But all librarians use writing to do more than remind patrons of fines. To keep up with the latest, you have to go back to the basics of stringing words together to make your meaning clear. Writing is all over new technology, so much so that we don’t even think about it or notice it until it’s glaringly unprofessional or outright unhelpful.
Melanie Griffin Author Archive
Melanie Griffin works in human resources at her favorite public library in Columbia, South Carolina. She is also earning her Masters in Library and Information Science, writing fiction, and trying to keep up with Stephen King's publishing schedule.
Ever stop to think about what a “human resource” really is? Your library runs on them! And it’s the human resources director’s job to negotiate the tricky task of keeping all employees, managers, and the government happy with each other.
We work so hard on coming up with innovative, interesting, and just plain fun ways to make our libraries useful to our communities that sometimes we forget to keep our patrons in the know. But as public libraries, we have to constantly make sure our usefulness is known, whether it be during budget season when local support suddenly dries up behind pledges to lower taxes or watching our visit and circulation numbers drop throughout the year because people don’t realize what we’ve got. This is where library marketing comes in.
Once your library is slated to get a security staff, how do you know what to look for in your personnel search? Former correctional officers and police workers are a good place to start, but there are other aspects to consider and find in your protectors:
Quick—how do you deal with a patron who is wearing a big coat on a hot day? Who do you tell when your shelver trips and breaks their arm rearranging the westerns? What can be done about the DVDs you keep having to replace because they go missing from the collection so often? If you are lucky, you can consult with your security team on these issues.
As library workers, we’re used to working with copyright on the spectator side. We have opinions about the Google Book Project can recite the Fair Use Clause by heart, and help thousands of patrons cite primary sources in just the ways to satisfy both their research needs and the law.
But what about your library’s own creations? Your marketing department wants more authentic user experiences, so you recruit patrons to take photos and guest blog for your website; your program’s folks ask you to record a song for summer reading and hand out copies as catchy reminders; your writing group wants to publish an anthology of their best work — how do you protect all of this?
Volunteer coordinators are part human resources director and part public staff, and many are patrons’ first introduction to a deeper appreciation of how the library works.