Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Go to Go to Hellman

One of my favourite blogs is Eric Hellman's Go To Hellman. I've been recommending his recent post on understanding eBook messes to my colleagues and for you, well, I think you should read his Are Public Libraries in a Death Spiral?

In this essay, Eric Hellman laments how library directors are opting to reduce library hours when faced with budget cuts. In one painfully honest sentence:

A library that reduces its hours is just training its public to meet information needs elsewhere, and that public isn't going to rush back. 

The alternative that stops the death spiral?

The public library of the future has to stop being about collections and start being about helping people and communities.

I love the clarity of that call.

What if the libraries who are facing cuts, decided to slash book and DVD budgets instead of hours?  What if, instead of asking their community to act as political lobbyists on their behalf, these libraries asked community groups and individuals to donate their own collections into the community library? Ironically, by asking the community to help the library, connections between the community and the library could even be strengthened. Building a library builds community.

We need the community to help the library so that the library can help the community.

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