Friday , January 21 2022

When Seattle is named "Library of the Year," chief librarian Marcellus Turner sees a key role in technology in pandemics

Marcellus Turner, executive director and primary librarian of the Seattle Public Library. (Seattle Public Library Photo)

After this Seattle Public Library was called 2020 Gale / Library Journal Library of the Year This week, executive director and chief librarian Marcellus Turner was thrilled to discuss everything that contributed to the prestigious recognition.

And he was nervous about another honor – choosing to be the newest GeekWire geek of the week.

"It's not that I'm scared of being a geek," said Turner. "I am afraid that I will not live up to the definition of a geek."

Turner doesn't have to worry, as you'll see in his answers below. And like any good director, he quickly appreciates the success of the library to the people he works with every day.

"This award means so much to employees – I call them the organization's 700 ambassadors – because it shows the work they do and for which they work," he said. "I asked them to become the most socially conscious library we could, and they started running."

The library's technical advances in recent years have been well documented – the WLAN hotspots it offers are, for example, the most widespread object in its collection. Technical and digital advances were particularly important when SPL's 27 offices were closed during the coronavirus pandemic.

In one Notice to customers This week, Turner outlined some of the ways the organization continues to serve with enhanced digital resources like e-books and streaming content. virtual story time and lessons; instant digital library cards; Distance learning resources for students; and more.

And while some new digital lessons are being broadcast and will continue to apply after the stores reopen, Turner has continued to look ahead and what role technology will play in services.

"We're working on a major project at SPL called" Future Readying Your Library, "" he said of a program that goes well beyond whether there will be fewer books and more digital content.

"That's not my concern. I'm worried about the following:" What will AI do with our job? How will education affect our job? What will climate change do for our system? "Said Turner." There is these troublemakers and that's how I get my excitement and energy. Libraries can either be left behind or find out how to take it. "

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Find out more about the geek of the week this week, Marcellus Turner:

What are you doing and why are you doing this? I am the executive director and chief librarian of the Seattle Public Library. I do this for several reasons, but one of them is that I really like to be a librarian. I believe that it is a service and I believe in the service. In my view, it is an essential need to help people improve themselves. And I'm a director because I enjoy working with employees to drive the programs and services they want to see. I like setting a vision for a library or organization and then inspiring them to achieve it.

What is the most important thing that people should know about your area of ​​expertise? It's so well known and worn out, but I wouldn't be sure if I didn't say it. That means we don't read as often as we would like. People assume that we can read all the time. I think the other one is: “Are books going away? Isn't everything on the Internet? "And the answer to most of them is," No, books don't go away. It's not all on the internet. "

Where do you get your inspiration from? If you ask me, where can I find inspiration for our work? I love watching and watching other industries. My favorites are grocery stores, department stores, airports and hotels. I want to see how people treat their customers. If you treat your customers well, they will love your product. Here I am inspired by what our library will do and where we will go.

What is the only technology you couldn't live without and why? It's everyone's answer, but I couldn't live without my phone. I couldn't live without my microwave either, but I really couldn't live without my phone. The best function is the alarm because I only set alarms for virtual meetings every day.

Inside the Seattle Central Library in downtown Seattle. (GeekWire Photo / Kurt Schlosser)

What does your work area look like and why does it work for you? I go to work about two or three times a week and I have a work area at work and a work area at home. In all of the virtual meetings and everything, I've set up my laptop and workspace so that when I show or open my video, the corner of the ceiling appears where the two walls and ceiling meet. That is all I would give everyone access to!

Your best tip or trick for managing daily work and everyday life. (Help us, we need it.) I started running recently and that really gave me the ability to walk up and down and relax, and the tip connects to others. I come from the south and lived on the east coast. So I use this time every day to talk and connect with friends.

Mac, Windows or Linux? Windows.

Kirk, Picard or Janeway? Picard.

What are you reading? I read a lot of things. I have two books that I checked out before closing: "The Nickle Boys" by Colson Whitehead and I'm a very big "Top Chef" fan and I read "Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Reminder" by Kwame Onwuachi.

Favorite author? David Baldacci. I really like him.

Digital or printed books? Both, although I've been printing lately. Digital is a medium that I enjoy, I just don't research it as well. I think if I carry the (physical) book, I will be forced to read it.

Brick-and-Mortar bookstore or Amazon? I have to stand up for the indie bookstores because I want these businesses to thrive. I believe in them that they still give you the opportunity to browse. The best part of reading is finding this book. You can see the book and judge the book by its cover. But there's nothing like Amazon's convenience – convenience and technology are our biggest threats to the service.

What is your favorite seat in the Seattle Central Library? There are a few favorite places. My favorite floor is the red floor because it is a surprise for everyone. When I give tours, I somehow save it at the end because it just confuses them to see it. On level seven, there is an unexpected place where a person can search for books through the shelf. Then you will find a place where you can just sit and nobody knows that the seating is available. I love that.

Transporter, time machine or cloak of invisibility? Do you know what a cloak of invisibility would give a black man right now? I'm not trying to make it political, it only represents time. … A cape of invisibility has to be the coolest. Do you know where you could be They could get up on the plane if they told everyone else to sit down. You could go to a restaurant and eat something. I could be outside after curfew.

I once waited in line for … 3 1/2 hours for Franklin BBQ in Austin, Texas, in the sun. And I got there at 7 a.m. It wasn't that great, but it was good. I love trying food. It was worth it. I also stand in line for the Seattle International Film Festival every year.

Your role models: First of all, I would say my parents. After that, I'll make obvious decisions for you. I think President Obama was very cool under pressure and he had the ability to connect with people. Oprah Winfrey has the ability to connect with people and say the right things at the right time. And Gayle King on CBS. She was able to connect with some of the most important interviews she conducted in a way that expressed people's interest. They all have the characteristic that people feel good, and I like doing that.

The greatest game in history: I am a big basketball fan for women. Any game in which the University of Connecticut loses is the best game. In addition, my mother always loved Chinese Checkers and I enjoyed playing with her.

Current phone: I think it's an 8. I'm very loyal to the brand and have been using Sprint for 35 years. It broke my heart when they merged with T-Mobile.

Favorite app: GoPee or RunPee. It shows you when you can leave a movie to go to the bathroom and it shows you what happened during that time.

Favorite cause: I try to support local concerns for every city I live in.

Most important technology of 2020: I have to go back to the phone because it is constantly evolving to accommodate everything we think is necessary.

Most important technology from 2022: Something that takes us back to something simple. The printed book.

Last advice for your fellow freaks: Let the world see you. They will be happy to have met you.

Website: Seattle Public Library

About Corrie Donnelly

Corrie Donnelly is a computer engineer originally born in Germany. He was writing articles about technology and computer games for websites.

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