Oh, you’ve heard me say that before? Yes, you have.
It’s not original with me. The great “father of library science,” S. R. Ranganathan, gave us his brilliant Five Laws, which are still applicable today, with a little revision/modernizing. The fifth one, though “The library is a growing organism,” needs no revision. A library should be a continually changing, never static, institution. This sounds a lot like my mantra, that a library must respond to the needs of its community.
Recently (November 2015), OCLC published a compilation called The Library in the Life of the User: Engaging With People Where They Live and Learn. It is an important read, I think. The subtitle “engaging with people where they live and learn” seems like still another way of saying a library must respond to the needs of the community, and the library is a growing organism. Chapter headings include:
- Reordering Ranganathan: Shifting User Behaviors, Shifting Priorities
- What is Enough? Satisficing Information Needs
- “If it’s too Inconvenient, I’m not Going After it:” Convenience as a Critical Factor
- “I Always Stick With the First Thing that Comes up on Google:” Where People Go for Information, What they Use, and Why
- Meeting the Expectations of the Community: The Engagement-Centered Library