periodicals sign information

Another moment today which brought this to my mind: I ran a game of Library Jeopardy today for a school fair. (I made this game for our Library Open House earlier this semester). One of the questions has the proper answer, “What is a database?”

Did you know? Not many people know what a database is, but those who do often still don’t know what they’re called.

The best part of today’s fair was actually that a girl working for MPIRG was sharing the table with me, and she is thinking of going to library school! My fellow LISer Natalie and I gave her a lot of practical advice I wish I’d gotten before I started my graduate program. :p


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