10 C’s of 21st Century Librarianship

10 c's of 21st Century Librarianship

Libraries have never been just about books. At my library, I preach that it’s not the stuff inside the library that makes a difference; it’s the people, the librarians and library professionals.

So, what’s expected of a 21st century librarian? Take a look at my 10 c’s. I hope they serve as a guide for you or your organization just as they have for my library, the Topeka and Shawnee County (KS) Public Library.

1.We know our customers – their needs, wants, habits and interests. (The key to that is often market segmentation.)

2. We become information consultants, not simply information mediators. We’re not generalists anymore – we’re experts!

3. We make convenience a priority delivering services when, where and how people need them.

4. We communicate with each other and our customers in all the ways that work for them.

5. We create original content, not waiting for the questions but showing people what librarians can do for them. We blog, shoot videos, do podcasts.

6. We practice continuous improvement with our spaces, systems and ourselves.

7. We anticipate and manage change with good planning, strategic leadership & we’re actively looking for the next cool thing.

8. We connect with our customers, sharing not just our expertise but our personalities.

9. We stay current by doing environmental scanning, experimenting with new processes and technologies and providing experiences that mimic and draw on what people like best on the web and in physical space.

10. We collaborate – we have partners throughout the community and leverage resources and expertise to get things done.

Using Market Segmentation to Provide Better Public Library Services

The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is leading the pack among libraries nationwide in our adoption of geographic information systems (GIS) technology to map out our market, better communicate with our current customers and connect to potential cardholders. Our research into who is using the library, how they are using it and who isn’t using it was recently published in a widely circulated (in the library world anyway) magazine called Marketing Library Services. For your enjoyment, we’re republishing the story of our success, with permission from the publisher.

After you’re done reading, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page or email your thoughts to Gina at gmillsap@tscpl.org.

Using Market Segmentation to Provide Better Public Library Services | Article from Marketing Library Services (.pdf)

You can use some of the same tools the library does for free. Discover your target market and find potential customers. Click into Business Decision, a powerful research tool for those interested in market segmentation, marketing, business, consumer traits and purchasing habits.

The Virtual Library

I’m giving a presentation at the COSUGI (Customers of SirsiDynix Users Group, Inc.) conference the first week of March. This is the software helps us manage library operations.  The library’s online catalog is part of that system.  The presentation is called “Keeping It Real: Strategies for Planning and Implementing the Virtual Library.” I’ll post it after the conference.

Library websites have grown right along with library users. What drew people to the web 2 years or even 6 months ago isn’t necessarily what they’re using now. User expectations grow along with the new experiences technology offers and that’s certainly true of library customers.

400 million people are using Facebook. At the end of 2009, Twitter had 75 million twitterers (or tweeters) with 49,000 of them online at any hour of the day. 28 million of us use the iPhone application to connect with Facebook friends; over 3 million of us are reading an eBook on our IPhone right now. ( Me included.)

How do libraries operate in this dynamic and ever-changing environment? Partly by doing what we’ve always done – focus on our customers and deliver services, programs and collections they want and need. In the web environment, it also means using different resources, skills, tools and partnering with other information professionals to deliver the goods.

The most important part of the virtual library, just like the physical library is people. It’s the people of our community who use and support the library and those of us who are privileged to serve them. Things have changed a bit since I was a reference librarian in the previous century. As you’ll see, what hasn’t changed is librarians’ commitment to connecting to library customers and providing great service. Here’s an interview with one of our rock star librarians, Lissa Staley. We talked about how librarians work in this virtual environment and how she sees her role as a 21st century librarian.