14 August 2008

The Lonely Planet Guide to Exploring Your Library

I was fascinated by the article Getting the Most Out of Your Library which appeared in Digital Web Magazine. (Thanks to Gina in OUR library for pointing me to it, via our Library's blog.) I wish that every library director would read this. Many of them would be shocked by the assumption that the library is a somewhat odd and arcane institution that requires a sort of Lonely Planet guide to navigate, but perhaps encouraged that a young digital native still considers the journey worthwhile.

I love this: Think of the library system as something akin to the open-source movement before software. Subsidized institutions buy books, subscribe to journals and proprietary databases, and pay people to help you find “stuff”, essentially at no cost to you. Wow! What a cool concept! And they often have coffee and free wifi too! They may be hard to find and difficult to understand, but they're worth the trip. Understanding how this young man perceives and uses the library gives us some clues about how the keep libraries relevant in the future.

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