Give ‘Em What They Want!: Managing the Public’s Library
American Library Association
Submitter: This was not a bad choice for 1992. But holding on to it today is just sad. This was still being used at my local library. I think it’s time to update to this century.
Holly: This was great in the early 1990s! I even like the “give ’em what they want” philosophy for library management books for today. It is just too dated to be useful, though. The screen shots below (especially the Baker & Taylor ordering system) are just comical. Of course technology is still part of long-range planning, as indicated in the third image below (the one with the microfilm machine), but the way that is worded is soooo 1992. Or earlier.
Managing the Public Library
In honor of National Library Week, we have a few bonus posts to make sure you are also thinking about your professional collection. (When was that last weeded?)
This relic was published in 1984. I’m not sure what was updated or revised (or if it was updated or revised…) because the second edition still cites data from 1981-1982. (Really, really old data like per capita expenditures and revenues.)
There is barely a mention of computers, other than to say that computerization and automation could really help libraries improve the use of tax funds through “more effective use of personnel, and better control of resources” (p. xiii). Well, that’s certainly true – and has been for thirty-odd years.
The page on audiovisual services talks about how libraries often separate collections by format. You know, so that a patron who does not have access to a film projector won’t waste their time looking through film reels.
The marketing section focuses on TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, billboards, flyers, and direct mail. Libraries may still use those venues in marketing today, but a more useful book on the topic would have to include e-newsletters, social media, mobile apps, and other techie techniques.
My library hired a new Director when our previous Director retired a while ago. As she read all the various manuals and documents left behind, she came upon a small collection of books in her new office. Since she has a great sense of humor and appreciates ALB, she bestowed some of the worst books she found upon us.
What we have here, my friends, is a very well-written, informative little tome on strategic planning for public libraries. At least, in the late 80s it was. When I saw the cover of this book I knew ALB had to have it. That hair! That outfit! The complete lack of anything technological in that office!
And then there’s what’s on the inside. The first picture (below) shows a woman pointing to a completely blank flip chart, smiling like she’s so proud of her fake presentation. (Maybe it just didn’t show up in the grainy black and white photos and there’s actually something on that white board?) Picture #2 shows a woman using a sweet old-school phone. The text on that page talks about how libraries have extensive vertical files. True, some libraries may still have vertical files, but many, many more have moved to web links or digitization. Picture #3 shows what looks like a computer, but is clearly old, old, old. Not a great representation of libraries today.
The text is dated in places, but surprisingly has a lot of pretty good advice too! But alas, I would have to weed it in favor of something completely current. Half-relevant doesn’t cut it upstairs in the Admin office.