As the dust settles from the information explosion, what was a whispering amongst the public library stacks is becoming loud and clear.
People’s needs are changing. They have other places to go for information and for books. Bibliophiles are as likely to be found sipping lattes at Barnes and Noble as standing in line at the circulation desk. Some City Hall bean counters now earnestly suggest that Internet terminals at the post office could suffice for the public’s research needs and that the dusty old stacks and wooden chairs of the reading room should go the way of the card catalogue.
Yet somehow, public libraries are fighting back, reinventing themselves by reaching out to their communities and becoming places where people can log on, check out, listen in and speak up.
(Hosted by John Donvan)
Catherine Dibble, Director of Public Service at the Boston Public Library
John Guscott, manager of electronic services at the Lakewood, Ohio, library and editor of the newsletter Library Futures
SuSie Neubauer, head of technical services at the Robbins Library in Arlington, Massachusetts