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Free?

If ‘free’ is Google’s magic sauce, then what is a library’s magic sauce? Most have been free to end users for many years. Free is obviously not sufficient over time.
Just askin’
Stephen

Posted on: September 30, 2009, 10:38 am Category: Uncategorized

3 Responses

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  1. Libraries are great. However, accessing information from the comfort of your computer at home is probably better. In the case of libraries, you need a patron card to login. In the case of Google, you do not. Patron cards are oftentimes restricted to localities (for public libraries) or fees (for universities).
    In the end, if a national library offered better search services to more people than Google than you would see that service go up while Google’s went down.
    My dos centos.

  2. Google has many ingredients in its “magic sauce.”
    –“free”-and I’m glad you put that word in quotes
    –convenient–I can get information just-in-time, whenever I need it, without planning a trip to a library or having to explain what I want to the reference librarian. I can get a quick answer to simple factual questions or use it as a springboard for more indepth searching. If I can’t sleep in the middle of the night, I can get an answer to a question at 2:32 am while surfing in my bunny slippers.
    Important Note: Even if Google can’t find me the answer, it can give me many valuable leads. Even at 2:49 am when I’m ready to go back to sleep.
    –Google is not just a search engine. It’s many apps are very helpful to me in increasing my productivity. Not many libraries I know that has an engine like Google Maps, for example. And they keep pumping out new apps all the time.
    –But while Google is a diverse corporation with many apps, it is still a single entity. Libraries come in all shapes, sizes, complexity, funding models. Google is Google, its many apps and all. That is a hidden strength that binds the sauce together and makes it adaptable for poultry, beef, pork and even seafood dishes.
    What we really don’t know is what we need to add to the magic sauce of libraries to make them viable and desirable places for people to use and frequent today. There are many ideas–many good ones, in fact. But the fact that we have many different kinds of libraries offering different kinds of services, and still, whether we like to admit it or not, serve a distinct localized population or community makes finding the right ingredients that will result in a tasty, complimentary sauce for all users is a very daunting challenge.

  3. Jonathan said

    Actually Patty, I think you have the answer right there! Libraries have “place”. They are a community destination, whether for study and entertainment. The question is, how can libraries improve the experience of “place” for their community?