Alchemical Thoughts

Thinking about local information

Posted on: May 2, 2008

I always thought that a librarian should be pretty knowledgeable when it comes to his or her local community. Public librarians tend to be better at this than academic librarians. However, I think it should be all librarians. And yet, for me, keeping up with the local stuff is not easy, and I don't have much of an incentive to do so. When I worked at UHD, which was right in the city downtown, at least knowing where some of the local agencies and resources were was helpful. Here, I don't get many locals wandering in asking where the homeless shelter is. Yes, there are some homeless in Tyler, just not as many as in a big city like Houston. Here in Tyler we have our colleague who is a local historian, and she pretty much knows just about anything. A part of me wonders if we could somehow distill her knowledge so we could share in it After all, if she retires, her knowledge would go with her. This goes along with the idea of institutional memory, which is something I have given thought to here and there, but as usual, time keeps me from giving it more than a cursory thought.

Anyhow, the reason I find myself thinking about it again is this post I read from the Eclectic Librarian where she is making notes of a CiL 2008 session on "Going Local in the Library." Here is the part that caught my attention:

"Local blogs also provide information about communities, so creating a local blog directory might be useful."

Now, wouldn't that be a cool idea? To get together a decent list of local bloggers, link to them someplace on your library website, maybe in the same spot you have other local information links? A little more from the post:

"Most local sites are generated by passionate individuals. Libraries, which are not revenue generating sources anyway, are better poised to take on the responsibility of aggregating and generating local information. Particularly since we’re already in the role of information provision.

Libraries can be the lense into local information."

It would be a way for us to become more involved in the community. It would something I would love to do, but then the old usual issue comes: it is yet another thing to add to the already full plate. But I think this could be a good reference asset.

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