Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Basics

There are things we all take for granted and assume to be basic, shared cultural knowledge. The sun rises in the... east. Water flows... downhill. Fires are... hot.

When giving presentations on library resources, I don't want to spend valuable time discussing what everyone already knows. The problem, as it turns out, is what we in library land assume to be basic, shared knowledge is not always shared as widely as we think.

Case in point: I was recently hanging out with family and friends as we watched the super blood harvest moon lunar eclipse a few nights ago. The particular friend I was sitting next to as we sipped our beer and watched the moon do its thing is the president of a company headquartered in Florida but with production plants all over the country. As his position dictates, he spends a fair amount of time traveling. Also, as his position dictates, he's an audiobook fan. Seeing a seamless sales opportunity, I gave him the full rundown on our downloadable audiobook scene, complete with instructions on how to set up his account, download the app to his phone, search for titles, how the content would just automatically disappear after three weeks with no overdue charges or lost fees but he could renew them if he wanted, how to request a title not currently in our collection, yada, yada, yada.

He was duly impressed and after a few moments of moongazing, his question was this: How much does it cost?

Insert stunned silence on my part.

Now, this guy is a sharp, intelligent, well-educated, witty and wordly fellow. He knows a lot of stuff about a lot of stuff. But he didn't know that his library's services and products are FREE. As in already paid for. Zilch. Nada. 100% off sale all day everyday.

The very basis of what I do is provide free stuff. I assume that everyone knows that. But as it turns out, I'm now going to be spending 25 seconds in every presentation making sure that everyone in the room knows the basics. Otherwise, I'm just staring at the moon with my mouth hanging open. 

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