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Showing posts from September, 2015

When patrons misbehave: 10 guidelines

One of the surprisingly popular talks I've been giving (most recently, this morning in Rapid City SD) is about public library policies. I don't focus on particular wording, or even a checklist (although such checklists do exist, like this excellent one from the Colorado State Library). Instead, I focus on the general orientation that boards and staff should take when confronted with the inevitable issue of patrons behaving badly.

Although it will come as a surprise to some, the best response to trouble isn't always to create a new policy so that stern librarians can ensure it never happens again. I propose a set of guidelines, instead. They are:
Begin with general policy guidelines. Start with ALA's Library Bill of Rights, one of our clearest statements of professional purpose.Use your best judgment. No matter how thorough your policies may be, there will be surprises. Remember the mission and values of the institution, and do your best.Presume innocence and good intent…

Six trends

I've been doing a talk for a while now about what I believe to be the five transformative trends most deeply affecting libraries today. But after each talk, I pick up a lot of insights from the audiences. After my last talk (for NEFLIN, in Jacksonville FL), I realized that I now think there are SIX trends. And I have begun to think of them as a movement from one thing to another. So it looks something like this:


EMERGENT LITERACY ==> from book desert to book abundance
DIGITAL PUBLISHING ==> from gatekeeper to gardener
COMMUNITY REFERENCE ==> from embedded librarian to community leader
SELF-DIRECTED, COLLABORATIVE LEARNING CENTER ==> from consumer to creator
GENERATIONAL TURNOVER ==> from Boomer to Millennial
ADVOCACY ==> from head to heart

Literacy. That is, given what we have learned about the importance of early literacy, there's no excuse not to push more books in the homes of children between the ages of 0-5. And we can track that.

Digital publishing. In the area…