Friday, April 28, 2006

Just Because it's Not New to You

I went to a panel at the NJLA conference that was hosted by Nancy Pearl. Yes, the Book Lust Nancy Pearl. Yes, action figure model Nancy Pearl. The panel was called Book Crush, which is the title of Nancy's next book. Written in the style of the Book Lust books, this book will focus on books for teens and younger. She said something during the panel that I've often thought over the years. It was:
"Any book that someone hasn't read is new to them."
This is very true. It's why books for children and young adults stay in print for a long time. If it's well written or if the kids just like them (I can think of a few books I loved while in grade school that I think are absolute dreck these days), the publishers will keep them in print.

I thought of Nancy's comment again when going through some older posts over at Pop Goes the Library. The post in question was wondering aloud about the latest King Kong movie and its subsequent DVD release, and that many libraries would be carrying this new DVD since that's what the patrons were looking for. Did that mean that the 1933 and 1976 versions of the movie should be weeded from the collection? PGTL says:
[I]magine how the various versions of King Kong, from 1933, 1976, and 2005 reflect the time when they were made. I mean, wouldn't it be interesting to have a women's study class watch these three versions, and see if our perspectives on women have changed with time? And you could only come to the library to get all three versions of the films, more likely than not.
While some libraries question whether DVDs belong in the library, I have no question in my mind whether they should. They are something the patrons are looking for. We are here to serve the needs of the patrons. I know that often a library carries titles (whether in print or in video) that you cannot buy/rent from a new chain store. As PGTL pointed out in the quote above, the library would be the place to get everything in one stop.

Remember Ranganathan, rules 2, 3, and 5:
2. Every reader his or her book (you could rephrase it: Every person his or her information need.

3. Every book its reader (rephrased: Every information need its person)

5. The library is a growing organism
That last one I'm going to shove down people's throats. It's my repsonse to "We've always done it this way." What if when you wanted microfilm someone said no? Or when you wanted to subscribe to EBSCO, or to HeritageQuest?

We should not be in the business of maintaining the status quo. We need to be ahead of the curve and anticipate the needs of the patrons. If they want DVDs, look we have them already. They want downloadable PSP files? We have them already. They want video games? We have them. They want coffee? We can have that, too.

No it's not what libraries have traditionally done, but when did the profession become to be all about traditionalism and staying the course.

I thought we were radicals.

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