Library stuff: October 2008 Archives
We, the WorldCat bloggers, tend to think about libraries a lot. We read about libraries. We visit libraries as professionals. We talk to librarians. Many times we are working for librarians here at OCLC. We do things that help libraries help you, the library patron. We spend a lot of time thinking about libraries.
I'm reading a book right now; it is not about libraries but about storytelling. I just came across a simple, two word sentence that made me think critically about what I'm doing on WorldCat.org. And what I'm doing on WorldCat.org is helping to build better list tools, better profiles and helping to introduce new capabilities like tagging, reviews and ratings.
Right now you might be asking: So what? And that's the sentence I came across when reading Storytelling in Organizations. "So what?" What does it mean to build a Web site that lets people find things in tens of thousands of libraries around the world? What story will make people care about what we are doing here?
There's the obvious: We're making information even more accessible than it already is. But I don't think that's the Big Idea, and I don't think that is a compelling story.
David Lankes, a librarian, has talked and written about how a library is really involved in a conversation with the people that visit it, that is it's patrons ... you. The conversation revolves around the things you read, watch and listen to. The conversation takes place in many ways, what you talk about over dinner, in your school or at work. This is, admittedly, an over simplified perspective of David's deep body of work; but it serves me well in thinking about libraries as an integral part of our communities.
So when we talk about the tings we read and watch and listen to, we create new relevance to these things we find in libraries. Each time you tell someone about the CD you checked out from the library you provide new context for that library.
The Web is great for telling stories and having conversations. The Web amplifies these conversations. You stories can grow by just sharing a list of things that help you complete a project or learn a new skill or just past some time.
That's my "So what?" I come to work to help build things that help other people share their experiences and interests. Does that seem far fetched? Take a look at a few of my lists. I think you'll understand a little about my story. If that story has any relevance to your own, we might be able to start a conversation.
(I can't publish this without at least a nod to Ministry's 'So What'.)