Beyond the Bullet Points: Bad Libraries Build Collections, Good Libraries Build Services, Great Libraries Build Communities | R. David Lankes

flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks 2023-04-06


Here is the tweet that led to this post:

“Bad Libraries build collections. Good libraries build services (of which a collection is only one). Great libraries build Communities”

Due to character limits it was often re-tweed without the parenthetical:

“Bad Libraries build collections. Good libraries build services. Great libraries build Communities”

Let’s face it, this is snappier, but it is also apparently more controversial. There were a number of responses along the line that good and great libraries must build collections too. I thought it was worth more than 140 characters to add some nuance and depth to the tweet, so here we are.


First, there is nothing that says that good and great libraries don’t or can’t build collections. It is a matter of focus. If librarians focus solely or disproportionately on the collection, that is bad. This shows up in a couple of ways. The first is obvious: acquisitions with little or no input from members of the community. Are you adding to a collection because of what is on the New York Times bestsellers, or that’s what the jobber sends? Bad. If you aren’t looking at circulations data, having conversations with the community, or looking at ILL data: bad. 

I am reminded of this in the current debate around ebooks. There is a lot of talk about whether libraries should be buying ebooks at all. Someone asked me what I thought and I said that tactically librarians should build their own ebook platform that brings a lot of value to authors, and; two, ask your community. If you are planning on boycotting or simply staying out of ebooks, have you had that conversation with the communities? Does the community think it is a bad deal what the publishers are proposing? Are they ok with not having that as a library service? Note this is not simply asking meekly, but truly having a conversation where you are presenting an argument and showing the community the big picture and then listening.




From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » flavoursofopenscience's bookmarks

Tags: oa.libraries oa.collections oa.communities

Date tagged:

04/06/2023, 06:26

Date published:

04/06/2023, 02:26