So what is it that people need from libraries?
One thing they need is vetted information offering a full picture of products being advertised to the public. We are seeing an increase of TV commercials that claim miracle cures for weight, aging, beauty, etc. and with them is a whole new way of doing business. Companies are creating pages that look like third party or customer review pages that pan competitors’ products and “recommend” their products. There is a devious selling technique that offers "risk free" trials that makes it nearly impossible not to get hooked into a long-term rollover commitment. Companies are using the technique to sell the miracle products that are usually targeted to the most vulnerable of consumers. Libraries can position themselves as the place to turn to get unbiased information needed to make decisions or to resolve problems after making a decision they regret.
So what do your patrons need to know?
Off the top of my head I can think of:
1. Reviews of the different miracle products
2. The latest scams that are facing consumers
3. Contact numbers of agencies to help them if they have problems with scams
4. Hints for working with these new sales techniques
I looked at a few library sites and while they offer lists of links to medical sites, they didn't specifically address the products and topics that are being actively promoted to the public.
As our boomers look for miracles to prevent aging and our poor look for miracle financial solutions, libraries need to provide timely, easy to navigate research to help people find the solutions that work for them.
I think every library needs to have an ongoing section on their web site that includes products being heavily advertised on TV from identity theft protection to weight loss pills. It will save people time and heartache and add one more way the library is essential to your community.
If you are already doing this, send me a link so I can share with others. Thanks! -Nancy