May 22, 2007

5 ideas to develop the library

Idea # 1: Make the library digital

Once upon a time, there was a rather clear distinction between, on the one hand, information transfer through education, and, on the other hand, the provision of information by the library. This distinction is history. Why? Library services are now a part of education which, increasingly, is offered through the Internet. And Internet products are rapidly changing the way we educate ourselves.

Digitizing an entire library is expensive, complicated and time consuming. That’s why there is, today, still more information available offline as online. Modern libraries aim to make as much relevant information as possible accessible electronically - while retaining paper subscriptions where necessary. Ideally, users have access to all sources of information.

Here are some examples of digital libraries:

* http://www.google.com. Search engine organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible and useful. Includes http://books.google.com/ and http://www.YouTube.com.

* http://www.ebscohost.com/thisMarket.php?marketID=6.

* http://www.lexisnexis.com/.

* http://www.ecch.com/. Management case studies.

* http://www.wikipedia.org/. Free encyclopedia made by users.

* http://worldcat.org/. Network of library content and services that lets you search the collections of libraries in your community and thousands more around the world.

When digitizing the library, keep it simple for the users. Learn from Google.


Idea # 2: Help library users on the Internet

The library is shifting its emphasis from collection to connection. An important role of the future library will be to efficiently provide access to information that, for a large part, will be stored elsewhere. How about a “chat with the librarian” service on the library website? The communication with the librarian might very well help library users/guests better be able to define their real needs as well as find the specific information they need – using, for example, relevant digital libraries.


Idea # 3: Take the library into the fitness centre

Renewing a fitness centre by integrating a library has more advantages. An example: By listening to an audio book while working out on a bike, the fitness centre users/guests will find it twice as valuable to go the fitness centre:

* They will acquire more knowledge about a subject by listening to the audio book and thereby stay mentally fit.

* At the same time, they will get exercise by working out. As a matter of fact, people might stay longer time on the bike, because they focus on they hear and thereby forget about their sore muscles.


Idea # 4: Build a cinema and/or a café in the library

We do not only acquire information by reading. In fact, videos seem to increasingly become one of the more important ways to acquire information. More and more frequently, we watch the news on various news websites instead of just reading the news. Here’s a suggestion to proactively meet this change: Equip walls in libraries with large flatscreens where people can learn about the library products - be it books, magazines, and/or musical pieces. By using headphones, library users/guest don’t disturb each other. Make as much as possible interactive. In other words: Give the people many possibilities to participate. This will increase learning.

Also, ask a café entrepreneur to start a café in the library. Besides serving café, he/she could also organize facilitated events where authors/artists show up to discuss their products with the library users/guests.


Idea # 5: Build an art gallery, a museum, and/or a music hall into the library

Let people working with art hang up their drawings, paintings, sculptures etc. on the walls/floors in the library for a period of time, for example 1 month. During this period, let the artists work in the library – thereby giving library users/guests the opportunity to talk to the artists as well as watch them work on new art products. Encourage artists to put prizes on their art products, so people can buy them at the library.

Also, let a jazz band or another type of band play in the café and/or in the part of the library that is used for music products. This initiative will satisfy more stakeholders: Library users/guests will get inspired by listening to bands practicing. And bands get an audience. The part of the library used for musical products and performances could be made soundproof in order not to disturb people in other rooms.
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