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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Library speaking

I'm back from another speaking engagement, this one for the Henrico County Public Library in Virginia. I am reminded, as I am so often, of how wonderful librarians are. The group at Henrico came together for a two-day staff day (half the staff for half a day on December 8, and the other half on December 9). They laughed a lot -- the sign of a healthy culture. I also got to see, thanks to the gracious guidance of Public Services Administrator Barbara Weedman, the quite beautiful Tuckahoe Area Library.

Like most libraries, Henrico is trying to figure out what's next? They have done many, many things right. But getting to the next level of service in today's challenging economic environment takes real thought. My presentation to them was an attempt to call out what the best research of our times is telling us. The second day, in particular, generated a lot of lively discussion, which is fun.

If I had to boil down what I believe the Douglas County Libraries has to focus on over the next 3-5 years it's this: emergent literacy, merchandising, and community reference projects. Underlying all of that is the vital foundation of a strong customer service ethic. And the umbrella is the idea of marketing our value -- something library PR has not often targeted in the past.

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