Today's the day! It finally arrived! And I'm VERY excited!
And why, you may ask, am I so excited? Because today is Slam the Boards! day. This is the day that all you reference librarians out there are supposed to go to various online answer sites and start answering questions. A kind reader sent this to me, and since the organizer of this little event wants everyone to pass on the news, I'm doing just that. You all know how I like to do the profession a good turn.
So here's the plan from the horse's mouth, as it were:
"Slam the Boards!
Librarians invade the "Answer" sites
Monday, 9/10/07--All Day
Supporting Wiki: http://answerboards.wetpaint.com
I'd like to invite any and all interested librarians to be a little bold and have a little fun by going to online "Answer" sites, such as:
* Yahoo Answers
* Amazon's Askville
* The WikiPedia Reference Desk
(see a list of others at http://answerboards.wetpaint.com/page/Registry+of+Answer+Boards?mail=1127)
Once there, let's answer!"
These librarians are so enthusiastic. "Let's answer!" That's sweet. It does my old heart good to see some fresh young public reference librarian so peppy and enthusiastic, exhibiting a fresh warm glow of excitement before being crushed by reality. I wish I could maintain that level of pep and enthusiasm without medication. If only exclamation points were enough.
At first, I thought, Wow! This is great. This really shows the commitment of reference librarians. This is just another way to demonstrate an obvious truth - that reference librarians would be out there answering questions even if nobody paid them! Often this truth is demonstrated by the salaries many reference librarians get, which usually show that they are charitable folk excited to fulfill the world's information needs without expecting mere monetary rewards.
But then I got a shock. It's not just about answering questions. That would be too altruistic. This isn't about librarians just answering questions for the fun of it. No, this time they want something!
"I envision a day-long answer fest. Answer as many questions as you feel you can. 5...10...20...you decide. Just try to do what we do well--provide answers from authoritative resources.
...and then MARKET!
This means making it clear that this question was answered by a librarian/library professional/etc. End each answer with the mention your own library, your VR service, etc. Add the link. Mention that readers should consider their own libraries, too. Promote it to local media. Keep in mind how many people don't even realize that libraries offer reference services. Let's surprise and delight them with our quality."
Wow! Marketing! Now this really is exciting. I really do wish I could take part in this "answer fest." And the organizer would like everyone to participate. "I'd like hundreds of librarians to do this. Thousands? Why not?"
I sure wish I could "slam those boards." It would remind me of that abortive attempt to learn karate when I was in junior high. And I used to be a dab hand at reference myself, so I could probably do a good job board-slamming. Unfortunately, it's Monday, which means I have work to do. But I can dream.
Besides this little promotional, perhaps I could help in some way. Maybe I could pose some questions on those answer sites and see if any librarians answer them. Then, I could help evaluate the effectiveness of these librarians by analyzing their answers on the AL. Now that really would be exciting!