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Seth Godin's Blog About Public Libraries

May 17, 2011 by PatLeach

I opened up Facebook Monday to see that author Seth Godin had written a piece about public libraries in his blog--and several friends sent me the link as well.

It's interesting to read what nonlibrarians write about libraries, especially so when the writer is a dynamic and future-oriented thinker. I'd probably argue about some of his points, but right now, to think about the big picture....

Where I think that Godin is right on is where he puts the focus on the PEOPLE in libraries. What we have means nothing if people aren't using us, whether in person or online. And when people tell me what the libraries have meant to them, almost always they mention the PERSON at the library who connected them. I'm proud that I receive lots of positive comments about Lincoln City Libraries, and I can trace nearly every compliment to someone at Lincoln City LIbraries who did a great job and made that connection.

I agree with Godin when he writes that "What we don't need are mere clerks who guard dead paper." I'd also point out that we never needed those.

I agree with him as well that this is the chance of a lifetime. I worry that years and years of tight budgets and fewer staff might permanently narrow our focus to just the task in front of us. We've got to keep our heads up and focus wide so that we're living this image of dynamic libraries and passionate librarians.

Tagged in: Seth Godin,

Comments 1

Carrie Kimbrough said:
It's interesting reading what he has to say about librarians - I'm wondering if he's ever had to work in public service...ever...just to see that people actually do still come to us for information more than one would think; reading our material, using our databases or watching our media.
Plus we do offer e-books and the ability to read them for free rather than charging you like Amazon.
I think we do plenty of fighting and planning for the future. But he's speaking from an outsider's point-of-view, perhaps they don't realize how much is involved in doing so.
But you're right about the big picture. We are here primarily to help people better themselves and to help them find and access the information or entertainment that they are seeking. We need (and have) good librarians who are able to do this.

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