Monday, December 29, 2008

What libraries should do better -- part 1

1> Marketing and promotion:

The information resources and programs of the library are constantly changing. I learned a couples of nights ago on the local news that the Chicago Public Library has downloadable media for its patrons. One can download books, CDs and videos. The system allows a patron to check out the items for a period and then it can't be viewed on the local system. I have viewed e-books, but I have not found any non-print items that I care to use. The news piece probably started as a news release from the library marketing department.

Libraries must constantly market their resources to additional audiences who currently under use the resources such as: potential new patrons, distance learners, students, and faculty. The image of the library should be an atmosphere where anyone needs information thinks of the library. Market the library's expertise. This is part of the branding of the library.

I just read a comment on AUTOCAT saying that teachers need to encourage library usage. The librarian making the comments was aghast that college students studying to become teachers did not know how to use the library and there are elementary school teachers who are clueless about the role of the library in the education process.

2> Space Issues:

The library should provide spaces that have a combination of seating options and a logical arrangement of service points. The library should have hard and soft chairs; very quiet areas and conversation areas. The space should meet the diverse needs of the patrons and library programs.

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