Friday, April 29, 2016

What Makes a Good Library?

A display in the Teen area at Desert Broom.

Despite budget cuts and a lingering antiquated view of libraries, I still believe this is an exciting time to be working in one. Library professionals are not only passionate about learning and literacy, but we're committed to helping people find what they need, no matter what that is. I think this Read Box display in the teen area is a great example of a simple (though I bet it took a while to construct) engagement that meets a patron where he or she is at. 

The Phoenix Public Library system does a good job of engagement both digitally and in the branch. The website is always topical . At the time of this post Prince is remembered on the website. I'm not sure why the social media buttons (FB, Twitter, You Tube and Instagram) are all at the bottom of the webpage, but they offer another connection avenue. 

My only complaint, and it is a big one, is that the connectivity appears to be one-sided. I cannot support the lack of contact information for library administration. This is a big barrier for me.

The system has managed to add services post-recession based on community needs. A Seed Library was added this year, but service hours have not been restored to pre-recession standards. I reviewed the proposed 2016-2017 budget for the City of Phoenix and the library is slotted for $100,000 to restore digital services to 24/7 levels. The entire city is facing major cuts if a proposed property tax increase doesn't go through. That would affect more service hours. Currently Desert Broom is open only Tuesday through Saturday.

I really wish I could have met with the Branch Manager. Normally I'm assertive, but the cold digital first impression really made an impact on me and in the small world of library service I didn't feel comfortable pushing the issue. I think it's important for any library system to recognize the importance of its digital hello to a new patron.

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