“There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t” – Robert Benchley
When I walk in to a library I can usually tell what type it is fairly quickly. I don’t mean public, special, academic, school, etc. but a library for stuff or a library for experiences. When I walk in to the Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL it is obviously centered on experiences. When I go in to a museum library it is obviously about stuff.
This isn’t to say that AHML doesn’t also have an amazing amount of great stuff and a museum library doesn’t have a wonderful experience, these are not mutually exclusive. I am also not passing judgment on either type, simply pointing out that there is a difference when it comes to emphasis stuff vs. experience which affects every aspect of managing a library.
My home town library is a very interesting case in regards to experience vs. stuff. The adult area is all about stuff as was the kids area. However, in the last 2 years in the kids section has changed from stuff to experience. I love the changes as does my family.
MPOW is a hybrid between stuff and experience. I believe if you come in one entrance you will believe we are all about experience (the theater, kids play area, meeting rooms, Digital Media Lab, and art) and if you come in the other it will look like we are all about stuff. I think it works for my community at this time.
So, what type of library do you work for? Are you changing?