I came across Matt’s musings on libraries. The upshot of his story is that libraries are still living in an enterprise 1.0 world. He cites the fact that one has to physically go to a library, that the collection is basically hard copy (and even the hard copy is not reliable since items may be missing or out of date), and even the internet service requires a booking and is therefore not instantaneous. Libraries are essentially static collections.
This is not totally true of course. There are access points and information available from libraries on the internet. For example, the PICMAN database of photos is online. Perhaps an enhancement would be to allow tagging and comments to such a collection. There could even be a blog based around historical photos, modern image preservation techniques, and storytelling.
However, the nub of the matter is that libraries are no longer the single comprehensive source of a wide swathe of information and knowledge like they used to be. It’s true that Google and instantaneous access to information from other online sources are often preferred. Today, information is about immediacy, networks and collaboration. At the same time, libraries do themselves no favours when they are seen to be collectors and holders of information rather than distributors of information and advocates of the knowledge society.
Libraries need to be not only depositories of information, but delivery channels for information. Libraries could make use of their space by holding seminars, creating social spaces like cafes, and encouraging other community events to host functions in the library space (subject to that space being available of course). Libraries need to enhance linkages between people and information resources, both structured and unstructured. Libraries need to market themselves and their knowledge professionals as being part of a chain of information flows rather than just offering a commodity stock. Lastly, libraries need to embrace openness, interactivity across a range of channels, innovative practices, and fun!