Is there a future for public and school libraries? There will be if the people who currently work in libraries become the change that is needed. Joyce Valenza over at the Never Ending Search reminds all of this in her post today. If you love libraries or work in libraries, this is your clarion call to be the change!
- writes the most popular marketing blog in the world;
- is the author of the bestselling marketing books of the last decade;
- speaks to large groups on marketing, new media and what’s next;
- and is the founder of Squidoo.com, a fast-growing recommendation website.
Seth’s brief blog post this morning on the Future of the Library certainly got my attention:
What should libraries do to become relevant in the digital age? They can’t survive as community-funded repositories for books that individuals don’t want to own (or for reference books we can’t afford to own.) More librarians are telling me (unhappily) that the number one thing they deliver to their patrons is free DVD rentals. That’s not a long-term strategy, nor is it particularly an uplifting use of our tax dollars.
Here’s my proposal: train people to take intellectual initiative. Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.”
And then, she added a comment from leading library expert Mike Eisenberg who said:
“It keeps me up at night too – but to me it’s not will the librarians be in a position to be a logical choice, but rather will librarians grab the opportunity. Any librarian employed today IS in the position! They need to embrace a role that focuses on meeting people’s information needs through any and all media, systems, formats, and approaches.
And Joyce concludes:
“Many of you are out there leading change. The revolution can happen. And it can happen in our blogs, through our tweets, in our libraries. It will not happen if we are asleep at the wheel. It will not happen if we do not assume responsibility for our own retooling.
This is the year of redefinition. Frankly, it’s definition or death. Some of you thought I was cold when I suggested that folks lead, follow, or get out of the way. I know many of you are out there are working hard. But it is not about working hard. It is about working smart. It is about marketing. It is about redefining. Before it is too late. This is the year.”