Geek Capture

My MacBookPro desktop dictionary widget says a “geek” is “a person with an eccentric devotion to a particular interest”. Welcome to my people. Librarians are famous for having an eccentric devotion to their profession. Therefore it was not surprising to see OCLC harness the geekery with their new PR campaign Geek the Library that they have rolled out in Iowa and Georgia and have overarching plans for the rest of the country. One might think that my colleagues in libraryland would be absolutely tickled however the site has been met with mixed reviews from the library blogosphere. There is fear that declaring ones geekery in a subject cannot translate to library support both Jessamyn West and Sonoran Dragon make good points here and there is ongoing dialog on Library and Information Science News that echoes concern. Others are rather proud like Bobbi Newman who actually lives in one of the representative States.

My Impression of the Site

The first thing that hits you upon entering the site is it’s beauty, very slick. Libraries are unfortunately not able to present themselves with this kind of visual eloquence very often. However, next I found myself wondering what the purpose of the site was, it is shamefully not obvious and the top left hand button (the first place my eye went) does not take you to library information but a “what do you geek?” page that is fun but not about libraries. One has to be willing to click around a bit more to get to the reason the website is in existence. Personally it is this design flaw that irks me most and I would venture to guess that their analytics will tell them that is the first click on the site, was that intentional? If so how do they expect to get their PR message across? Are they making assumptions that people will click some more? It is my opinion that the purpose of the site should be gracefully smacking us in the face before we click on anything.

Popular Culture R Us

Am I too much of an NPR fan or is it not over the top to believe that being a “geek” has become a relatively acceptable term to be tagged with? It is this belief that makes me much less bothered with the idea of being a geek as the centerpoint of their campaign as some of my colleagues in libraryland. I can see how OCLC would think that people may aspire to be a geek on some level if they do not feel that way about themselves already (and let’s just get over using “geek” as a verb shall we, English lives, let’s let it grow).

Go with (insert diety of choice here) OCLC

I say good on you OCLC! This campaign is brand new and bound to have a few wrinkles that need to be ironed out. I think that libraries get far less PR than they need due to lack of funding (frequently caused by lack of PR, oh the vicious circle) and if OCLC has the ability, for whatever probably monetary reason, to pick up the ball and run with it I will not complain. In fact, I welcome this campaign to my poor practically bankrupt State of California. And for the record “I Geek Muay Thai Kickboxing!”