no more “business as usual”


It seems overly simple to say that libraries need to meet people’s needs rather than their own; after all, isn’t that what they’ve been doing?  Well, yes, but the traditional library model is also rather self-serving.  Libraries have formulated mission statements and set goals to promote ideals they feel society ought to value as much as they do.  It might be tempting for libraries to cling to traditional services they know and love when continued funding and support are questioned and/or reduced, if not eliminated.  It is what they know how to do…the problem is that younger generations are growing up using information in a very different way and a traditional model will not meet their needs.   The evolving digital landscape requires innovative services.

The library of the future is focusing on the young people’s needs for
the library, rather than the library’s need for young people.  ~ Mindspot the Movie, 2009

cc City of Marietta, GA

Participation is fundamental to the Hyperlinked Library model.  Without participation, there is no relationship on which to build upon in new and innovative ways; creating relevant library services becomes a guessing game.  Mutual participation affords an opportunity to gain insight into the needs and desires of users that libraries so desperately want.  In order to facilitate user participation, the users need to be let in…

DOK’s Aarhus’ Mindspot program is spot on with the methods it uses to engage young library users.  Young people are the libraries future and if they are not engaged now, exactly when should we expect the library to suddenly become relevant to them?  I especially love that they use the young people to create their services and leave the library to meet them where they are at.

There is still a place for traditional services provided they are modified to meet new access and delivery methods, at least for the time being.  A shift is required to involve as much of the demographic of a given community so that modified traditional services, new participatory services and library spaces are relevant to the community in ways that uphold the mission of the library.  It is exciting to see so many brave libraries and librarians paving the way for all of us.




American Library Association. (2006). Core values of librarianship. [website] Retrieved from

Transformation Lab. (2009). Mindspot the movie: The library as a universe. Retrieved from