Thursday, June 03, 2004

Expectations

Hi, I'm George, and with the build up Alice gave me, I'm not sure what your expectations will be. But I'll give it my best shot.

As I write this post, I'm sitting in my room in a nice bed and breakfast a few blocks from the state capitol building in Sacramento. I've been on the road a lot lately, talking about the environmental scan OCLC released in January. I'm pretty much of a ham---the light goes on when I open the refrigerator, and I do 10 minutes. So getting up and speaking in public is no big deal for me. But I've never had such good material to work from. The scan has energized a lot of people, so my presentations are closer to dialogues.

Today, the staff at the State Library in California shared their experiences and their reactions to the scan, and to a meeting we'd held in Columbus of state librarians in March. One of the issues they raised was the need to help libraries make a better case for explaining the value they add in return for the public (or institutional) funding they receive. They wondered if we can build a consistent message for libraries.

Later, we visited the Sacramento Public Library. The director, Anne Marie Gold, and the deputy director, Mark Parker, talked about some of the plans they are developing for the long range future of the library. Despite the battering their budget has taken, they are planning bold steps for the future.

Pam Bailey, the director of the OCLC Western Services Center, made an astute observation. She said that she's been through too many economic recessions for libraries, but unlike the last recession in the 1990s, librarians seem more hopeful this time around, like there really is light at the end of the tunnel. The technology doesn't seem as overwhelming now. We're seeing technology as a tool, not as an end in itself, which means we can work with it instead of being dominated by it.

In other words, we have higher expectations that we've had in the past. Maybe we are excited by the fact that our users are learning to expect more from us, and we might even be able to deliver on those expectations.

Tomorrow, we visit the University of Merced and the Stockton-San Joaquin Public Library. There's a great Western band called "The Sons of the San Joaquin," [Download their music] and that's about all I know about the area. I'm expecting to learn more!

George

2 comments:

ruhan said...

hello

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