New this year is QR codes on game code posters, so if you have the right app you can snap photos of game codes and redeem them quickly. Let me see if I can't rig up something here to demonstrate that.
QR codes on Code Signs! If you have a smartphone, get a QR code reader, because we've actually found something QR codes are good for! You can still type in the codes too, it's just a shortcut.
Also new this year is that several members of library staff have their own game codes, which they will happily give you upon request (or better yet they'll volunteer that they have them.) I've done 2 at 500 points each so far!
EveryLibrary is a newly formed political action committee formed to promote libraries, with the specific goal of promoting votes for the millages that support libraries. From their web site:
In each campaign, EveryLibrary will engage with the local library community to determine our best level and type of involvement. We work best for you when we work with you. Help make sure every type of library is supported at the ballot box.
The Ann Arbor District Library has a measure on the November 2012 ballot to vote in a millage to build a new downtown library building. I think it would be a great project and I'm wholeheartedly supporting it.
The main pro-library campaign site is OurNewLibrary.com which lays out the costs of the new structure ($65 million to be paid for over 30 years) and the cost to the taxpayer (0.56 mills).
One of the big issues with the current library is just how underequipped it is to host functions and events. I squeezed Library Camp into the building in 2006, and it was a stretch even to get 40 or so people into the usable parts of the building for small group meetings. Downtown meeting space is scarce already - see the Arborwiki "Places to have a meeting" page to see just how hard it is to find a spot to gather a group together in a public space.
Library architecture has changed a lot since the 1950s, when the first part of the downtown AADL building was built. There have been two additions to the original building since then, but nothing to replace the aging mechanical systems.
Look for more here as the vote date gets closer. The campaign has yard signs -- people can email email@example.com to request one.
UPDATED with yard sign information and a graphic from the yard sign art.
The Ann Arbor District Library has a super-cool new music tools collection, and so I checked out a Korg Monotron Delay from the library today and was making frog and cricket and space-age noises tonight. They check out for a week. Fun!
At the moment, there are "no copies available and 130 requests on 7 copies" - if the library is true to form, that means they will be getting a few more to circulate. The catalog record includes a quick start comic with instructions, from Anne and Jerzy Drozd.
Here's a compilation of "ask a librarian" services in 12 of 50 states, and as many countries as I could find. Whenever possible, these will have a (verified) note by them, signifying that I was able to ask and receive an answer to a reference question.
This is a work in progress.
Library of CongressAsk A Librarian (Library of Congress). Organized by reading room; several have chat based help available, others are via email or phone. "The primary mission of the Library of Congress is to serve Members of the Congress and thereafter, the needs of the government, other libraries, and members of the public. The Library's staff will respond to reference and information requests in accordance with this mission."
Michigan. University of Michigan Ask A Librarian. "Ask a Librarian is tailored to the research needs of UM students, staff and faculty, but any one can inquire about specific UM library resources and services. You can connect to a librarian by IM, email, phone or in person, and now, via text message." Call [+1-734-764-9373] for general reference and reference referrals, or text to +1 734 531 9275.
Michigan. Michigan State University Ask A Librarian. Call 1.800.500.1554 or 517.353.8700. A Reference Librarian is available by phone during hours when the Main Library Reference Desk is open. Reference also available by text message and by chat 24/7.
Oregon. L-Net. Statewide cooperative online reference by chat, text, email; uses KnowItNow.org. An L-Net weblog for staff shows the behind the scenes detail of managing the service.
Washington. Ask a Librarian - Washington State Library. "We are here to answer your questions about Washington state government, history, culture, the federal government, and genealogy. We have an extensive collection of Washington newspapers, state publications, federal publications, and other sources for information." Answers delivered by email; obituaries may take as many as 6 weeks.
Thanks to Julie Weatherbee, Michelle G, Lou Rosenfeld, Eli Neiburger, John Blyberg, Peter Morville, Jessamyn West, Billy Barron, Sam, Caleb and many others for help in putting this list together.
Telephone numbers will be marked up as specified in RFC 3966, if I can manage it.
Once you have signed up, you can get points for doing a whole set of library-related activities. Checking out books, reading them, reviewing or rating them, and adding them to published lists all give you credit. There's also points to be scored for visiting library branches, attending events, and reading and commenting on the web site.
Essentially, almost any measure that the library might be able to count and use in national surveys of library use - here's a sample set of survey data from IMLS - have some game-related scoring attached. As points accumulate, they can be traded in for gifts that are funded by the friends group. Nothing is worth very much, so the competitive aspect stays in the realm of gameplay and doesn't go off into Bitcoin-style real money that would prompt you to set up a bot army to review books for you.
I can imagine any organization that's measured by external metrics using an internal gaming system to trigger behavior that shows up when overall counts are done at the end of some accounting period. AADL had to cope with some of the point structures being not quite correct - for instance, the number of points you got for making reviews was reduced ("nerfed") because the incentive was too good.
Libraries make excellent systems to add this to because in a typical system there's so much unexplored inventory of books that there would be no worry about too many reviews. I recall a similar gameplay within Epinions more than a decade ago that somehow prompted me to write 46 reviews, including this 1999 review of their incentive system - which was a moderately lucrative game in dot-com era dollars.
I don't write in the Superpatron weblog as much as I once did, but every so often there's so much library information in the news that I want to at least put a finger on what's happening before it floats downstream.
Borders Books and its rapid decline. I'm not even sure where to start thinking about how many ex-Borders people I know, and how to reconcile the current sad state of the bookstore chain in 2011 with my memories of Borders Store #1 as the platonic ideal of a bookstore in 1986. 25 years have not been kind to the retail book trade.
Paul Courant on the University of Michigan's decision to offer digitized orphan works for on-campus access: "These works were written to be read, and we now have the means to increase the chances that they will be read."
Dictionaries and wiki. A piece I wrote about wiki as a link language got me to thinking about how technical dictionaries are structured and how tremendously useful it is to have a handy glossary for jargon. The challenge is to figure out which set of jargon you are looking at right now, and which compact handbook helps decode it best.
Echo chambers. How much of your reading is only from works written for people who read other things you are reading? Here's Portlandia's Did You Read? sketch.
Flooding at the Minot, North Dakota library. A photo shows the status on Thursday, June 23, 2011, and the water is projecte to rise further.
Google newspaper project. It started in 2008 to great fanfare, announcing a goal to make "billions of pages of newsprint from around the world searchable, discoverable, and accessible online." It ended in 2011 with about 60 million pages digitized; no new works will be put online, but the existing collection will stay intact.
How to search the shelves in the Ann Arbor District Library catalog for adjacent books. Find the call number you are looking for; the corresponding search is http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/callnum/303.483. Note however that the call number is not hyperlinked from the book record page; to get it visible, either paste it into a search box, or add the book to a list and pull it from the list. Adjacent books in similar classifications can be found by truncating the call number and putting in a wildcard "*" character in the place of the extra digits.
Internet addiction and books that address it. The aforementioned 303.483 classification is full of books that urge, implore, and plead the reader to go offline long enough to finish the book. I love the idea of the Internet Sabbath, enforced by a hardware store timer that turns off your modem at sundown on Friday.
Juxtaposition. In the absence of visiting a new books shelf at your local bookstore (cf. Borders above), how do you look for new items in your library's catalog? For the AADL catalog, do whatever search you'd normally do, and then select sort by "just added".(e.g. http://www.aadl.org/catalog/search/callnum/303.483&sort=catalog_newest). Nothing really beats browsing the new book shelves - just figure out which call numbers routinely have your favorites.
Today, law libraries risk becoming a 7-11, where one vendor comes in and fills up the donut case, another stocks the ATM, and your job is all about managing vendors and answering an occasional query from a customer. (Full text, 9 pg PDF).
Is there more to write? Of course - that's like asking if there's more to read.
Fasteners of dissimilar appearance were also developed to answer the objection to the paper-piercing points altogether.
The image is from patent 1,523,861, which illlustrates one of many improvements on the "Gem" paper clip still in use today. Modern patents are crazy complicated as the patent attorneys have figured out how to patent all kinds of abstractions, but if the first digit starts with 1 there's bound to be a drawing that would make a nice coloring exercise for your mechanical thinker.