Monday, April 7, 2014

What do you do, and how can we help?

I am still being asked how the work we are doing is different from what library service areas have always done in the past.  Recently, I came across a couple of quotations in my notes from the Harwood Institute training, and realized they describe the situation perfectly.

If you take the first quote, "Here is what we have, and how would you like to use it?" and put it at one end of a continuum, you have, in varying degrees, a fairly typical  description of what libraries have been saying to schools, day care centers, senior centers, and other organizations for a long time.  We do outreach, and do book talks and speak about databases and ebooks and all of the other wonderful resources they could have access to either in the buildings, or electronically.  There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT! It's our message.

On the other end of the continuum, is the second quote.  "What do you do, and how can we help?"  It's a much different message.  It sums up what embedded librarianship is.  Embedded librarianship, according to many is the way of the future.

In the work of the cluster, we have been moving, albeit slowly, from the first quote towards the second.  It is less about "come see us" and more about let us come to you (either literally or figuratively).

We are actively involved with the North Philadelphia Community Science Network with the Franklin Institute and other local organization. And, we are in the process of building a collaborative working relationship with Temple University Libraries.  Relationships with a number of other community organizations are being strengthened or formed.  All of this in addition with our traditional relationships with schools, etc.

It is subtle, but it is a change.

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