Over the past month the library has engaged in the first steps of a new strategic planning process. One of the key components of the planning process is the recognition that the library is serving five distinct generational groups whose needs and expectations bear distinct imprimaturs. To quote Dr. Steve Matthews, Library Specialist, Utah State Library and author of the 21st Century Library Blog:
“Ten years into the 21st Century, public libraries are still predominantly providing “traditional” library services for the “Great Generation” patrons and toddlers who make up a large segment of our users. We also provide services for “Traditional” [Digital Fugitive] patrons, the 76 million “Baby Boomers” many of whom are “Digital Immigrants” … who may need help acquiring information in a digital world. What can/should 21st Century librarians do for them?
Where does this broad spectrum of patrons [Digital Fugitive to Digital Native] fit within the “library service response” framework? Does it? Do we need to revise that framework? How do we span the broad spectrum of services from traditional to digital to meet the needs of these diverse patrons? Do we? Should we? How do we, as a profession, transition from library-centered services to patron [customer]-centered services? What do we need to know, and where do we get the knowledge?”
Pertinent questions indeed. We serve multiple library constituencies, and while all deserve the best services possible the means employed are evolving rapidly. How we provide excellent service which satisfies the diverse requirement of our customers is central to the future of the Otis library and its status as a community asset.