Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thinking outside the box

With the semester winding down, the professors at SIS invited a number of their colleagues from varying sectors of the library community to participate in a panel discussion concerning the future of libraries.  Despite the diversity present in the panel, there was one trend that became glaringly obvious after the third or fourth presentation.  Whether it was a special librarian or a school librarian who was speaking, all of the presenters focused on their struggle to develop new service models as a primary professional concern.  I absolutely love the idea of librarians moderating the influence of "best-practices" to actually discern and meet the needs of their community!  So, needless to say, it was very interesting to hear about the successes and failures they encountered while thinking outside of the box.

Why am I sharing this?  Well, in a round-about way, this panel reminded me of something cool that I saw on the Darien Library's youth services page.  With the holidays right around the corner, the librarians at Darien Library published a list of their favorite books to assist their patrons in their purchasing of books this holiday season.  Talk about changing the service model, these librarians are taking readers advisory to a whole new level.  By applying this service in a totally new fashion, it not only fulfills a need in their community, but  it exerts their authority in the area of children's literature. Some of the most innovative outreach ideas may not immediately benefit your library, but recognizing gaps and having the agency to fill them always has it's payoffs. 

Are there any gaps in your community?  What are some of the ways that the library could reorient its services to fill them?