Monday, August 24, 2009

xkcd - How a Librarian's mind works...

This morning I was greeted to a new cartoon in my Google Reader, which is always cause for celebration!

Though many of them are even too advanced for me to understand (speaking about the ones that talk about math and science - two subjects I like to pretend don't exist), today's struck a cord and is now printed, pasted, and mounted on my wall next to my computer!

Why did I find this cartoon so compelling and so applicable as to make me giddy all day?

Well... I am glad you asked!

1) Part of the new Information Service approach to Library Sciences is that we are now gateways to the new forms of information. These new forms all need access to a computer and, often, this access is hindered when the computer itself fails us. I would say that the majority of my time spent with patrons is of the troubleshooting type. In fact, I'm a big proponent of libraries, especially ones on campuses, working closer with IT departments and convincing them that they need better training and (fingers crossed) better technology. However, this is something they need to be convinced of and most of my suggestions have fallen on deaf ears... but I digress.

2) What shocked me most, however, about this is how easily you could switch out the reference to IT for Librarian. For any non-library people: this is exactly what we do! We just make some educated guesses and when that doesn't work, we refer it to others who do the same.

As the edited cartoon would say: "We don't magically know how to find everything in every subject. When we help you, we're usually just doing this..." Something to think about!

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Does this remind anyone else of The IT Crowd? "Hello IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again? ... OK, well, the button on the side. Is it glowing? ..."

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