A young friend of mine recently moved to California. She's been sending back thoughtful and astute observations about the public library she works for out there.
Not surprisingly, that library is different from ours in ways both large and small. For instance, we are an independent library district -- the only kind of public library that is directly accountable, not to some other governmental entity with its own concerns (such as a county or city), but directly to the people it serves. My friend's library is within a city with lots of its own problems.
Recently, I was elected to something called the OCLC Membership Council. OCLC is a company that has been around for over 30 years, since the dawn of library automation.
Nonetheless, OCLC is a little hard to define. It is...
* A world-wide libary catalog. OCLC is used by librarians in 109 countries to describe over a billion books, music and film recordings, theses, photographs, and other documents.
Recently, I wrote an article for a professional magazine about "the 21st century public library."
I outlined the broad process through which most public buildings are designed and constructed. The idea was to give librarians who haven't gone through all this a template to follow and to tweak.
Since then, I've been thinking more generally about the question, "What will tomorrow's library look like?"
I know people have wondered for years just what happens when somebody walks into the library with a question about local history. Well, now, thanks to Douglas County's government cable TV station, DC8, all our secrets have been laid bare.
It's in their recent "Kit Carson's Last Campfire," an original musical detailing the real story of Kit Carson in Douglas County. When challenged, the staff of the Douglas County History Research Center springs into action.