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.
3. Online is where the action is. We need to have online resources, know how to use them, and be huge advocates of getting our customers there. We need banners outdoors and on buses and table tents in the library. We need to include in our stats the checkout or uses of our online resources, and report these locally, statewide, and nationally. As hard as some of the issues are in dealing with online vendors, we need to stay in the game and triumph. Our websites need to be much more dynamic and lure readers into using our online resources. A first start is having the marc records for resources such as OverDrive and OneClick Digital in our library catalogs.