Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Reaching out far beyond the traditional library clients

As I found out at WebJunction there is an interesting projekt to bring cyclists into the libraries: As cyclists rolled over all or parts of the Underground Railroad Bycicle Route (URBR) they cross many libraries on their way. They are able to recognize them because Ginny Sullivan, Adventure Cycling’s instigator of the route, had the foresight to include library locations on the detailed maps available to participants. As a result, the travelers found the local libraries along the way and found a treasure trove of resources: pointers to good restaurants, grocery stores, Laundromats, bike shops. They could use clean bathrooms and even charge their cell phones. Most significant for the URBR experience, they found libraries as the keepers of community history, often in partnership with local historical societies.
-What a good idea: to highlight the libraries on a tourist map! But in doing this libraries have to offer specialized services for tourists (e.g. exhibitions about the region).

As Betha Gutchie highlights
"libraries serve as way stations and the library staff as conductors".
This is really a nice image.
Furthermore Public Libraries have to address to other community groups, too. This also counts for Academic Libraries but in a different way: Academic Libraries have to address their services to local organizations of economy, research and politics, and -of course- to the local citizens. To strenghten the university in competing with other universities they have to support efforts to establish a central repository with all the relevant information, sources and primary data relevant to both, faculty members and sponsors.
With respect to the aforementioned project I am even more intensely thinking about:
Which innovative projects and/ or tailored services are imaginable for Academic libraries?

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