The response to my post “Proposal: The Case Against Innovation in Libraries” has been interesting. Some people have wondered, exactly, what I meant and wanted to discuss the idea. I also got one trolling anonymous email calling me a traitor.
The comments are worth a read. The post did breeze over (as Eli put it) the real issue of what we’ve been calling innovation for the past few years. A more fair title for the post would have been ‘The Case Against “Innovation” in Libraries.’
In large part we’ve been “meeting users in their space” by using social software stuff. Which is necessary and great, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for it (when it solves a problem). I’m just not sure that it is all that innovative. Meanwhile, other organizations have been doing research and meeting people’s information needs.
This is what I’m trying to say:
Libraries are a bit top heavy with somewhat aimless experimentation. Learning/experimenting/playing is great. And necessary. Etc. Speaking broadly we’ve done a good job developing those skills. However, learning/experimenting/playing shouldn’t be the end goal. Meeting the needs of our users is the end goal. Collectively we now have nice tools at our disposal. A missing piece though is how we figure out how and when to apply the tools.
Forthcoming: How libraries can transform into something more stable and meaningful: