I just finished Carson Block’s article, If Books Are Our Brand, in Public Libraries magazine. It’s yet another look at the changing world of libraries and how e-books have shaken things up. Block says, “I would love our brand to be ‘access to the resources and tools in an ever-changing world.’ That means access to e-everything, including the tools and training needed for content creation, and in physical spaces. Places to gather and discuss ideas. Places to learn, and places to teach.”
I agree with Block when he says we need places to gather, learn, and teach. But, Block’s statement made me think more specifically about our reference collections. For years, we have been shifting to an e-reference model. Many print reference collections have been shrinking as they’ve been replaced by subscription databases. In the past year, my library’s reference collection has been weeded by close to 50%. Our pushback on doing so came more from internal sources than from the patrons.
I think it’s interesting that libraries have been able to successfully shift to online database usage, but we can’t seem to find a common ground with book publishers on making a transition to e-books. I’m not saying I want to make a complete and total transition to e-books. I still am very much a print person, but I hope we can give the people what they want in whatever shape that may take.
-Post by Carrie Straka, Tame the Web Contributor