Friday, September 19, 2008

PL 43/08: Reading into the sunset

Filed under: Uncategorized — plinius @ 7:26 am

When I travel, I read The Economist – taking the pulse of our new old world.

Last week they had a nice article about US libraries – Why cowboys read. Lorcan Dempsey wrote a comment – citing Eleanor Jo Rodger:

Creating value for our host systems always involves three things:

Librarians must understand their host systems; they must understand the source of their claim to being a legitimate part of their system; and they must do their work well so the system is better because they are there.

It’s usually far more a matter of asking and listening than it is of telling and pleading.


The global knowledge economy is changing our understanding of libraries. I note an increasing interest in public libraries as community innovators, both in Norway and the other Nordic countries. Thise is confirmed by a new report from OCLC:

  • Library funding support is only marginally related to library visitation
  • Perceptions of librarians are an important predictor of library funding support
  • Voters who see the library as a ‘transformational’ force as opposed to an ‘informational’ source are more likely to increase taxes in its support

To benefit from the new knowledge agenda, we must speak as well as act.

The host system sounds like space opera.  What it means is developing concepts and arguments that voters, politicians and bureaucrats understand.

Learning the language of innovation, transformation and change, in other words.



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