I recently saw a public library’s slogan on twitter. It said something to the effect of “Forget Google, come to us!” I totally understand the sentiment they are trying to convey…the thing every librarian feels, pretty much. Librarians are more reliable. We provide the human touch. We return the right answer, not millions of hits!
But let’s get serious – no one is going to forget Google. In fact, I know librarians use Google. And those who say they don’t are probably lying.
Here is the problem at hand. When people think libraries, they think books. Is this really what we want the public to think? Books are old, they are the past, bury ‘em deep. Don’t get me wrong, I love books and love to read (paper) books. But I also think that it is time the library evolved to become more in tune with the community. Libraries are so much more than books.
This morning, I saw a post about what the Dallas public library is doing, and I got really excited. A new branch will have artist space, and they have not only employment help, but a small business center. I love this quote from the interim director, Corinne Hill: “My vision is for people to come into DPL and whomever they encounter can help with whatever they need.” This is what I’m talking about!
How do we bring in the digital, wired community who looks beyond physical books and information? Fun events. Learning. Collaborating. Libraries are partnering with fitness centers, art galleries, musicians. The possibilities are endless! The library should be an awesome place for people of all ages to hang out, not just a place to pick up a book.
I’m not saying forget about books. I’m saying let’s focus on the story, not just the book.