Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Public Service Announcement: The Librarian know it all

I once had a idea about creating a public service announcement about libraries and librarians. With the advent of youtube, it may come to reality.

It tells the story goes with a person going to a bookstore, then a movie rental, and finally a music store, all with the customer not finding what they need, but a mysterious stranger keeps helping the person find what they are looking for. At the end of the journey the person asks, do you work here, to which the stranger replies, no I'm a librarian.

It is great that so many libraries are doing this same thing. They parody commercials to advertise their services, they create their own movies to change patron perceptions about libraries. Anything that will change patron perceptions is a good thing since much of the population have the wrong idea about libraries. Either the last time they came into one was when they were eight and used a card catalog to find a book, or they have never been in one and have to rely on their friend's experience when he or she was eight.

So by creating these librarian videos and commercials, we are changing those perceptions, and by using tools such as MySpace, blogs, podcasts, and youtube, we are showing them what we have in spaces they always visit.

And this one is also funny: March of the Librarians

Just doing a search on Youtube for public library results in 621 hits, for library 7,321 hits. (Public Library is more by libraries our about public libraries, Library includes everything from Mr. Bean, to the cookie monster, to the UCLA student who was tasered.)

Then there are great projects like this at Denver Public Library where teens are challenged to create a unique video about their library.

Now there is even advertisements for library capital campaign for New Vestavia Hills Library

And of course there is a blog just for library videos like those founds on youtube called LibraryTV

I think any library can put short films of their library programs. YouTube only allows ten minute chunks, but you can categorize it by highlights or subject areas. For instance, if a genealogy program included something special on Federal Census Schedules, then you could cut the film just to include that segment the presenter talks about. It certainly would reduce the amount of patrons that say "Gee was that last month, I would have loved that!" These are ways we libraries can change perceptions.

I could probably put something together based on my original idea on youtube, but I think I would have to be more creative to keep up with all these great ideas. Plus, I would have to find some volunteers that aren't camera shy :)

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