Title: Isn’t it Great to Be in the Library (wherever that is)
Joseph Janes, presentation
Panelists: the “It’s All Good” bloggers: Crystie Hill, Alice Sneary, George Needham, and Eric Childress
First, Joseph Janes:
Showing pics of libraries – showed a pic of a reference desk from around 1906, and said we probably recognized it as a reference desk. That’s not good. We’d have a different viewpoint if we were doctors – we’d hope that a doctor would NOT want a current operating room to resemble one from 1906!
Then he said librarians have a strong sense of tradition – what should we keep, what should we get rid of?
information environment evolves
- as it always does
- competitive and volatile information marketplace (publisher and consumer)
- societal/demographic changes
- political, legal, cognitive domains
Highly dynamic environment!
What does it mean to be in the library?
- physically, this is easy – you’re in the library when you cross the threshold and enter the building
- except… branches, bookmobiles (are you “in the library” in a bookmobile?)
- follow the same line of reasoning
- in the library when they cross the digital threshold, hit the web site, search, ask chat reference Q, downloading an audiobook, etc.
- in the library anywhere, anytime, any way in which people interact with information organized, provided, supported by their own community via their library staff
by implication, the library
- is the place
- as well as the stuff
- and the support
- and the interaction
- and the values
all this implies:
an extended notion of library, librarianship, etc
there’s lots of potential with both ideas
somewhere and everywhere – you need a physical presence (you need the puppet closet) when you have physical objects, you need a physical place
but you have to be everywhere – be where your clients are when they want to use you
presences and identities are tied to environments – you can be in multiple presences at the same time. In each, you can have information needs.
be where they are
- wherever they are (physically and virtually)
- and whatever they want to do, or be
- we must be available, positioned, and ready to support, assist, etc – on their terms
- visible presences
- in all the various places they are
- not unlike building new branches or bookmobile routes
Plan services for these people in new digital communities!
We have to be better online
- we do a great job in person
- online, we have to be better
- customers get frustrated fast online – and will go away just as fast
basic human urges
- communicate, be heard
- to learn
- to organize, make sense of the world,
- search for and make meaning
- We help in those areas
How do we get there?
Move beyond the building
Discussion Panel (interesting snippets):
what matters is why people use these tools – not how a library can use the tools
A priest – is ALWAYS a priest – at church, on the plane, at the cookout. In the same way, a librarian needs to be a librarian in all these emerging digital outposts.
What will make the difference is the experience around the stuff – not the stuff itself. If other places provide a better experience than the library, our customers will go there instead of the library.
We are doing the work right – but are we doing the right work?