Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Saving Libraries

I love libraries. And I fear for libraries.

Remember travel agents? Only if you're old enough to remember a time when they closely held all the information we can now access online when we book our tickets and make our own travel arrangements.

Remember newspapers? There used to be one in every town of any size. In larger towns there were multiple choices. Now they're an endangered species, trying to figure out how to make a living in this new world.

I think they're going to do it, but it's messy. (Unsolicited Tip to Newspapers: Taking a business model that isn't working offline - subscriptions - and just moving it online isn't the answer. Be innovative. Try a new model. I have some ideas for you, but that's another discussion.)

Remember libraries is not the next thing I want to read in this list.

But libraries are going to have to make some changes to prevent that. The most simple and straightforward one is hire a marketing person and listen to them. Give them some power in the chain of authority and let them do you some good. Yes, it may be uncomfortable for the quiet librarian types. But if you don't do it you're going to be gone.

I ran across this story the other day and I can guarantee you that some of those ideas came from a marketing-oriented brain. If you are involved in a library, hire yourself a marketing person while they can still do you some good. And let them. Please, let them.


1 comment:

The Library Director - Gregg Wamsley said...

Interesting read Patsy, thank you! I would also suggest that while celebrating the "things" libraries collect, the other useful library feature that can't be replaced by a Google search or a "browse" through Amazon is the knowledge and expertise of the people who work in libraries. Because I am a librarian, I have to include a couple of sources for further reading on the topic: An opinion piece by author Scott Turow

Also Houston Chronicle