Just a small update to my post Ask-a-Librarian Services Need a Reboot. There’s been an interesting discussion taking place in the comments to that post, ranging everywhere from telling me I’m “out of touch,” to lots of really cool discussions, to this – one library that I pulled some quotes from actually improved the wording on their Ask a Librarian email page.
I quoted specific wording from 8 public libraries (again, not trying to pick on them – there are many similarly-worded services out there). One of them was the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
One of the commenters, Richard, who indicated he works at “one of the offending libraries” made some very good points (as have others – thanks to everyone who contributed so far!). Today, he posted a comment saying “At least no one can say we’re recalcitrant blockheads. Semantics noted and changed” and provided a link back to Carnegie’s Ask A Librarian page. Go take a look. They have updated (and in my opinion, greatly improved) the wording.
What originally said “Every reasonable attempt will be made by library staff to respond to reference questions within 48 hours … E-mail Reference Questions should be limited to those that have concise, factual answers … Individuals are limited to three Electronic Mail Reference Questions each week” now reads much more digital-native friendly. Some snippets:
- If you prefer using e-mail to communicate with us, we’ll be happy to respond to your requests
- questions are usually answered in the order they’re received
All the stuff about a potential 48 hour turn-around-time, limiting the types of questions, and especially the limit of 3 questions a week is gone.
So – cudos to Pittsburgh!