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11/07/2006

On telling “our story”

If I’ve heard this stated once, I’ve heard it paraphased at least a hundred times in my tenure here at PLCMC …

“People don’t know what we do because we don’t do a very good job in telling the library’s story”

And as I heard this echoed again just last week, it dawned on me ... perhaps the problem isn’t that people don’t know what libraries do; it’s that we’re too focused on trying to tell “our story" to listen to our users trying to tell “theirs”.

The “story” we should really be telling is NOT the “library’s story” but rather the “community’s (ie our users) stories” and it’s really our users (and their needs) that make libraries valuable, not us!

Yup, can you tell I’m in a reflective mood? Just don’t get me started on … :)

1 comment:

T.Tallent said...

Once again, Helene, you are right on with this. Talking about the Library as an abstraction just really doesn't work (well, doesn't work as well as we need it to). We have to face the idea that at this point in Library evolution we are still dealing with a mass of the public who see us as being walls of books and "shushing" Marion-the-Librarian types sitting behind mahogony desks--and with maybe a few computers scattered around. Telling the "Library's story" has to involve real people--the people who use our services as well as those that are rendering those services--REAL PEOPLE. We need to use names, faces, talk about our efforts, the give-and-take of growing our services (ie, 'transparency')...this makes for a more "real" story... more interesting to tell and more interesting to hear.