Simply the Best
by Dick Kaser
Sometimes, we think projects have to be huge, expensive, and innovative to make a difference. But more often than not, it’s the simplest, cheapest, and most traditional approaches that produce the needed results most efficiently. In this issue, we focus on relatively simple means to achieve important outcomes.
Take Texas A&M University–Commerce Libraries’ solution to provide better service and reduce staff time in lending out laptops to students by installing kiosks not only in the library but in other key campus locations. In her article, the associate director of libraries, Gail Johnston, runs through the technology and provides tips for succeeding in unmediated equipment loans.
William Chassaing and Emily Thompson, librarians at the University of Tennessee–Chattanooga, found the answer to reducing their queues of students asking for assistance with media creation projects by employing a tried-and-true library instructional method. By preparing a series of one-page tip sheets (aka pathfinders), they were able to handle the most common questions without having to personally answer the same ones over and over again.
Bethanie O’Dell (Emporia State University) shares four websites that can provide help to patrons looking for book recommendations—or make you look brilliant when readers seek advice from you. And grad students from Wayne State University provide an off-the-shelf open source answer to assuring patron privacy online. But, as they advise, you might want to weigh the potential for unintended consequences before you install the Tor browser on your public access computers.
Marshall Breeding gives you practical tips for improving user engagement, and Terence Huwe discusses how you can employ “knowledge hedges” to plan for the future.
As you look for ways to improve things around your library this summer, think light. It doesn’t always take a big budget or a radical new approach to drive change and improve performance.
Dick Kaser, Executive Editor