Monday, June 16, 2008

Coming Around

Not too long ago libraries were undergoing a bit of an identity crisis. Many librarians were taking a look around and seeing how people were overwhelmingly drawn to large chain bookstores and not giving the local public library a second look. Library administrators set out to unravel the enigma of dwindling usage in favor of for profit venues. There was talk of how the local public library needed to conform to the model of the large chain bookstores by, among other things, serving coffee and pastries. Some changes were instituted. However, the characteristics distinguishing the local public library from a large, chain bookstore were never abandoned: highly specialized personal service, access to information and entertainment in a wide variety of formats, access to the internet, computers, and commonly used software, as well as classes to instruct interested individuals in their use. Ironically, it seems as though circumstances have come full circle. The launching of the new Borders’ concept store in Ann Arbor, MI recently revealed a startling number of similarities between what Borders is aiming to do and what the local public library already is doing, and has been doing for some time. Click on the link below to read a Library Journal editorial on this new development. Click on the other links to see how the Austin Public Library’s mission of exemplary public service continues to manifest itself.

Library Journal Editorial:

Ask a Librarian:

Computer Classes:

Youth Services:

Super Smash Bros Brawl Tournament @ APL Summer ’08:

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