That of course is not a real news headline.
Visiting a library recently, I asked what I needed to do to get on the wireless network. The Librarian said their IT department didn’t support wireless because it was a network security risk. That and it cost too much. My thought: oh my…oh my who is doing their IT? Suppose patrons start showing up with Autonet? Will this IT department jam it? While it may sound weird, how many NO CELL PHONE policies have you seen? Does that respect how patrons use library spaces? Creating barriers definitely goes against the Ranganathan principle: The library is a growing organism and Gorman’s additional laws, #3: Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
“Imagine going on a long road trip with your family. Sitting in the passenger’s seat with your laptop open, you are able to provide the driver with directions to the nearest restaurant you just made online reservations with opentable.com and check the weather forecast for your destination. At the same time, your teenage daughter is on her favorite social networking website updating her profile and chatting with friends. Your preteen son is watching the latest videos on YouTube and searching for the latest games on-line…”
Or you drive to your local library because you love being there -but don’t like the constricted network controls. I don’t know for sure but I doubt Starbucks or Barnes & Noble restricts their wireless network -and they seem to want to do everything then can to keep people in their stores, their pseudo public spaces. Libraries need to remember to find ways to clear access for patrons, not be appearing to engineer obstructions. Controls should encourage the right kind of action. Not frustrate our users. In a time of shrinking public spaces, libraries will become oases hopefully free from unnecessary obstructions.
Update: here’s an Architecture student’s take on these CRTL thoughts. Pretty neat. (PDF not available -trying to get it.)
TTW Contributor: Lee LeBlanc