Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Case Study No. 1324: Chris Breitenbach

8 Hours At The Reference Desk In 30 Seconds
First attempt with using iTimeLapse app. The first and third weekend of every month I get to play Reference Librarian at the Morton Grove Public Library. I set it up to take a picture every 30 seconds and let it go from 9 am when my shift started, to a little after 5:00 pm when it ended. Had I bit more creativity, I now realize it would have been better if I brought a couple of Abby and Megan's little figurines and had them dancing in a brief interlude.
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Added: 3 years ago
From: chrisbreitenbach
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[video is comprised of sped-up footage featuring a male librarian sitting at the reference desk, alternately typing at his computer and answering questions on the telephone]



One of the quirkier essays/papers included in Library as Place explores "the meaning of library space in the life of the mind." The essay, Stimulating Space, Serendipitous Space: Library as Place in the Life of the Scholar, written by Karen Antell and Debra Engel, reminded me of this unconscious emotional connection we have to place. They write that scholars deeply value "the physical library, often for intangible but nonetheless crucial reasons such as 'conduciveness to scholarship.'" Concerning this nebulous "conduciveness" the authors write:

This theme is where our results got interesting. "Conduciveness to scholarship" was different from other themes because it revealed how scholars used library space independently of library resources.

So, it's not because the library offers a myriad of information resources, the books, the databases, the eager reference desk librarian--it's something else that brings scholars to the library to do their work. Something that, according to the scholars the authors interviewed, helped them to channel their minds and allowed for them to have a "dialogue" with their resources. Something conducive.

And not just for the old timers. The young scholars, too. You might think they'd conduct their research wherever they could get a decent WiFi connection. That sitting at home in their pajamas, accessing online databases and texting their peers would be more conducive. Not so.

"Contrary to all expectations," the authors write, "we found that younger scholars, by both age and scholarly age, were far more likely than older scholars to comment on the physical library's conduciveness to scholarship."

The library put them in an "academic attitude," helped to "increase their attention," it was, in fact, highly conducive, a live wire sparking the intellect. What power! The library has the ability, it would seem, to physiologically orient the mind of innumerable scholars over time so as to work optimally when in its embrace.

Well, alright!

Posted by Chris Breitenbach at 4:32 PM

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