I just got back from the NELA Conference in Manchester, NH (beautiful time of year to make that drive!) where I blogged for the Library as Commons session. Check out the entire NELA Conf. blog when you get a chance, it's proving to be quite informative.
These conferences are always great places to hear new ideas and meet interesting people. I had lunch with a woman from LIS in Providence, RI. We were bemoaning budget cuts, the inevitability of cutting services, etc., when we got side-tracked and started talking about inter-library loan and World Cat. If I understood her correctly patrons in RI can request a book directly from World Cat and it will be sent to their homes, postage required, of course. I started brainstorming about a way that this service could be offered to all patrons, free of charge. I haven't done any research on this yet, this is all just rumbling around in my head, but wouldn't it be great if libraries could, individually, pay a postage subscription to World Cat and any patron with a library card from that library could get books delivered to their homes for no charge? This would be a great service for shut-ins.
After my day at NELA I have a new wish list for the DFL:
A television in the periodical reading room tuned to MSNBC (or whatever news station), with the volume off, naturally.
Patron-set due dates for materials that they will be using for research or for materials they are planning on taking out of town. This would save some time for the circulation staff with renewals and be excellent customer service. There would have to be exceptions - no new release books or DVDs, no items with holds, or items used for current school projects. But I think it has merit and is worth looking into.
Interactive displays with hand-outs, looped presentations on computers, anything that would make them more exciting than just a table full of books. The displays should also change more frequently. Karen does a nice job with displays in the fiction department and we need to start doing more of it upstairs in the non-fiction section.
I'm looking forward to more NELA tomorrow - wikis and more!