Transparency

I was really struck by the contrast between some of what I read in This Book is Overdue and the idea of the transparent library. In the book Marilyn Johnson interviewed several librarians who chose to remain anonymous fearing backlash from employers if their true name was known. The book also mentions that there are also many librarian bloggers with hidden identities for the same reason. While this does make sense to a certain extent with libraries not wanting to be held responsible if someone disagrees with the bloggers point of view or if a patron doesn’t see the humor in the librarian sharing a funny story about their encounter, it does seem discouraging to see this type of attitude. Throughout the lecture and readings on the transparent library there is a common idea that showing the public who their local librarians are helps foster trust and sense of community. “Letting librarians’ personalities show makes it easier for individuals to relate to—and therefore trust—the library.”(Schmidt, 2013). While there is a difference between what is written by librarians on blogs for libraries and their personal blogs I find it interesting that one has such a favorable response while the other can be shrouded in secrecy. I think it is important for libraries to not only be open about their policies but also to create a friendly face for those policies by giving the librarians writing about library policies, procedures, current events and such a face and a personal touch. When people feel that they are connecting to another person they are more likely to ask questions, voice opinions and become a part of the library community. Blogs and social media create such a great opportunity to connect people and libraries should take advantage of this not only putting important information out there but also connecting people to this information in an engaging way.

 

Schmidt, A. (2013, November 5). Earning Trust The User Experience. Retrieved February 17, 2015, from http://lj.libraryjournal.com/2013/11/opinion/aaron-schmidt/earning-trust-the-user-experience/#_

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Transparency

6 thoughts on “Transparency

  1. Susan Musson says:

    @cferrell Hi Caitlin! How’s this semester going for you? Your point about libarians insisting on anonymity for their interview with Marilyn Johnson made me wonder what type of environment they work in. To be afraid of backlash from their employers indicates a lack of trust which is really sad. Wonder what else those libraries might lack, in addition to transparency.

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @susanmusson Hi Susan! Things are going pretty well, pretty busy too but well. I can understand some of the desire for the library kind of protecting themselves from backlash if a librarian expresses opinions that may be controversial, or writes about patrons and other library employees who may complain. But there were also people in the book who were working on impressive library projects in the game second life that were either encouraged by their employers to be anonymous or afraid of their employers finding out about their involvement in the game because the game has some negative connotations.

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  2. William Bejarano says:

    “Throughout the lecture and readings on the transparent library there is a common idea that showing the public who their local librarians are helps foster trust and sense of community.”

    This is such a simple, but crucial, idea. Simply opening up about the library’s process, particular interests, and justification for why things are done not only opens the lines of communication a bit, but also lets the users know just what they can and cannot do.

    Blogging is an obvious example. Another is what our library does– we publish a quarterly newsletter which documents what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we’re planning to do, as well as offer a forum for us to publish some lengthier articles about topics that our primary users (the research faculty) might be interested in or might prove helpful to their jobs. It also has the added benefit of justifying our existence! There is much to be said about singing your own praises, because the noble and silent librarian diligently working in a vacuum is ultimately looked over.

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    1. Caitlin Ferrell says:

      @bejarano Your library’s newsletter sounds cool. I think you’re right about the need for libraries to sing their own praises it seems like unless they do people tend to forget about what they are really doing and all the ways they serve the community and instead just see a building full of books.

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