Monday, July 5, 2010

Want = Need.

from "Libraries embrace new technology," by Jason Lea and Cassandra Shofar, News-Herald, Ohio.
Underlying these changes are two questions: What do people want from libraries and how should libraries remain relevant?

Libraries are trying to use technology to accommodate as many of their patrons' wants as possible, which is as it should be, [library director, Lynn] Hawkins said.

"Shame on us if we don't anticipate our patrons' needs," she said.
It's an interesting observation for how "wants" evolve into "needs." I want a mobile phone becomes I need a mobile phone. I want an iPad. I need an iPad. I want you to shut up. I need you to shut up.

In a society where practically every want is satisfied, everything becomes a need.

What does anyone really need? We used to answer that with "food and shelter and companionship." Now we need so much more. So I see this as a sign that society is on the edge of collapse.

Supplying for our patrons' needs is always a challenge. When we satisfy their wants only to create new needs, are we fulfilling the library's mission?

This is what happens in tight budget years. We look at all these needs and can't cut anything. We need those Nooks. We absolutely need that online conferencing. So we cut the Children's department staff. Or we shut down a branch.

I don't really have a point. I'm just thinking. Making a point would take too much time, and I'm doing laundry. I need to do laundry.