February 17, 2018

Libraries and 21st Century Skills

Wanted to be sure you saw this. The Institute of Museum and Library Services has issued a new report: "Museums, Libraries and 21st Century Skills." In my view, this has everything to do with marketing. After all, what kind of organization is your library going to be in the next decades?

We just finished a customer satisfaction survey and are beginning to dig into the results. But here’s something to give you pause: overwhelmingly everyone over 30 associates the library predominately with books. In the under 18 population we see a steep decline in that core assessment. They see the library as a place for computers. Will that continue as this demographic matures or as technology continues to change? 

Throughout the report there are side-by-side comparisons reflecting social change over time and the impace of that change on libraires. Here’s an example. For much more, read the report!

So it strikes me that we have to think of ourselves as something more than what the public finds with the walls themselves — books, computers, whatever. At my library we are focusing on becoming a transformational agency in our community. Your library may position yourselves in another way. This report provides somewhat of a roadmap to help you get there. What’s your library going to be?

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. Paula Brown says:

    How about a place to focus? A place to think? A place for some calm amid the popoulation chaos? A place for info and referral? A space to quietly share alone or with friends or stangers, conversation or media, or spend warm comfortable time as long as not disturbing others. Peace, at least at the library! Maybe with a big parking lot for ride sharing and public bikes, too.

  2. I was a regular user of the public libraries until all the references havebecame so outdated.
    We need to update our reference books in all the libraries.The libraries need updated, They are decades behind the needs of the 21st century.