What’s Up at Franklin Park Public Library

I’m always happy to hear from former students. I just got a nice email from Mick Jacobsen. TTW readers may remember him from his info about LibGuides. He’s moved on to some cool stuff:

Our first gaming event is taking place later today (spearheaded by me).  We have a Wii and PS2 for DDR.  So far nearly 50 kids of signed up, luckily we also have lots of board games so no riots.  We will have an adult gaming event in the near future and I am working with the senior centers to bring the Wii to them.

The website is rolling along.  I added a new rating system to our blogs, 1-10 stars.  I am hoping it will bring more interaction and ownership of the website to the patrons.  http://www.franklinparklibrary.org


I created a Summer Reading Blog http://www.franklinparklibrary.org/index.php?q=blog/12.   The patrons can submit books using a form I built which emails me the submission and permission to post it on our blog.  I also check out our hand written entries and contact individuals with interesting, different reviews of items.  All the patrons seem pleased to see their reviews of items on the website (especially the elderly who normally don’t look at computers).  Our comments on these items are also stronger than the average blog entry.  I am wondering if I should continue the blog past the Summer Reading and make it just a patron recommendation blog.  I am not sure if the authorship would be there, but it would be a fun experiment.

I had an article written about one of my projects in the local newspaper.  I am using Google maps to “map” Franklin Park.  I created an image and description Historical map and a modern Places of Note map.  I am in the midst of working on a map of all the road construction taking place in Franklin Park.   I embed the maps on our website and try to get  people involved.  

http://www.franklinparklibrary.org/index.php?q=node/292 for the Places of Note map
http://www.franklinparklibrary.org/index.php?q=node/291 of the Historical map


I am in the midst of a “Splash Page” experiment.  I know many are anti splash pages, but I think they could really work for public libraries and I am conducting a study to see if my hypothesis is correct.  It is not pure science, but does lead to some great conclusions.  

So I emailed Mick and asked if I could publish his update on TTW and would he answer this question:

What’s helped you be most successful with these projects?

His response says a lot about organizational culture, that important sense of play, self-motivation and the wealth of info available online:

In no particular order:

1.  An innate desire to try new things (why else go in to Library Science but to try new cool stuff).

2.  Complete confidence that I have the support from my management (top to bottom) to try new things.  How many libraries would let a new graduate (graduated in January) the freedom that I am given?  I got to redesign, reorganize, rethink an entire website in Drupal and much, much more (I have not told you about very important but not sexy stuff I have implemented e.g. email notices for nearly overdue items, pc reservation, print release, etc.).  Most of the time they have no idea what I am doing, simply trusting that I am doing something beneficial for the library.  It has become a sort of joke, “What have you added this week, haha.”  And I say, well this cool thing called LibX or rating stars or a suggestion form or a summer reading blog or an online sign up for programs, or Google translate, etc.  

3.  The willingness to fail in trying new things (these projects are not necessarily successes as of yet…).  And many grand ideas have failed and been buried, but not forgotten.  

4.  The joy in reading blog after blog ferreting out great info and trying to turn them to library uses.  

5.  Making the time to research, play with, and eventually (or not) implement new ideas.  

6.  Being able to enthusiastically bounce crazy ideas of coworkers without having them get annoyed.   

7.  Not being bogged down by bureaucracy.