Getting out into the community, participating and partnering with other organizations and institutions, requires considerable staff time. As you’ll read later in this article, the reward is most definitely worth the effort. But finding that staff time is not easy, and some libraries will need to get inventive in order to allocate scarce staff resources efficiently.
Posts Tagged ‘community building’
Recently, we hosted visitors from a public library in Texas. The library director,
the mayor, and their finance officer toured several of our libraries and spent
time talking with our team members. After asking us some thoughtful, probing
questions about the philosophical underpinnings of our services, the mayor noted,
“You need to come up with a new noun. My image of what a traditional library looks
like has just been challenged, and what you are doing here is not a library—it is something
else. It is intriguing and challenging, and I want to spend time here, but what you
are doing needs a new name.” I challenged him to help us invent a better descriptor.
From California to Singapore, new public library buildings are co-locating with spaces for exercise and health. Learn about this trend and try something new in your library.
Thanks to the clear divisions in our country, there has recently been a lot of talk about bringing people together. In the spirit of that call for camaraderie, I’ve been reflecting on the opportunities the library has to partner with others on programs and efforts.
Every so often a new phrase, buzzword, or philosophy about library service comes along and throws a different light on what we do, and how we do it. There’s been a lot of talk and interest in “the purpose-based library” recently. What’s that all about?
I had an opportunity to speak with Steven Potter, library director and CEO of the Mid-Continent Public Library in Kansas City, Missouri who recently co-authored a book on the subject. The purpose-based library connects with the community, collaborates to better reach goals, measures what is useful and shows value, and continually improves. Summing up, Potter says, “It is all about re-embracing the vitality of our profession.”
In all types of libraries, services, collections, and spaces are being redesigned as a response to changing patron needs and preferences. Advancement in technology is fueling these changes. Outside of libraries, these changes are causing businesses to rethink their products, services, and delivery methods. All of this together is changing how the modern workforce performs its work and the skill sets it needs in the dynamic modern workplace. At Johnson County Library, located in the Kansas suburbs surrounding Kansas City, these factors combined, led to the creation of a makerspace. As the library re-evaluated its approach to traditional business reference services, a redesign of the central library was also in the planning stages. Moreover, a flexible approach to programming allowed these three forces to combine, creating fertile grounds for the launch of a makerspace.
Have you drawn up New Year’s resolutions for your library? Take a look at this list of library resolutions designed to create more community-centered libraries and librarians. What’s your library resolving to do this year? Tell us in the comments.