Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Going Out in a New Coat and Old Shoes

It's interesting to think about B-Logistics at ALA this year and last.  We've seen lot's of change over eleven-plus years as a library partner, but it all seems a bit accelerated recently.  Doesn't it...or is it our imagination?

B-Logistics has undergone significant change prior to each of the last two ALA shows.  Prior to New Orleans last June, we were acquired by a much larger software and logistics company and expanded our operational presence tenfold across the country.  This year, prior to Anaheim, that same larger, acquiring company re-branded itself Discover Books (www.discoverbooks.com and http://www.blogistics.com/b_logistics_pr_06-12-2012.php) and made deeper commitments to books, literacy, libraries and social good in general.

But, B-Logistics' steps seem merely reflective of a faster pace of change in Library World at some base level.  Libraries remain community pillars to be sure, but all the variables in their world seem to be evolving more quickly.  Funding.  Technology. Volunteerism.  Facilities.  And so on.

E-books are here...for better and worse.  The economic climate remains challenging.  Friends groups have never been stronger, or never more obsolete, depending on who you ask.  Kiosks may be the new branches, and the internet may kill the bookmobile.  It all makes for a swirling stew in a pressure cooker.  That's exciting and terrifying all at once!

While the library's role as a community hub and repository of information and learning is safe (arguably more important than ever), is the model changing radically?  If it's only the same incremental change that we've seen for years, decades and centuries, should we encourage radical change in an effort to make libraries the community vanguard again?