Listen to this: "The mission of the library is a transformational one." That’s what we are saying all the time at my library — we are a transformational agency. But the quote above isn’t from me; it’s from an article in the latest NextSpace from OCLC.
The cover article, The Ripple Effect (Part 1: Extending the library’s reach), is an important read. As libraries are in a period of such acute transition, it is important to read that: "In the 1890s, Andrew Carnegie built libraries that were recreational as well as educational centers. At a time when few homes had indoor plumbing, his libraries had showers, gyms, billiard and barbers." So to those who object to computers, teen gaming, etc., tell them how glad we are that we’re no longer cleaning showers!
"The Ripple Effect" talks about changing the model of libraries — finding new channels to connect the value of the library to customers.
To me, this article is really about the essence of marketing, even though it is couched as a library service issue. For example, the article explains why libraries need to reach users where they are: In order to:
1. Bring the transformational mission of the library to where transformations are most likely to happen (that’s certainly marketing!)
2. Create a sense of style and exuberance that demonstrates the value of the library in new ways — the very definition of marketing!!
So read for yourself and let me know what you think.
P.S. Call me a poo-pooer, but the Johnson County, Kansas campaign cited in the article doesn’t work. Perhaps you’ve seen it: the four delivery trucks with, for me, way too esoteric and elitist literary references. I’ve read Moby Dick, but delivery trucks that refer to Captain Ahab’s Fine Seafood or Kafka’s Pest Kontrol, while clever, don’t position the library well. So far, none of the ten people I’ve shown these to understood that it had anything to do with a library.