Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A Visitor from Australia at Thomas Ford

Michelle McLean came to Thomas Ford! If you do not know Michelle, she is the Australian librarian who toured American libraries to learn about their library 2.0 services. She works at the Casey-Cardinia Library Corporation, a public library outside Melbourne, and blogs as connectinglibrarian. At her blog you will find detailed reports on all her library visits and her experiences at the Computers in Libraries conference in Washington, DC.

Thomas Ford was Michelle's last stop. She had already been to Princeton Public, Darien Library, Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, the Ohio Public Library Information Network (OPLIN), Webjunction, St. Joseph County Public Library, Ann Arbor District Library, and Hennepin County Public Library. Looking at all these libraries' websites and reading Michelle's reports would make a good virtual lesson in web services and design. We were honored to be added to the list.

We spent much our time around PCs looking at the front ends and back ends of websites, trading ideas. Several things that we at Thomas Ford want to do include in our redesign:

  • putting news feeds from blogs for each of our primary audiences (youth, teens, and adults) on our new home page
  • let members of our film discussion vote via the web on some upcoming films
  • try a new statistics plug-in
  • write our publicity for upcoming events well in advance and preset it to post at the moment we need to replace publicity as events pass

Our conversations did not stick to libraries all day. We learned that contrary to rumor, Australia is not overrun with poisonous snakes, and it is safe to visit. Koalas sleep most of the time. Winter temperatures are mild. American and Australian suburbs and libraries are much the same.

One difference that Michelle did notice was the U.S. has far fewer independent shops selling music CDs. Big chain stores and the Internet have taken down American music shops but many still remain in Australia. Independent book sellers in Australia are in as much trouble as they are in the U.S.

Michelle said that Australian librarians would like for a lot of us to visit, especially Michael Stephens. Shall we charter a jet?

1 comment:

Michelle McLean said...

I'll meet the plane at the airport, with a crowd in tow!