This was on the "Gather No Dust" blog today - http://gathernodust.blogspot.com/
I loved the ideas for how to put control into the hands of our customers!
In a similar vein Helene Blowers of the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenberg County passed on an great comment about the learning libraries at http://www.librarybytes.com/2007/09/more-thoughts-on-learning-libraries.html
Yesterday at our Peninsula Center Library Advisory Committee ( a group of community members interested in the library) One of the committee members, a retired librarian, made an eloquent plea for us not to abandon the systems and structures (her example was the structure of a catalog that can be searched very much like a traditional card catalog) that older adults are familiar with. This generated an enrgetic energetic discussion about the challenge of serving the needs, skills, and learning/information seeking behaviors of our older community members vs the very different needs and behviors of other groups such as kids and teens. In this context I particularly appreciated the comment from Helene:
"A learning library should empower users to achieve their goals, not provide libraries with a means to push forward our own personal objectives (and yes, admit it... every organization has personal objectives that sometimes counter customer's needs - it's only natural).
I think the challenge here for many us in libraries is to realize that when we can abandon our own personal agendas in favor of our user's needs (and put them first at the top of the pyramid), we not only make our libraries more valuable to our community, but we also create a cascading effect that saturates the insecurities that drove those personal agendas in the first place.
BTW: The pyramid I see here is inverted with users filling up the the top plateau and library staff at the tiny pointed base, supporting this huge community through a flexible and adaptable balancing act that allows everyone to achieve success."
Now there's a challenge!