2013 trends in Libraryland #4: 2013.
Libraries and our customers are changing like never before. Everything we took for granted is now up for review and improvement. This is what change is all about, not striping away the old, but rather building on the old and improving it.
As I scan the library community, I think the following trends will be “front of mind” as we move through 2013.
►Marketing, marketing, and more marketing. Marketing is the biggest trend to hit library land. In particular, I am watching for the meteoric growth of e-commerce options on library websites (e.g. online payment of fines). I also expect a big push for more pay-per-click video ads and social media networking options off library websites. In the physical world, the more books we can shelve face out, the better our customer uptake will be.
►Fundraising. I know many folks don’t embrace this change in library land, but I believe it is inevitable. As public dollars shrink, we can either do less with less or do more by mining new funding sources. As our fundraising abilities increase, we ironically will be returning to our philanthropic roots. Instead of Molson Stadium, it may well be Molson Public Library.
►Simplify, simplify, simplify. At all levels of the organization, making it easier to do business with us is crucial in 2013. Customers will no longer tolerate complex, time consuming procedures or tedious barriers to access information. Staff no longer has the time to administer labour intensive procedures that have no direct influence on the bottom line. It’s time to launch better customer services, such as opportunity to donate online (e.g. http://www.canadahelps.org/) and patron-initiated interlibrary loans.
►More people space in the library. As physical collections decrease and digital resources expand, this trend is a happy coincidence. We don’t need smaller facilities; we need to repurpose them to meet the demands of our customers and provide our space as community space, meeting space, and flexible collaborative spaces with more comfortable seating.
►More web-based training for the board, staff and our customers. From board engagement workshops to staff online courses and how-to podcasts for customers, online training finally has come of age. We need to embrace it.
In a world cluttered with instant communication and mountains of data, we need great library workers now, in 2013, more than ever. We need to stand up, lead with passion, embrace change, and move libraries forward.
Have a great week.
Kitty Pope #4 January 2013