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.