Dreaming about the future... isn't this something we all do? What will our personal lives be like in the future? Our families? Our libraries?
If you're like me, then you think about the future of libraries a lot -- maybe a little too much. The possibilities are vast. But we need to do more than dream about them -- we need to think hard, study, and then act to create the future of libraries.
**photo of Michael Stephens and Kathryn Greenhill at Library Camp2009, Uploaded to Flickr on October 3, 2009 by rosehortonau, borrowed from Kathryn's blog**
There is a lot of blog & conference chatter out there about this topic. But at the moment I want to point you to a particular post that I liked. It's on Kathryn Greenhill's blog Librarians Matter. If you don't know of Kathryn or her work (she's an Aussie), it's well worth checking out. I had the pleasure of meeting her this past spring and shortly afterward, speaking at a conference with her in Delft.
At any rate, this post, called "Community Dreaming at Library Camp Perth 2009" is full of food for thought. But my personal favorite section is titled "What do we need to stop doing so we can do other things in the future? What to drop." I point to this one on The M Word because, whenever I talk about true marketing and all the work it involves, the message I get back is "we don't have time for that. we're too busy already." My answer is usually, "well then, drop some of the unimportant things you do, because marketing is essential."
So what might librarians drop to make time for more important work? That was something that the folks at Library Camp Perth talked about, and what's in this post. Suggestions include "bean counting" and "recataloging." I can add things like "shelving" (at the risk of sounding snarky -- let the non-MLS folks, student workers, & volunteers do that!), "endless committee meetings" (where little is accomplished), and "filling display cases." Seriously, if you want to have collections and activities that really appeal to your users (and potential users), if you want to convince important people of your value, if you want to keep your funding, then marketing is essential. Is recataloging or shelving as important? Think about it...
What else would you like to give up so you'd have more time for marketing??? Let's discuss!!