Journal entry from a GOLD/GALILEO Users Group Advisory Committee Representative – Conference Musings – On behalf of large public libraries – July 21, 2010 – Deborah Mack, Electronic Resources Librarian, Atlanta Fulton Public Library System, Atlanta, GA
I’m writing to share a few orbital observations from a fellow procurer librarian.
A significant virtual audience exists outside the public library galaxy, and our goal is to tap into that base. Public Librarians are grappling with the needs of patrons who no longer physically visit the library. Figuring out the best mixture of formats — “downloadables,” CDs, DVDs, etc. — to acquire for this audience is no small feat. Sessions such as “Increasing your online magnitude…” will make for lively discussions on how to reach the virtual audience through Web site usability fundamentals. The if-you-build-it-they-will-come concept does not hold true here, with Google lurking on the faint outskirts of our galaxy. Hearing the collective voice of our patrons and gathering feedback from them is essential. Why fly to the moon and beyond only to miss the thrill of dancing among the stars?
Does growing-up mean we can’t ever grow back down?
Public Librarians will also look forward to hearing nuggets from “When Generation Y Asks ‘Y Not,’” which promises vital insight on a sometimes misunderstood young audience that is dramatically influenced by Twitter, Facebook and other social networking tools. If the public library does not cooperate creatively with this group’s expectations, Generation Y may stop asking altogether, turning bright futures into black holes – devoid of critical thinking skills. We must not forget this generation of future stakeholders, and now is the time to shine a light on a segment of library users whose needs are sometimes as hazy as the Oort Cloud!
Is there a pay-off to heeding this field-of-dreams-type virtual voice?
I can’t predict if large public libraries will experience a heaven-feels-just-like-Iowa euphony but one thing is for certain: This year’s GOLD/GALILEO Users Group Conference will help us (hyper)drive the e-revolution in libraries!
– Or –
Thrive GOLD and GALILEO! “Cent’anni” (A hundred years [of good health / luck]) (Italy) — DB
Debora S. Mack
Electronic Resources Librarian
Atlanta Fulton Public Library System
One Margaret Mitchell Sq.
Atlanta, GA. 30303
Director, Resource Sharing & Interlibrary Cooperation
Georgia Public Library Service
A Unit of the BOR Univ System of GA
1800 Century Place, Suite 150
Atlanta, GA 30345-4304