Thursday, October 26, 2006

Magic 8 Ball Musings

Last Friday we were having a round robin e-mail string about big ideas/what's next for libraries--I started calling it the Magic 8 Ball Idea of the Day.

George wondered if big nonfiction collections in medium-sized libraries was the next thing to go. That it is valuable space now devoted to dead shelving--and it could be used a community space.

ThenI chimed in:
I’d like to see mini-library outposts set up (whether it’s a part-time staffed laptop, kiosk or something else…) in pharmacies, hospital waiting rooms, day care centers, grocery stores, coffee shops (gasp), real estate agent offices, hardware stores….

Anywhere where a general time-crunched public might find additional value in having an information professional help them find materials not instantly available in Google. And then they could model good online seeking habits to the community. It drives awareness of the online options (and home delivery!) and invites people to re-envision the library space as vibrant community space instead of silent book space.

We’ll get there eventually--one positive interaction at a time!

From where I sit, it sounds like we don’t necessarily need more people using the library space necessary (usage is up overall, from what I understand)—but realizing the library has relevant online resources to a primarily middle-class, online-living folk…(who may be more likely to fund the public good….)

Doable? Crazy? Impractical? Uncomfortable? (Scary?)
Good. That means we should definitely do it.
What's your Magic 8 Ball Idea this Friday?


K.G. Schneider said...

Heck, not sure, but why don't you share ALL your ideas here so I can steal them, I mean, um, use them for a presentation next week?

Alice said...

Sharing is what library people do best! Of course, second best is citing their sources. The more ideas, the better--from more and varied places!

rochelle said...

We're actually gonna do a trial of this next year and partner with one or two local coffeeshops with a "coffee with the librarian" morning once a week. They've got wireless and customers. We've got smarts. And they sure as heck have better coffee than anything to be found in library break room. Not quite the same as what you're talking about, but making the effort to get out from behind the big freakin' desk is a giant step in the right direction.

I read about other libraries doing this awhile ago and wonder how it went.

Alice said...

Rock on! Rochelle, out of curiosity, how did you get it set up and how are you going to "measure success"--so that all of us can think about ways to replicate your AWESOME trial??!!