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Jan 01

What we want for our users

Happy New Year everyone. Here’s hoping that 2012 is better than 2011, regardless of whether it was good or bad.

I just finished reading a post by Andy Burkhardt at Information Tyrannosaur which got me pondering. I’m only new to Andy’s blog, but I highly recommend you check it out, if you haven’t already.  Entitled Creating Meaning for Library Users, it took some great ideas from a TED talk by Experience Designer Nathan Shedroff.

What caught my attention however, was his closing paragraph.

“We are not simply delivering access to e-books or databases. We are not only conducting reference interviews or doing information literacy. We are doing something much more important than that.”

He’s referring to all the things that libraries do for their users, that is meaningful to their users. The things that keep them coming back for more, that leave them satisfied each time they leave our buildings.

It’s not new. We all know the future of libraries is not just tied up in our collections or our roles as information intermediaries.

But what are those things we do, that address the ‘meaning’ that our users are seeking. And what are the things we want to do that we aren’t doing yet and why aren’t we?

At my library, we have had an amazing increase in the number of people wanting to use the space for study this year. Not necessarily the collection, but definitely the wi-fi, the tables and in a lot of instances, some quiet. Unfortunately, we are not too well set up for the latter, with every inch of floorspace being used and being a public library, more often than not, its far from quiet. Plans are being made to fix this, but it all takes time and money. In the meantime, we do what we can. So one of the things we would like to do, is to be able to provide that ‘quiet’ study space, whilst not becoming the ‘shhh’ police that we all abhor (and don’t have the time for).

I want our users to know and remember the services we have that suit their needs, so that they can access them when they need or want them. Unfortunately, we can only tell them about those services when they join and when they ask, otherwise we can’t make them remember. Its very frustrating too, I can tell you. 🙂

I want more people from our community to come in and discover the treasures that we offer, in facilities, programs, collections and more. Our communities are great supporters of libraries, but nowhere near enough of them are members.  Our marketing programs are great, but somehow people still don’t actually make it into our buildings or onto our websites, to learn more and make use of the great things we have on offer. If only there was a way to make a library card the latest hip trend, one that never goes out of fashion……

What do you want for your users? What can you do to make it happen? I don’t know what I can do to make my wishes reality, but I am going to work on finding out.

Happy New Year!