Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Blog Post 5- Actually, Thommy Should Be Gloating In His Grave

This may be cheating, I'm not sure, so feel free to let me know if you think I'm cheating with this blog post. If you read my previous post, then you know a little bit about the Thomas Ford Memorial Library and its Website. Well, this post goes a little further than the Website, because I am also impressed with all of the things the TFML is doing besides just having a great Website. I would've included this in my other post, but then it would've been way too long; and that would be, as my hero Jeanette Winterson once said (about people who write books with over 200 pages), "just mean."


So, TFML is really putting itself out there. I first found out about TFML from their Flickr page, where they had uploaded several pictures to advertise what they're about and what they're doing. TFML has pictures of books from the collection, pictures of posters advertising their reading programs, pictures of their frogs, pictures from their booksale, etc. They also have a set of pictures of readers with a poster of Thommy Ford in different cities, states, and countries of the world, which is just one more way for readers to get involved and be a part of something (I kind of think of it as patrons and the library sharing an inside joke). The way the TFML has set up their Flickr page provides another great opportunity for the library and its community to stay in touch with each other- it's a presence that offers a possibly lighter side to the library. AND they have a link on their Website to their Flickr page, which seems logical but I've been noticing that not all libraries do this.


Besides lending books, TFML also lends IPods and/or audiobooks. There is a list of the audiobooks currently available on the Website under the link "Books on IPod" on the right side of the page. Patrons can come in and borrow the MP3 and put it on their IPod, or borrow both the MP3 and the IPod. The list seems pretty impressive to me, a nice variety of books. And it's so important for libraries to not only offer the audiobooks, but the devices to play them as well. Also, if you're a little bit confused about how this service works, TFML offers a great FAQ page regarding the IPods and audiobooks. It seems like there's also a way to reserve both IPods and audiobooks if they're not available when you want them, so you can at least know when you'll get to borrow them.


Or, if you have any questions about using the audiobooks, IPods, or about anything else, you could email your question, or IM your question. TFML has three IM accounts: AOL, Yahoo!, and MSN.


And last but not least, TFML uses RSS to send their information to you. They have several different RSS feeds to choose from like a feed for what's new, a feed for the current bookmarks, a feed for "this week at TFML," and specific feeds for kids and teens like a podcast of "clickastory" (a podcast of a story read by a TFML librarian), and a podcast of book, CD, and movie reviews for teens. There are a lot more, but I felt that this was a good example of the exciting variety that they offer. TFML makes it really easy to be lazy, and still be involved with the library. They also offer an easy to understand step-by-step instructional page on how to set up a Bloglines account or other aggregator account to receive the RSS feeds. They make it sound so simple and useful, and not scary at all.

I am just absolutely astounded by the TFML and how it is using every means possible to put itself out there in order to invite others to visit any of the spaces they occupy, whether it's the Flickr page, Website, or an RSS feed. They've made everything that they're doing seem flawless and easy, although maybe that always hasn't been the case. I feel like TFML is an excellent example of how libraries need to adapt and think of themselves as not only limited to their physical space, but as an idea that can promote the things happening in the physical space through other media and technologies, and all of these spaces can work together to create one giant "library" with arms reaching out and connecting to other "libraries" and "communities."


Blogger Katie said...

Definitely no cheating involved here! These 2 posts about the Thomas Ford Memorial Library are excellent! I agree with you that this library is a role model for other public libraries in its seemless integration of technology with "traditional" library services. It kind of makes me wish I lived in its library district!

4:10 PM  
Blogger EBB-Texan said...

Wow! What a great resource this library is. Thanks for the excellent post and information!

5:19 PM  
Blogger LeighTRad said...

I love the "Click-a-Story" on the TMFL website - what a great idea! Thanks so much for bringing this awesome library site to us. And I have to agree with Katie - definitely no cheating.

9:36 AM  

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