Dear Colleagues:

Reflecting over more than three decades of library service, I realize that some in our profession have fallen victim to library mentality.  Have you?

As a public entity, it is too easy to become complacent, to assume that we will always be funded, that any budget cuts will not really significantly impact our library, and that regulators will always keep our doors open. 

Library mentality threatens our future.  What is it?  It’s thinking that selling the value of a library is done only once a year during budget negotiations rather than on a daily basis.  It’s reading about a library closure and believing that it could not happen here.  It’s bragging about hiring marketing, outreach and customer service consultants; yet, implementing few, if any, of their recommendations.  It’s surveying customers and allowing the data to collect dust.  It’s thinking that a public library, funded by tax payers’ dollars, should not be adhering to business return on investment principles. 

The public library is no longer “the” only source of knowledge and information available to our customers.  Competition today and in the future is too intense to let library mentality handicap our profession.  Public libraries are always only a one vote majority away from closing their doors. 

We must continually remind and demonstrate to others that our core mission remains of value to society.  I encourage each of you to take the lead within your library to stamp out library mentality. 


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