Michael Stephens Hopes For 2009 Or How To Transform Your Library Into A Community Center

From all the holiday posts that I read in the past few days, there is one that stands out and this is the post of Michael Stephens from Tame The Web blog, called " Stories, Open Doors & the Heart: 5 Hopes for the New Year". His post appeared on the ALA TechSource blog, where he is a frequesnt contributor.

Michael hopes that libraries tell their stories well, guide users into the digital transformation, make good decisions, open their doors to everyone and become the center of their communities.

We should investigate open source opportunities, carefully, weighing the balance between vendor solutions and community-based innovation…A dream I have for 2009 is that we’ll see more large systems experimenting and adopting products like Koha and Evergreen, as well as applications such as Drupal, WordPress and OpenJMS[/URL].

If libraries want, they can become popular community centers. How do you ask?

By simply doing what customers are looking for: showing an old blockbuster movies every Saturday and Sunday ( its much cheaper) ; invite computer experts to teach low cost ( or free) classes in Excel, Word, PowerPoint, web development and networking ( many library customers are loosing their jobs and are in desperate need for computer training as part of their retraining); start a gaming night on one of the weekdays; organize game competitions between library customers ( why not between parents and kids); start YouTube contests for best videos on certain subjects ( " Why I visit my library"); invite local artists to organize a weekly library class on drawing, photography, knitting ..etc; allow library customers to book your auditorium for various events and if you think that you can’t invite the popular local mechanic to the library before the start of the summer and winter season for a hands on practice on how to maintain cars in optimal condition, think again.

You can argue, that all of this costs a lot of money. Well, it is a matter of priority. Money that attract library users to the library, are money well spent.

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