Jun 29, 2009

an open letter to the Lacey Timberland Library

Dear Lacey Timberland Library,

This morning I was sad to see that you've taken away the biggest nerd-magnet in the library, the New Non-Fiction Shelf, and replaced it with... nothing. As a reference librarian somewhat wistfully explained to me, new nonfiction is now shelved among the old, and marked with a tiny orange sticker, so if you're wondering what's fresh in the Dewey decimals, you have to take a largely random stroll through countless stacks. That's inefficient, inelegant, and inconvenient.

But I'm not going to complain without offering a solution. If the old way is forever gone, at least offer an easy access point, in the library and on the website, to new materials. One easily found link--"What's New in Your Library!"--connected to data particularized for a preferred location, and, most important, on the front page, not buried three nonintuitive clicks in. (The RSS-enabled "new nonfiction" list is a step in the right direction, but isn't sortable by library.)

And how about a low-tech supplement: print a list of new books every month, and place it near the nonfiction shelves.

I'll stop there. Free advice is best given in small doses, right?

Your long-time, otherwise satisfied patron,



Mike Kretzler said...

I sent a link to this to my connection in the Timberland Library system.

Jim Anderson said...

Thanks. The Timberland system as a whole is extremely patron-friendly, and their eagerness to allow access to texts and technology is without compare.

Kelsie said...

Hi Jim,
My pal in LALA land sent me a link to this post and here I am! I work in the library and let me tell you, there have been major changes happening all over the place! It is hard work keeping track of them as an employee and I'm sure it's even more confusing to our patrons.

Being a nerdy non-fiction lover myself, I was also pretty bummed about the loss of our new non-fiction shelf.

The basic reasoning behind the change is that we are now sharing materials with every branch in the Timberland system. It used to be that when an item was checked in it would go back to it's home library. Nowadays a book gets checked in and it stays at the library that checks it in. There are a few exceptions to this rule but non-fiction is one of those items that is being shared and thus stays put.

I guess we just didn't have the space to accomodate getting tons of new nonfiction and keeping it on that shelf.

I miss it too, but I did have a pretty good time the other day going to the area of NF that I like, browsing for the orange tape and finding the new stuff. I ended up grabbing some cool older books on the same topic while I was there.

See ya in the stacks!

Jim Anderson said...

Kelsie, thanks for commenting. After following that RSS feed for a few days, I've been amazed by the sheer quantity of new nonfiction, which is awesome, but overwhelming. I really, really hope the RSS end of things (or something like it) becomes the way for patrons to more efficiently navigate the ocean of new material. (The catalog search by date range is about useless.)

Kelsie said...


Happy days are here again! There is once again a New Non-Fiction section in the Lacey Library! It is just about done and it will also feature new biographies.
It is also in a new location, aisle 5, just after the adult reference desk.

A lot of folks did a lot of work to get it to where it is. It looks really great!

Come on in and check it out!


Jim Anderson said...

Kelsie, that's fantastic news. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to the good folks at Lacey TRL for bringing back my favorite feature in the whole library. New nonfiction rock'st!