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December 31, 2007

Generation Y and Libraries

A survey released this weekend on library use and Generation Y seems to have struck many by surprise.

More than half of Americans visited a library in the past year with many of them drawn in by the computers rather than the books, according to a survey released on Sunday.

Of the 53 percent of U.S. adults who said they visited a library in 2007, the biggest users were young adults aged 18 to 30 in the tech-loving group known as Generation Y, the survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project said.

"These findings turn our thinking about libraries upside down," said Leigh Estabrook, a professor emerita at the University of Illinois and co-author of a report on the survey results.

What confuses me is not the percentage of library users under 30 but the shock expressed by the statisticians. Even Lee Rainie, PEW's statistics guru, expressed amazement.

The survey showed 62 percent of Generation Y respondents said they visited a public library in the past year...

"We were surprised by these findings, particularly in relation to Generation Y," said Lee Rainie, co-author of the study and director of the Pew project.

But we've been seeing this convergence for a long time now. Library use by Gen Y should come as no surprise to anyone who has been following library trends over the past three years, but perhaps this will be a wakeup call for those who haven't been following the discussions regarding technology and our users.

December 27, 2007

Some Orders That the Boss Should Heed

Take a look at Some Orders That the Boss Should Heed by Lisa Belkin in today's NY Times:

Today’s workers no longer climb a corporate ladder so much as navigate a corporate lattice — sometimes going sideways, or even a few steps down, she wrote. Because zigging and zagging is now the norm, Deloitte is on a crusade to treat it as such, and the first step, she said, is for those at the top to be open about their nonlinear journeys.

That is why Ms. Benko would encourage all corporate leaders to be compulsively transparent in 2008. Rather than pretending that work is always first priority, “the boss should be the first to say, ‘I’m not going to make that meeting because my newest grandchild is in town,’” she said...

Often, she wrote in an e-mail message, a boss is a night owl, dashing off notes at 3 a.m., and sending the message that employees should answer at all hours. “I don’t want to send any kind of overt or covert message that others should be ready to receive e-mail whenever I care to send it,” she wrote of her own workplace. “Frankly, I don’t even always want others to have that much of a window into how I spend my time — sometimes I think they conclude that I have no life (and therefore they should not have a life) because they know I sent an e-mail on a Saturday night.

Article link

December 26, 2007

via Ms Dowd

Thanks to Maureen Dowd (and her mother) for this wonderful holiday season reminder: 

Don’t cry over things that can’t cry over you.


December 18, 2007

Why Nobody Likes a Smart Machine

Why Nobody Likes a Smart Machine, by John Tierney:

Dr. Norman, a cognitive scientist who is a professor at Northwestern, has been the maestro of gizmos since publishing “The Design of Everyday Things,” his 1988 critique of VCRs no one could program, doors that couldn’t be opened without instructions and other technologies that seemed designed to drive humans crazy.

Besides writing scholarly analyses of gadgets, Dr. Norman has also been testing and building them for companies like Apple and Hewlett-Packard. One of his consulting gigs involved an early version of this very technology on the shelf at Best Buy: a digital photo frame developed for a startup company that was later acquired by Kodak.

“This is not the frame I designed,” Dr. Norman muttered as he tried to navigate the menu on the screen. “It’s bizarre. You have to look at the front while pushing buttons on the back that you can’t see, but there’s a long row of buttons that all feel the same. Are you expected to memorize them?”

He finally managed to switch the photo in the frame to vertical from horizontal. Then he spent five minutes trying to switch it back.

“I give up,” he said with a shrug. “In any design, once you learn how to do something once, you should be able to do it again. This is really horrible.”

Full article


December 17, 2007

Explore Your Inner Librarian

Explore Your Inner Librarian


December 08, 2007

Santa at Starbucks

Santa at Starbucks
Originally uploaded by Michael Casey.