Monday, July 29, 2013



library users.

Thank you. You may go back to work.

Google gives over one million results for "a solution in search of a problem." So there should be a word for that, right? If there isn't one, make one up and create a Wikipedia for it with some bogus reference to a German text citing "Lösungnichtproblem," a solution without a problem.

Libraries are continually pushing new solutions to imagined problems. When, to quote the scholar Johnny Rotten, "the problem is you."

Problem, what you gonna do?

Here is what I see in my library. This is the library patron who hasn't visited any library in many years:
I haven't been to a library since I was a little girl.
What brought you in today?
  • I'm tired of buying shit that I can get for free.
  • I also don't need to own more shit.
  • I just want to read the book or watch the movie or listen to the album and then get it the hell out of my house.
  • I don't want my family to have to sell a whole bunch of crap after I die.
Well, then, the library is here for you.
That's your motherfucking library customer.

There's no reason to chase the customer who can't think of a reason, all on his own, to visit the library. You don't need him.

That NEW THING is not going to get that person to visit the library.

But since you work in a library and you don't know what else to do with your time, I suspect you'll buy that NEW THING.

Did you hire more staff when you did that NEW THING?
So existing staff need to find time to learn this NEW THING?
And spend time not helping your existing customers?

Why would you neglect your existing customers to chase after some hypothetical new customer?

Do you enjoy making people unhappy?

If you look at your visitor stats and your circulation stats and your program stats, and
everything looks good, then why are you fucking with anything?

Did you find new money to spend on this new thing?

If not, did you survey your users to see if they agree with diverting money away from old
things to this new thing?

But let's assume you answer Yes to having new money for new things. And we'll also assume everyone has time to learn this new thing. And you're not really sure what the new thing will do for your library users, but you're read about some success with the new thing at other libraries.

Then, by all means, do it. You have my blessing.