Top 3 trends in public libraries today

There’s always so much to think about in public libraries today, but if I could consider the top three trends, I would say:

1. Collaboration is huge. We are busy meeting the public’s information needs in different, more dynamic, more effective ways now, and it’s all about collaboration. Ask yourself, what does the fire department and the library have in common? Then decide: both are involved in public awareness of fire prevention. Then decide together on a booth, a display, a night where the fire chief comes and speaks at the library, on safety in the home, or whatever else may come into play. People can have fun with this one, it can be sort of like solving a riddle. Better yet, use your long range plan to decide with whom to collaborate (first choice, actually).

2. We are retooling our library spaces to be much more customer oriented. We enjoy style, adequate space for people to meet or work or just relax, ample lighting, views of the outdoors, maybe even something to nibble on while we’re there. Though I only have a couple of grievances with Melvil Dewey, he is now old school in favor of bisac (bookstore model) cataloging.

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Library Collaboration

Collaborative undertakings must have:

  •  Distributed benefits – more is accomplished jointly than could be individually
  • Common, new goals
  • Commitment from the organizations’ leaders
  • Well-defined relationships
  • Planning, including goals, objectives, activities, and measures of success
  • Mutual risk
  • Shared resources or jointly contracted

What are Friends for?

When I think of Friends of the Library I think of collaboration. What are Friends of the Library groups for?

  • Public, academic. school, and special libraries. No one’s too obscure or too high powered to have Friends.
  • Supporting and benefiting the library community
  • Service
  • Connecting with others in the business world
  • Public relations
  • Advocacy
  • Community involvement
  • Literacy promotion, especially in school Friends groups
  • Fund raising

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