Gatekeeper or doorjamb?

There probably isn’t an LIS person out there who doesn’t subscribe to Unshelved.  It’s very public-library skewed but for the most part it picks up on stuff that affects us all in libraryland. It’s clever and oh so cynical – I love it.

Today’s Unshelved really spoke to me. Sometimes I feel like my role here at MPOW is as doorjamb.  That is, I have my metaphorical foot wedged firmly in the ‘door to information’ to stop the students slamming it shut without a second glance.  Much of what I do each day works on the principle of ‘if I build it will they come?’. If the gateway is wedged open, even just a little, I might get a few students who are interested enough to come in and find out what the library is all about (other than repeat borrowing of the text books because they can’t/won’t buy their own).

I am inspired to continue by a series of small victories (remembering we only have 250 students in total), such as:

  • the student who spends the afternoon in here every Thursday studying his business law text so he can use the law dictionary that I bought and put on reference to help him navigate through a complex subject in his third language
  • the two students who come in 2 mornings a week to sit and read the papers for half an hour.  I encourage the students to do as much reading in English as they can so I’m really happy for them to bring coffee in and flick through the papers reading the sports pages.
  • the lecturer who came and asked me for more information about a link I had sent the teaching staff to a business case studies website.  As they never reply when I send stuff out to them I was unsure if any of them ever read any of my emails!
  • the students who take the time and effort to understand (and follow) the very few library rules I have in place
  • the students who have come in to tell me they’ve enjoyed some of the links I put on the library website (that have nothing to do with libraries and everything to do with engaging with students)

So, for those people, the doorjamb is there, firmly wedged in place.  My brief when I started at MPOW was to get more students using the library and it’s services.  I’m getting there.

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