On May 24, Marcia Allen of Manhattan and Diana Weaver of Basehor presented a program called “Collections and the Community.” The premise was that library users need to have multiple opportunities to encounter materials in the library’s collections, in all formats. Leaving the items on the shelves and the readers in the town will never help the library become the beloved center of the library’s service community.
Marcy seemed to be enjoying herself as she described ways to bring content and people together, through showcasing, displays, websites, booklists, reviews, staff picks, programs, simple friendliness and a facility made as welcoming as possible. Marcy pointed that the librarians need to learn about the community residents, and that the up-to-date needs of all ages need to be thoughtfully considered.
Marcy ended her PowerPoint with several slides of library users and library staff enjoying themselves immensely, lively illustrations from a library that has become a community center in a vital and growing Flint Hills community.
Diana and her staff at Basehor Community Library had been concentrating some attention on E-books, which Diana described as a moving target.
E-books are a relatively new format that is fascinating, but not yet familiar to many library users. Diana’s advice was fairly simple: Pay attention to them. A Digital Readers Group in Basehor learned to look at them, play with them, evaluate their usability, offer classes on them, advertise their content. But while it is important to publicize their richness, librarians should also share information on the problems of E-book publishing, for this is a media that is still finding a place in the world, and people need to understand the environment as it develops. One of Diana’s important points is that no one is an expert and no one should be trying to be – it will only slow things down. The ideas for E-book development in Basehor could be easily replicated in libraries of all sizes.
Diana ended her presentation with some very thoughtful questions about the future of books. Librarians and library users will be discussing those issues over wine and lattes and cups of tea for years to come.
This program was recorded and the archive link is available at:
The two PowerPoints will be permanently available on the “The Library as Community Center” webpage on WebJunction Kansas, which can be reached at: