November 15, 2007

News & Opinion: Shanachie Tour

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 4:57 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

The LBI Shanachie Tour (a project of the Delft Public Library) traveled from the East Coast to the West, stopping in at the nation's libraries along the way to document what innovations are occurring there. They maintained a blog on the trip, and every post includes a video of them discussing innovations with other librarians. One recurring theme is how many are hosting gaming tournaments to attract teens. Another is Web2.0. The post from Florence, Colorado even features librarians singing a song they've composed about using open source software in libraries. Seeing the library in Salt Lake City almost makes me want to leave this Midwestern paradise and move into the middle of the dessert.
The Shanachies have put together a very attractive site. You can look at photos from their trip on flickr and listen to music that inspired them along the way. At its core, however, it is how to best serve their customers, and that is why I've written about it. I think it's remarkable that a library in the Netherlands has employed people to travel around our country looking for ways to best serve their public. We've pointed out before that the private sector can gain something from looking at other models, and I think this is another example of that. It is especially important when considering the rise of "Free Culture." It is something libraries have always been a part of, relying on their service to keep people's attention. The Shanachie Tour has certainly kept my attention. I've been watching the videos for about a week now. Thanks to LibrarianInBlack for the heads up on this project.