Join us tomorrow for what is sure to be a lively discussion on killing sacred library cows on #medlibs this Thursday at 9pm Eastern.
As I mentioned in my post on the #medlibs blog…
The library environment has changed drastically and is continuing to do so. The library of 5 years ago is different from the library today. For example, the iPhone had just been released, there were no iPads and the idea of a “downloadable” ebook had just been introduced by Amazon Kindle. There were a very limited number of Kindle and certainly not intended for medicine. Yet many of us are doing the same things we did as librarians 5, 10, 15, 20 yrs ago. We were stretched thin back then, so there is no way we can now add things to our repertoire without giving up something in return. We must look at what we do in our own libraries and evaluate whether it is necessary, whether it helps our patrons or helps us. To really evaluate our services we need to look at EVERYTHING including the sacred cows of the library. We need to ask ourselves, do we need to check in journals, catalog books, make copies, eliminate the reference desk, fuss with circulation, etc. The right answers will depend on the library. A large academic library might need to still do cataloging but does a small solo hospital library with 4 shelves (not ranges) really need a catalog system much less spend time cataloging books? Some of these ideas are dangerous and even somewhat heretical librarian thinking, but I feel we need to discuss them. For more background on sacred cows and heretical librarian thoughts check out my summary of my keynote address I gave at the Midwest Chapter annual meeting.
We need to look at, evaluate and slaughter some sacred library cows. IT makes no sense for us to spend our time doing things that are no longer relevant or used by our patrons. That isn’t to say that we should have never done them. Everything has its time and place. It might be hard to give up, but we can’t just do things because we always have. We need to think like our patrons and for many of us that means completely taking off our librarian hat and looking at ourselves from a patrons view point. That may mean we come up with answers that are uncomfortable, that borderline on librarian heresy. But that is what is needed.
This Thursday’s #medlibs discussion at 9pm Eastern will discuss the idea of thinning the herd of library services so that we can grow healthy new opportunities.
Molly Knapp (@dial_m), Amy Blevins (@blevinsa) and I (@krafty) will be moderating the discussion. As always we will be using the hashtag #medlibs but if you want to further the discussion before/during/or after the regular Thursday night time use the hashtag #moo.