Read On! Libraries are growing organisms

I have been a library user my whole life. My first library was the Vinita Public Library, then Claremore, then the massive Tulsa City-County system, not to mention various school and university libraries. As a library user, I understood how libraries work – I want or need a resource, the library either has it or the staff helps me get it. Pretty simple. 

Once I started Library School and began working in libraries, I discovered the simple experiences I had as a library patron are not quite as simple for the staff to deliver. At its core, every library and every job inside the library is focused on customer/patron service. The entire institution exists to provide our patrons with the simple experience of getting information and resources they need.

This requires a whole host of decisions behind the scenes. Beginning with the materials and resources we purchase – what will our community want? What will benefit the community most? Then, we have to decide how to catalog and promote what we purchase – what subject headings make the most sense? Where will people be most likely to find the item on the shelf? Where should we put the labels and barcode stickers?

In order to make these decisions well, we have to know our community and keep learning our community as it changes. I feel thankful that the staff at the library takes this responsibility seriously. I am even more thankful that our patrons are not shy about communicating with us what you want and need. 

If you’re ever curious about a decision we’ve made, please ask! (you might want to do so when you’ve got a few minutes. I tend to get passionate about this stuff) Also, if you have a suggestion for how we can do something better, please let us know. We are not afraid to examine our practices and try new things if it makes sense to do so.