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Great minds collide, or, maybe I’m just paying better attention

January 8, 2009

There’s some interesting discussion going on right now about libraries.  Here are some of the best articles I’ve seen lately:

Brian Williams of NBC Nightly News did a great segment about how libraries offer free services in tough economic times. It was good to see something like this on network news because so many people are watching.  Later I found a speech that Mr. Williams gave to the Ad Council, where he talks about his response to someone who suggested a Netflix-like service “except with books“.  Take a look at this video for a good chuckle.

Then David Lee King wrote about how libraries could do a better job offering digital services.  This article gives a clear picture of where we should be headed.  I’d like to share also, that there were several times while I was on vacation that I had questions I needed answers to.  My preferred method for getting an answer, honestly, is to text it to someone and get a text back.  Sometimes, I just don’t feel like interacting with another person.  At ACPL we aren’t offering this service yet.  We need to ask ourselves, why not?  Technically, I can get around this by sending an e-mail with my phone, but I usually need an answer *now*, not later.  So many people are using their cell phones to do everything–buy stuff, get answers, keep in touch via texting, socially networking, and talking–that we should pay attention and be a library that works with patrons in their preferred environment.  Take a look at ChaCha (my new favorite free service) and you’ll see what we can do.

Yesterday morning, Diane Riehm of NPR did a show on the role of libraries in economic hard times.
I do think that talking about libraries on NPR is preaching to the choir, but the show was good and public libraries should spread our gospel in any way possible.

This morning I sat open-mouthed as I watched “Columbus Joe” Yersavich announce on Good Day Columbus that the Columbus Metro Library is opening Job Help Centers in every single library location.  CML, great job!

Finally, I read about the San Francisco Public Library’s E-cards, via the Librarian in Black.  What a brilliant idea.  Libraries certainly offer free access to electronic resources, but creating an e-card to provide the access to the cool stuff is an idea that the online community understands.  I just think it’s an excellent marketing strategy.  Can we steal that idea? 😉

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