From the Japanese mascot program on November 4 , 2013 at Abington Free Library
Click on the photo for more!
Notes from Bill Ptacek’s article “The Library as Catalyst for Civic Engagement”, Sept 1st, 2013 issue of Library Journal
People used to come to the public library to get service.
“As communication and digital technologies become even more pervasive, libraries will be required to provide content that can be used on whatever is the ‘device du jour.’ ”
“As libraries become less about physical access to information, they are more likely to be valued for their importance to the community–as gathering places for civic, educational, and social engagements.”
Librarians will spend “more time acting as consultant to the general public. Librarian as information expert will become librarian as psychologist or sociologist.”
“In the future, libraries will be less about services and more about how to be of service. Research on patron interests and behavior patterns will be crucial to this effort, and libraries will have to be adept at marketing and customer-insight techniques.”
“What should I read next?”
It’s one of the hardest questions I get as a librarian. I can only seem to think of the latest books that everyone wants – and of course those books have waiting lists. I often want to point them to a genre booklist or tell them about GoodReads. But sometimes I just want a list of books that are sleeper hits, just waiting for more people to love them. Me Before You by JoJo Moyes was one of those books (well maybe not — it did get reviewed in the New York Times.)
Here are some websites I found that can help us find our new favorite books:
Every month LibraryReads publishes a top ten list of books that librarians love. This list has some books that are under the radar.
Taken from recommendations by independent booksellers around the country. Compiled by the American Booksellers Association.
If a podcast is more your speed, check out this website by two enthusiasts who work in publishing.
You gotta love the name of this site! Features quirky and fascinating lists such as “10 books that’ll make you wish your flight would never end” and “My favorite locked door mysteries.”
Specifically for book clubs, this site shows what book clubs around the country have been reading and discussing. Includes book guides.
Lyn Hopper on advocating for your library: “…I should be able to answer the question, ‘So what?’ (So what if more people are visiting? So what if they are attending more programs or checking out more materials?) We need to be able to tell our funding agencies and others what impact the library has on individuals and the community.”
R. David Lankes on crafting our advocacy messages: “We should be asking how libraries help our communities thrive. If we can put together that vision in a compelling way, people will support libraries out of self-interest, not out of pity, charity, or a sense of obligation.”
Hopper, L. (2013, May/June). Planning to thrive: Sustainable public libraries. Public Libraries, 52(3), 26-28.
In Library Journal‘s June 1st issue, Aaron Schmidt makes an interesting proposition in his article “Focus on People, Not Tools.” So much talk in LibraryLand these days is about social networks, 3-D printers, and any kind of technology trend that we can glom on to.
But what’s happened to our connection with the community? We need to be talking not just about the technology that goes into maker-spaces, but WHY maker spaces are needed in our towns and neighborhoods and how the products being made at maker spaces are positively affecting our lives.
Also, I would personally like to see more articles about customer service best practices. We are in the service industry and we need to make good customer service a priority if people are going to return to our buildings again and again. I still see too many librarians and library staff acting like it’s such a drag to be helping people. Come on now, that’s what working in a library is all about! Stop your bellyaching and act like you care about what book that guy should read next, or the articles that college student needs to find for a paper. I know our work is not always exciting or glamorous, but that’s not why I got into this business. And yes, I understand that there are those patrons who call in for phone numbers constantly or have eccentricities that we’ve come to know and “love.” They deserve our patience and best service too. Those are the best people to practice excellent customer service on because the harder interactions will build your tolerance and resilience. In any service industry, there will be people who push your buttons or rub you the wrong way. It will never go away. So we have to build skills that will help us cope and strengthen our commitment to help, no matter the question, no matter the person.