The false-consensus effect refers to people’s tendency to assume that others share their beliefs and will behave similarly in a given context. Only people who are very different from them would make different choices. You Are Not the User: The False-Consensus Effect

Do you know who probably spends the most time on your library’s website?

You do. The library’s staff.

I don’t simply mean that the staff might be gazing at it all day long while they are on their work computers. Even if that were true (of course it isn’t), library patrons still wouldn’t likely be the primary…

Let’s start this discussion with a question:

Is library staff important?

Your first response may be along the lines of “Of course they’re important! Staff is the most important resource a library has to offer its community. Much of the value of a library is lost without its trained staff to assist patrons!”

Don’t worry; I’m not arguing with you. I’d agree with that assessment completely. To be honest, it’s sort of a rhetorical question, for the purposes of this conversation. I’d expect no less from anyone who knows anything about libraries. Without staff, libraries would be a chaotic collection…


If you were to ask me which page of a website library staff spend the most mental energy on, the answer would be easy: the homepage. Why?

  • The library website is often the default homepage for many staff and even on many public computers.
  • When it comes to designing/redesigning a library website, the most emphasis is usually placed on the question “What goes on the homepage?”
  • For years, usability experts have extolled the value of the homepage as a site’s most valuable real estate.

Yes, the website’s homepage is important. But it’s not nearly as mission-critical as many staff think…

Because you’re not getting much work done anyway (2020 edition)
Because you’re not getting much work done anyway (2020 edition)

Let’s face it: 2020 has been a serious dumpster fire and the more distractions, the better. In that vein, here are some of my favorites from this year. Happy holidays.

For as long as I’ve been writing about social media, one of the most common questions I’ve gotten is:

“What do we measure?”

Social media experts have been debating that question, well…probably longer than I’ve been writing about social media.

For many libraries, administrators have often focused on the number of likes and comments. Granted, these metrics are easy to track. But that’s part of the problem: many engagement metrics, especially likes, represent a very low level of actual engagement on the part of a post’s viewer.

Mark W. Schaefer, in his book The Content Code, contended even back in…

For the past couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a small, selective cohort of library staff from public libraries in Tennessee. Each week, we look at important concepts in social media and content marketing, and then review their assignments, which are based on the previous week’s concepts. It’s been a great experience, and my hope is that the attendees learned enough to shift their mindsets: from hollering into the digital void, to saying things people actually want to hear.

In that vein, I’d like to share the following things that will help you make that same…

I do a good number of presentations and webinars, both for my day job and for other library-related organizations. Some of those might come under the broad heading of “emerging technology.”

A couple of years ago, I was asked to do a series of this type of workshop for an out-of-state consortium. When the evaluations came back to me a few weeks afterwards, I got very good marks as a presenter, but some comments threw me for a loop. A common complaint was that the technology topics I covered were not being used in libraries. I was stunned.

Can we…

Last week, I received an email from a library where the staff were concerned about the amount of scrolling needed to see all of the different databases. There’s at least two major problems inherent in that (misplaced) concern: let’s break them down quickly.

  1. Believing that scrolling is bad dates back to the late 90's/early 00’s, before the advent of mobile devices (not to mention actual data on user behaviors and best usability practices). Back then, lots of scrolling was believed to be inconvenient, and there was a great battle to get as much as possible “above the fold.” We now…

Happy holidays! It’s time for my annual collection of Online Stuff To Waste Time On. You know, in case you needed help not getting your work done.

Laura Solomon

Web developer, librarian and certified cynic.Not hindered by an overabundance of political correctness.(Postings are my own, not necessarily workplace's views.)

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