30 January 2012

How will your library serve you?

It must be a rare family historian who isn't interested in books and libraries. We all know that technological change is imposing tremendous stress on the businesses and institutions involved the magnitude of which clients may only have an inkling.

The December 2011 issue of IFLA Journal includes an article which takes a philosophical approach to the future of libraries and librarianship, "As for the
future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it"  by Derek Law of the University of Strathclyde. As summarized in a lead editorial in the issue

"..libraries run the risk of becoming obsolete unless they develop a new and digitally relevant philosophy based on the unique selling point that means we are not competing with Google or Microsoft. Such a philosophy would determine our approach to users, services, content and our own skill set. For many people today reading and writing are becoming optional lifestyle choices and not the normal requirement of the intelligent individual. Libraries must provide services and collections relevant to their needs rather than expect them to change to fit our preconceptions."
The article also contains some interesting links. Are you up to the challenge of defining genealogy or genealogist for the Ten Word Wiki (http://www.tenwordwiki.com/)?

 A second article in the issue "65+: Engaging underserved patrons - a success story!" appealed even though some of the issues at the Belgrade City Library are not applicable. I do wonder when I get down on my knees trying to read the title or catalogue number on the spine of a book I'm searching for on the lowest shelf of the bookcase; are the needs of seniors, with impaired eyesight and less agility that previously ever a consideration?

Read the issue as a free pdf from http://www.ifla.org/en/news/out-now-december-2011-issue-of-ifla-journal

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a somewhat impaired senior, if I can find a step-stool to sit on, I do attempt to actually read book titles on the bottom shelves at my library, but if the book I want to see is difficult to find due to positioning, I either ask for librarian help or put the title into the computer and reserve it! It is then placed on the "pickup" shelves. Occasionally those are also on the bottom, but then I do ask for help!