Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Community Information and Libraries

I think that libraries do a pretty poor job of creating, collecting, presenting, and delivering the information about their communities. It's not that we don't have the resources available to do a good job ... I think it's that we just don't value the information enough. Which is absurb, since it is the one chunk of content that we actually have the ability to grow.

I'm talking about more than just big directories of public services, not-for-profits, and local businesses ... I'd like to see us do more to provide the answers and not just links to where the answers are. If I'm a single mother of three looking for information about afterschool daycare within a 30-minute drive (my break from work) of my kids' school and my work, I don't just want a list of daycare 17 providers that I then have to call and query ... instead, I'd like there to be a db-driven survey type tool which poses a few questions and yields a real result list tht meeting my criteria.

Of course my library -- the Johnson County Library, in suburban Kansas City -- doesn't do it either. All that will change soon ... we need to reposition staff to put the resources in the right place. Haven't figure out how to do that yet, but at least I realize where the bottleneck is.

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