Notes of a Binge Thinker

Thoughts from NTLP's Executive Director

The Library as an Information Gateway in the Next Decade

Ok.  I know I am late with this.  Sometimes time just gets away from you….so without further ado, here is my April column. :>

Happy April!   

If you remember, I am going to focus on five guideposts that NTLP feels libraries need to follow in the next decade when planning their service offerings.  Here are the five guideposts again as a refresher.

The Library of the Future increases the overall value of its community by:

Guidepost 1: facilitating access to education as a service to the public.

Guidepost 2: staying aware of current interests within the community, finding information relevant to those interests, and making that information publicly available.

Guidepost 3: ensuring easy public access to information in all its forms.

Guidepost 4: encouraging civic participation through public information campaigns that explain matters of public policy, informing public decisions, and maintaining awareness of public services (including its own services).

Guidepost 5: maintaining its standing of public trust by operating as an independent “third voice” in its operations as well as its communications, and meeting on neutral ground.

Each month I will focus on one guidepost.  I will highlight a library (or libraries) that I feel is following that guidepost closely and doing something innovative to make the guidepost a reality.  I will then give some benchmarks (examples of what libraries can do to follow the guidepost) that the NTLP staff has developed.

This month I am focusing on guidepost number three.  In my time, I have seen the types of information mediums available multiply greatly.  When I was a child, if I wanted information about a topic, I had to ride my bike down to the local branch of the Arlington Public Library and look it up. When I reached high school and college, I found that some information was available in a digital format through specialized databases.  By the timeI reached Library School, the Internet age had begun and you could find information in a wide variety of digital formats from websites to wikis.  Now as I sit here typing this article into a Word document, my smart phone has just beeped informing me that Japan has had another earthquake.  The information mediums just keep getting better and better.  How can a library ensure that all community sectors have access to these same information mediums that I do?  This is the essence of our guidepost this month.   I have selected the Arlington Public Library as a great example of what a library can do in this age to ensure easy public access to information. 

Arlington Public Library

I grew up in Arlington and this is the place that I learned to love libraries.  I really did ride my bicycle to my local branch on the local southeast side of the growing city (at that time there was only about 50K in Arlington.)  I remember loving to find answers to my many questions and then figure out how to get all the books I checked out home without killing myself on my bike (I was not the most coordinated kid). 

Arlington Public Library has evolved greatly under the fine leadership of Cary Siegfried, the library director.  My childhood branch has been turned into a computer center with very few books.  I went back and was amazed by how many people were in the building waiting to use the library’s computers.  It really does provide a wonderful service to that community. 

Through its strategic plan (http://www.arlingtonlibrary.org/about) the Arlington library leadership has identified four main goals:  Live, Learn, Connect and Grow.  In terms of our guidepost for this month, I want to focus on the Learn and Connect goals. 

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Read the rest of the column here.  I really encourage you to check it out. Arlington really does a ton of stuff for its community. 

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Written by amwlkaw

May 10, 2011 at 9:11 am

Posted in Misc

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