I sometimes get asked why I chose the name bumsonseats for my blog and twitter. I am not sure I have ever explained it in writing, so here it is:
It came out of a conversation with then-colleagues, about what a library is for and that maybe it should not all be about “bums on seats”, i.e. statistics and numbers. Libraries are about so much more than the visible statistics and measurable results, especially public libraries.
For example, when I worked in a public reference library the Reading Room housed the newspapers, alongside the business, health and careers resources. This of course attracted all sorts of people; from businessman or student to homeless woman – and they all had their individuals needs and reasons to be there. Some never took out any books or asked any questions, which meant they didn’t contribute to our statistics. But they might have also had nowhere else to spend the day and be around other people, so were grateful that someone was there to listen to their stories or that there was a selection of newspapers to read, and that they had a place to keep safe (and warm and dry). How do you measure that?
Of course, it isn’t ideal to lump the newspaper room in with the reference library as the reference department loses its focus that way, but that’s a different matter that I won’t get into here.
Growing a library
My blog title came out of the (in my opinion) need to change the approach to the department I was working in at the time of starting this blog, and tending to the exisiting resources a bit better. Like you would with a delicate plant that you want to survive.