Coming from a youth and community services background, I have been surprised and impressed with the way libraries are reinventing their services and adjusting the way they use their space in order to better accommodate and serve their patrons. The library environment has the potential to be incredibly dynamic with open-minded staff who are willing to try new things.
Our readings have been consistent in their encouragement towards open, collaborative library services and use, but there were some that really stood out to me. The article ”Do we need libraries?” offered a number of approaches for ways to move library services forward, but focused heavily on the importance of finding ways to “delight” library users. Delight actually seems like a high bar, but I was particularly struck with the Unquiet Library concept at Creekview High School in Georgia. Teens are often a difficult group to engage, but their librarians have found successful ways to meet high schoolers where they are and give them a space that meets their needs, while also achieving the instructional goals they have set. Their willingness to alter the traditional school library setting seems to have provided the delight that encourages the students to participate and use their services.
My perception of library and information work has changed considerably in the last year. I did not see myself in public librarianship when I started the program, but I enjoy the kind of relationship building, change, and innovation that happens in community programming and I’m coming to realize that it might be a better fit than I previously believed. Watching libraries pivot and adjust their programs during lockdowns has shown that they are still providing meaningful services to their communities, along with a lot of delight in the form of virtual story hours and programs and delivering books to their patrons in a different way.
While it’s still a bit hard to imagine a return to normal life, I imagine there will also be a lot of delight in finding ways to connect with one another in a physical space in the future. While I was considering ways that might happen, I thought about the after hours library services and wondered what libraries have been doing in terms of adult programming. If anyone is interested, this video is a bit long, but I loved some of their ideas (library laser tag!). Creating opportunity for connection among all age groups is an exciting proposition for the future.
Denning, S. (2015, April 28). Do we need libraries? Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2015/04/28/do-we-need-libraries/?linkId=13831539&utm_campaign=ForbesTech&utm_channel=Technology&utm_medium=social&utm_source=TWITTER&sh=4edea6466cd7
Mathews, B. (2010, June 21). Unquiet Library has high schoolers geeked. American Libraries. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2010/06/21/unquiet-library-has-high-schoolers-geeked/
Programming Librarian. (2019, May 22). Library after dark: After-hours programming for adults [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ng_n2E41kc