“[W]e are being forced to reexamine a lot about libraries that…hasn’t been widely challenged…. [T]he library evolution starts with a community-based revolution”
Thank you for Aaron Schmidt’s “Experience Better Than Ebooks” (The User Experience, LJ 5/1/12, p. 17). It’s about time someone started writing about how UX tactics can help libraries evolve and find new ways to provide for their communities.
Colleagues ask me if I understand why publishers are hiking ebook prices, and all I can say is, “Because they can and because we let them.” Because the publishing world is going through some growing pains, we are being forced to reexamine a lot about libraries that, for the most part, hasn’t been widely challenged. I really appreciated Schmidt’s highlighting of libraries with innovative services that respond directly to community needs. I truly believe that the library evolution starts with a community-based revolution….
I hope many librarians and administrators pay attention. The reason I’m leaving the public library world involves many of the problems Schmidt mentions. I hope, for the sake of communities that house libraries and librarians, that the landscape changes drastically in the near future. Thanks for a stellar article and fresh perspective that asks for more from the library world.
—Amanda Fensch, Columbus, OH
Don’t have an ereader
I would never say that ebooks will be the solution if libraries want to move beyond a place for print books, but I am glad Aaron Schmidt pointed it out (“Experience Better Than Ebooks,” The User Experience, LJ 5/1/12, p. 17). As a public librarian, I see that lots of our library users need something other than ebooks: they need help with job hunting, want to gain basic computer skills, want to improve their English, etc. Sadly, these people often do not have an ereader.
—Jingzhen Xie, Libn., Grande Prairie P.L., Alta.
A new member packet
An anonymous letter (“Some want member,” Feedback, LJ 5/15/12, p. 12) includes this comment: “I’ve always thought it would be nice and helpful if libraries created and gave you a ‘What your library card can do for you’ brochure or handout when you signed up for a library card. It would note some of the services, programs, and resources that the library offers.”
The Zion-Benton PL does just that. The “new patron” packet includes information about lending services, Internet/Wi-Fi, special services, and collections. There’s a copy of the current newsletter. There’s a coupon for a free movie checkout. The packet is packaged so that the new patron gets all the information bundled, rather than having to pull brochures and flyers from a literature rack….
—Nann Blaine Hilyard, Dir., Zion-Benton P.L., Zion, IL
Tie ’em to education
Thanks to Alison Circle for another great blog post (“Building a Future Vision”). We have found that the community (indeed, the world) values education above all else—education defined not only as K-12 and formal education but also as lifelong endeavor.
Public libraries can effectively convey their worth by positioning themselves as a major component of education, a word that is instantly recognized and valued. (This approach was described in “Transforming Our Image Through Words That Work, Perception Is Everything,” Public Libraries, Sept./Oct. 2009, p. 24-32). I’ve presented some 30 workshops and a handful of webinars on the vision since then…. In case you’re interested, the approach…is further explained in a book to be published by ABC-CLIO in August, Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand: The Education Advantage.
—Valerie J. Gross, Pres. & CEO, Howard Cty. Lib. Syst., Columbia, MD
Practically no money
I sent your great column “A Rebirth in Pittsburgh” (Blatant Berry, LJ 5/15/12, p. 10) to my friend John Block, the publisher of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette as well as the Toledo Blade here. The Carnegie Library has struggled for years with practically no money. When Carnegie staff came here they were so envious of how we have capitalized on our state funding as well as our library levies. Hurrah for Mary Frances Cooper!
—Clyde S. Scoles, Dir./Fiscal Officer, Toledo–Lucas Cty. P.L.
Thank you for John Berry’s “A Rebirth in Pittsburgh” (Blatant Berry, LJ 5/15/12, p. 10). It is important to be reminded of great public libraries. I was especially pleased that he mentioned Bob Croneberger as he was such a splendid librarian. I still miss his fiction recommendations.
—Sherrie Schmidt, Univ. Libn., Arizona State Univ., Tempe
Steel City native
As a Pittsburgh native, I just wanted to thank you for your beautifully written column (John Berry, “A Rebirth in Pittsburgh,” Blatant Berry, LJ 5/15/12, p. 10). Although I have never met Mary Frances Cooper, she sounds like a committed and resourceful librarian…. Kudos to shedding positivity on our Steel City.
—Beth Farnsworth, Pittsburgh
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