This past class, we started off talking about the AADL controversy, where the director told the Ann Arbor City Council about her concerns that heroin usage in the library (which is surprisingly common) would spread into the park they want to build next to the downtown branch. It was an important conversation to have with our blog cohorts. What my peers and I talked about is how the heroin use piece of the puzzle needs to be seen as a larger community problem that strikes people of all walks of life and throughout Southeastern Michigan. The library can’t do everything to stop it – it’s not in their jurisdiction – and it is something that everyone needs to work on together so that we can save lives and keep our communities safe. For the library piece of the puzzle, we talked about how the increased police force that one city council member proposed for the library would not only be unnecessary (they have good response times to the library when there are issues) but also a violation of the library code of ethics about giving the best service to all patrons. I thought particularly about people who come from places where the police might not be as helpful or friendly as they can be here; an increased law enforcement presence would just make people scared and nervous. And we need people to be comfortable in the library if they are going to use our services. So there are behaviors that we want to reduce in the library (drug use), but we want to make sure patrons are treated respectfully. It’s a little tough, and I don’t know the answer, but it’s something that I’m sure the AADL will work through it.
After that, we hit on the idea of embedded librarianship. This term is new to me, but it kind of sounds like what school librarians do all the time, and there are public library connections I didn’t consider – like bookmobiles! It’s about visibility and outreach in ways that patrons want. I love the idea about giving books to senior centers! What better way to drum up support than to work with the people who, as Kristin pointed out, are the most likely to vote. It kind of ties into our webinar topic of underserved groups, since we need to find the way to meet them where they are and provide what they want. I can’t wait to see what our class comes up with!
Speaking of webinars: I might end up blending what I remember from this and what I remember from 4T training this week. Sorry about that – we did the same assignment for both! We went over effective and ineffective webinar strategies. There were plenty to write about, but I think I will take one that I liked in an example from 4T: setting up group norms so that participants know what is expected and are more inclined to participate. I bring it up since I don’t remember it coming up in class, but it was a really simple but powerful way to get people engaged from early on instead of fading in and out. The presenter in the example, Delia DeCourcy, told participants that she wanted them to do what she was doing instead of “lurking.” She wanted them using the tools she mentioned, answering polls, and taking part in the chat. I know I’m not good at paying attention during webinars, so I think these expectations would help me stay with it and really learn something. It’s something I want to consider for our webinars in class and for 4T, even though my sessions for both of those are pretty short. Though it takes a bit of what precious little time we have to share with our audience, I think it could make the experience that much more meaningful for them.