Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The changing role of the public library

There was an interesting post on the PLA Blog yesterday about the changing role of the public library. Blogger Nate Hill describes a food and agriculture-related event he attended at the Bushwick branch of Brooklyn Public Library. Hill says he suggested, in conversation, that "the public library relies far too much on its reputation, provenance, and historical book-circulating model for its clout in the community," and he saw an unfulfilled need in the community, at that event, for the organization, categorization and centralization of information related to various local eco projects ("growing vegetables on [...] rooftops, organizing a food coop, [...or] becoming a part of [a] community garden"). He adds, "They all know that the information is out there, but they wanted to come together, share experiences and best practices, and create some kind of centralized well of information that they can all drink from."

He suggests a wiki, or something, and I totally agree! Some libraries are already moving towards this type of resource, and I hope there's more to come. Hill talks about designing resources and training patrons... and I think these types of roles for librarians are going to be more and more important in the coming years.

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