Monday, January 21, 2013

Public Libraries trying to be Everything to Everyone...

"You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time"...

Libraries are trying awfully hard to maintain an unnecessary facade of "relevance," and it shows.  Libraries are losing focus on what they truly are and have been ever since their existence.  The latest attempt at wanting to be "the cool library" Pole dancing lessons at the library.  The reasoning for offering such an absurd program: "The pole fitness session is a fun and interesting way of encouraging more people into our libraries, trying out all the services on offer and ultimately borrowing more books."  If there's anything that pole dancing enthusiasts don't realize they're missing, it's library card with access to bucket loads of library databases.  I'm not going to discount every single out of the box idea that comes out of the library world, it really all depends on the demographics of the library.  But enough is enough, put the time and effort into something that will get a real return on investment and not just a higher door count for a day.  If management would like to get some fresh and unique ideas, my suggestion would be to talk to your front line library workers.  They are an untapped and often overlooked resource of good ideas and opinions.

I came across the perfect visualization of how libraries come across when they try too hard.  This is Qualcomm's Keybote at the 2013 CES, yeah, they really know their customers...


  1. This is such a challenge for me. I'm a recent library school grad at my first professional AND library job. I used to be such a supporter of community involvement, engagement, activities, and all of that modern stuff. But I'm starting to think more and more that we need to focus on what we've done for years, and why people keep coming back - books and information. I think our biggest challenge is that people don't always value good information as much as they used to. Lifelong learning was a tenet of many American libraries at their founding, and it should still be a focus today. Of course, pole dancing lessons kinda fit into that...sorta. ;)

    1. Libraries CAN have a healthy mix of community involvement and engagement, but management has gone over the deep end. They seem preoccupied trying to break the "Library Mold" -- "Hey! Look at us, we're cool and hip, not like those other old libraries." They need to take a step back and reevaluate how and what they're doing. What a waste of resources. So sad... so very sad.