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.
Here are some thoughts I have gathered, some from professional literature, some from blogs, some straight from my own heart.
We are talking about reference and how it is changing in UPLIFT this week: August 15 at the Utah State Library & August 17 2012 in Ephraim, at the Karen A. Hunstman Library on the Snow College campus. Thanks, Jon Ostler, for being so accommodating to the public library directors and others who are coming on campus.
Reference and Services Trends in Public Libraries
- Traditional reference work is less relevant to the needs of users
- Rather than worrying about reference’s demise, many librarians have been energized by their newly expanded roles
- Reconfigured or eliminated reference desks
- Consolidated desks and services Continue reading
1. Yesterday’s library reference was all about looking in books.
Today’s reference is all about finding the resources the people need, wherever it’s found.
2. Yesterday’s reference was all about what was housed in the library building. Today’s reference includes online services and digital resources.
3. Yesterday’s reference was all about getting information.
Today’s reference is also about helping people create and share information.
4. Yesterday’s reference was about term papers for students.
Today’s reference is also about multimedia projects for them.
5. Yesterday’s reference was all about being copyright enforcers.
Today’s reference is about being intellectual property counselors.
Nostalgia washes through me about the Utah State Library for the Blind’s loss of their Radio Reading Service, effective April 2010.
Sure, it may be an outmoded idea, not really a 21st Century Idea. And sure, the State of Utah has huge budget cuts and we need to keep a balanced budget. And sure, I support our Governor Herbert and our legislature on keeping a balanced budget. After all, we try to do that at home and it seems to be workin’.
I especially support USL admin for doing their homework and finding the least used service, since we can’t keep them all in these tight times. Hopefully one day we’ll be back to the days we had pre-recession. I’m all for that.
Moreover, many people may have given up the radio for something zestier like facebook, like twitter, like Salt Lake Tribune online, who has thoughtfully written an article about it.
Colleen: Thanks so much for the great workshops, and for all that USL does for rural libraries. Our library is looking better and serving better than ever before! Thanks again for all you do. I will end with that note about the benefits of the web and workshops.
Garland City does not have a web site yet. We are rural and behind the times. Because USL provided the means for our Library to have a web site, the city now has access to information through the Garland Public Library. The number of hits on the site last year was unbelievable! Each year the library board sponsors a ‘fun run’ in conjunction with the city’s annual celebration. This site will now be used with advertising as a source for information and sign up. Thank you so much for providing this great service to our growing community. Staff attends every possible workshop to keep us undated and informed on maintaining the site. Each time we leave with even more valuable information to provide better information through the library web site. THANK YOU!
Garland Public Library