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Blast from the Past: Public Library Issues and Reflections at IL2008

B106 – Public Library Issues & Reflections
Enjoy this roundtable session from Monday, October 20, 2008. The session was described as “Join the day’s speakers for an interactive, round-robin, expert response session with plenty of audience Q&A! Reflect on the day’s insights and ideas and share your thoughts with colleagues.” Listen in to this Q&A session that may be even more relevant now than it was in 2008.

Digital Library Landscape

What is the role of libraries in today’s world?  Vital or irrelevant? These were the questions OCLC’s Roy Tennant attempted to answer. His major theme was that to survive in the digital library landscape, libraries must solve the problems their users have (and, I would presume, those who provide funding even if they’re not library users, although Roy didn’t specifically say so). He identified the main objectives of academic libraries in the digital world as preserving the parts of the web not in the Wayback machine and of public libraries as building community and providing access to materials that are a bit out of the ordinary. And what about special libraries? I thought Roy kind of blew off that group when he said they concentrate on ROI (return on investment). Instead of saying how special libraries could determine their ROI, he said “that’s your homework.” I’m guessing he doesn’t have an answer and I’m not completely surprised, since each special library would have to find an ROI metric compatible with its parent organization’s mission and goals.

He warned against having libraries too associated with books. We must look forward and become “a central parat of the new ecology.” Are libraries in imminent danger? It’s possible, but Roy warned us not to panic. Still, his conclusion that those who dislike change will dislike irrelevance even more indicated that librarians need to alter some of what they do so that they stay relevant might indeed lead to panic in some libraries.

Marydee Ojala, Editor, ONLINE: Exploring Technology & Resources for Information Professionals

Online Marketing in Public Libraries

 I moved downstairs to the online marketing session. Lauren Stokes, Las Vegas-Clark County public library, starts off with blogs. There are staff blogs and patron blogs. She finds she gets better feedback from the staff with the blog format. Read me Vegas is book discussion blog, with Tuesday Trivia and Random Thursday. Tie databases into discussion. Librarian’s Brain is for patrons. It has tutors, games, tips, lesson plans.

To promote the collection created site called Books, Movies & More. Use BookLetters for CMS. Circulation is up. Materials put on the revolving list immediately become popular. Looks to me like a plug for push technology.
She’s also got a data challenge game. Covers website evaluations and comparisons; asks questions about databases and search strategies. Thre’s another one about The Great Gatsby. Petstacular and Neon’s Brain Blaster are other information literacy games.
Now it’s a computer switch to Geert van den Boogaard from DOK, Delft, Netherlands. His topic is "Connect to people in a library." He’s an industrial designer. Library Concept Center has listening chairs with combination of music. To market effectively, must understand audience. DOK Agora project has large multimedia screen in library. The idea is for people to tell their own story, have their own exhibition. Publish the best stories in the local newspaper. Digital Art is a project for the art library. Put LED screen in classroom and put different digitized art work up every day. Then compare digitized version with real one. Narrowcasting system used at DOK serves as in-house information system and directional signage. It runs on Nintendo Wii. DOK uses Bluetooth to greet users walking into the library with a picture, if patron has activated Bluetooth connection. They’ve got a FlickR photostream.
Yes, DOK both stocks books and prints books. They have rights to the art works so they can use. Want patrons to see something new every time they enter library. They build it, then see what people think of it.
Marydee Ojala