Friday, September 21, 2012

Don't Save Libraries! Transform them!

I think I stumbled across this blog by accident while I was searching a graphic novel blog. What piqued my interest here with the blog Virtual Dave...Real Blog by R. David Lankes was the title of the blog posting "Beyond the Bullet Points: It is Time to Stop Saving the Libraries." He's asking us as librarians to not be victims of the almost pervasive notion that libraries are doomed. Keeping a victim mentality may not be the best approach to pushing for the things that benefit libraries and their users. 

My interpretation of this would be to promote the library in such a way that reinforces the idea of libraries as the center of community, the center of learning, the center of discovery, and the center of literacy for the family. For example, by focusing our attention on our Youth Services areas in our public libraries, we can instill the notion that libraries are indispensable to the community through outreach programming like Storytimes, Book Buddies, Teen Reads, research help and trainings, and other services that can connect the library to the family. Although budgets for almost all public services are getting squeezed, pushing for these programs and advocating for them through contact with the community stakeholders and politicians. Mr. Lankes posted a very good quote as an abstract  for “Library as Platform: Unlocking the Potential of Our Communities” SCRLC Leadership Luncheon Webinar explaning this relationship between the library and the community:

"Our buildings matter. Our services matter. But they don’t matter on their own, and we do not determine their value – that is a job for the community. It is only in the advancement of those we serve that we find our impact. It is only in the potential realized that we can measure our contribution. Our buildings, our books, our services, our catalogs must not be channels of assistance we provide, but part of a powerful platform that enables our communities to succeed. This platform is our infrastructure, but it is also the infrastructure of the community – co-owned."

This is compelling and a call to action. Libraries are not doomed.


  1. Reinventing or simply finding ways to advertise the need the local or school library is a huge topic. Everyone seems to have an idea of what a library should have, just as every parent who went to a library as a child can see just how much has changed in just a few years. I agree with the idea that libraries are not doomed (I would not be in this program if I thought that they were), but we do need to get better at actively engaging in public relations and promotion. No corporation can do what the public library system has accomplished in America, imo. Jim

  2. I agree with this outlook completely. Most of the libraries that I have visited and interviewed for that I would consider great really focus on the community outreach aspect. So many people have other avenues of getting their information than from a library now that they have to adapt or die.