This Ain't Your Grandma's Library

The first visit to the public library that I remember was somewhere around 1977. I'll never forget finding a book that I liked and jumping up to run and tell my Mom about my discovery. She shushed me so fast it wasn't even funny. Excited about reading? Great! Noisy? Not at the library Buddy.

Some 30 years later I laugh at that story, because as we all know that isn't the way it is anymore. Although curiously, some are still under the impression that it is or at least that it should be.

I've got one thing to say to those folks -

"This ain't your Grandma's library."

Not exactly like me, but in a similar vein libraries are also working to change their image.

No longer can we be the place where Marian the Librarian wields a mighty sword of silence over all who cross through our doors. Instead, we need to find a way to engage our customers, to make them want to continue to visit.

With the tremendous growth of the Internet, and the rise in the number of homes with personal computers folks are venturing out to libraries less and less. Google and Amazon eat at our business, providing access to information and material previously available only at the library or at a more than modest price point. Throw in the Kindle and other similar reading devices and folks would seem to have very little if any need for a library.So, it's our responsibility to find a way to remain relevant to people's needs. There are some great ideas out there for how to make that happen.

Most recently I found this idea for seeing things from a library customer's point of view. I especially like this quote -

"Experiencing the library in this way will make sure the library isn’t just the place we work, but it’s where our patrons work. And play."

Who doesn't want to come to a place where you can play? I also like the reconsideration of so many library policies & procedures, and the discussions that are a necessary part of that process.

We need to make things easy for our customers very much like this, and be careful to avoid situations that paint us in a less than stellar light.

It's an entirely different world for libraries today. (Full disclosure - the grapevine quote in the article is / was me via Twitter.) How we present ourselves matters now more than ever.

The library has always been an important part of the community. By embracing Library 2.0 there's no doubt we can keep it that way.

Next up - A final Web 2.0 installment about that community.