Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Browsing the stacks

At first glance the title for this post would seem the farthest thing from "library 2.0", but based on interactions with two different students today, I believe, that no 2.0 library, or 3.0 library for that matter, especially at the community college level, can do without the stacks. Why? We will continue to have students come to our campus who are totally new to libraries, or returning after many years. We will continue to have students who are not sure exactly what they are looking for, but when you get them to a section of books that "clicks" with them, they immediately, and intuitively grasp the power of browsing the stacks.

In the article by Tim Newcomb: Is a Bookless Library Still a Library?, forwarded by Shawn, I thought the author did a good job of pointing out that most libraries, into the foreseeable future, will need to strike a balance between that which makes our institutions traditional, timeless even, and that which makes us cutting edge. It's clear we need to embrace new technologies, new modes of service, and new ideas for conducting all of our internal business. But, it's also clear that we can do all of those things while continuing to support services and techniques that are valuable to our patrons.

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