Tag Archives: Customers

Rebranding Removes the Term Library


At the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I knew this was coming when I wrote The Revolutionary Library in April of 2011, and again in August with The Physics of Your Library Brand. I just didn’t know where it would break out or exactly when.

A library no more . . . Idea Exchange is born. Library rebranding is underway in Cambridge according to the Cambridge Times reporter Bill Jackson in his article last Thursday, February 20. The Cambridge Public Library – Art Gallery • Library • Community Center – in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada was established in 1973 by combining the separate libraries of Galt, Preston and Hespeler with a history over 100 years at that time. In 1992 renovation and expansion of the Library & Gallery in Galt included new space to house a climate controlled art gallery, a studio and greatly enlarged children’s facilities. Additional expansions over the years have created the multipurpose entity that exists today.

I’d like to say it’s an evolution,” said chief executive officer Greg Hayton. “About three years ago, we started using the slogan Ideas Unlimited. About that time we also began to take a careful look at the service provided.

As you know, the advent of e-books, the rise of Google, all these electronic sources and services and means of conveying information have changed the approach that people take to get their information.” [Emphasis added.]

Hayton said the library board felt the need to expand services and has begun to develop much broader programming for children and adults while making a “huge effort” to integrate art as a central component.

“It’s not a separate thing sticking out on the side anymore,” he explained. “It’s central to what we do.

“Being stimulated by art is as valid as being stimulated by something you read in a book, coming to a program or hearing a concert we have,” Hayton continued.

“That led us to think we should look for a new way of presenting these changes that we’re making to the public and that led first of all to the slogan Ideas Unlimited. The second and last stage of that evolution is to do a rebranding, which removes the terms library and gallery from the terminology that we use and replace all of it under one umbrella called Idea Exchange.” [Emphasis added.]

Mayor Doug Craig thinks it’s appealing.

It’s bringing in a new demographic of individuals other than people like myself who are part of a generation that has traditionally seen libraries as book repositories,” he said. “They’ve now become places where events take place, where people get together, where ideas are exchanged.” [Emphasis added.]

“In this case, the library has chosen to follow a rebranding exercise to help strengthen and promote its image.” [Christy Arnold, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport]

The terms library and gallery will no longer be used by the Idea Exchange. [Emphasis added.]

Let me reiterate my comments from almost three years ago. “There is only one certainty regarding libraries in the future – they will not remain the same as they were in the past. … The LIBRARY brand must change. It is no longer BOOKS. Libraries need to actively market their changes to cause a change of perception among library customers – and the public in general – to be competitive in the marketplace.”

Two articles from August 2011 provide emphasis for the point of changing the LIBRARY image, just by changing the name and redefining the priorities to address community needs as Cambridge has done. A third article emphasizes the importance of detaching the term LIBRARY from the physical building.

Don’t call it a library: Stevenson debuts new information center about Chicago area Stevenson High School’s new “Information and Learning Center”.
Now’s time for library with benefits about Carson City, NV efforts to create a new “Knowledge and Discovery Center”.

When “Library” Is Not an Action but an Old Building –A TTW Guest Post by Dr. Troy Swanson in which he reiterates; “This concern was captured by Rick Anderson in his editorial when he said, “Eventually the term ‘library’ becomes an honorific attached to a building, rather than a meaningful designation for what happens inside it.” (Journal of Academic Librarianship July 2011,37:4, p. 290)

How can the library re-invent itself and change its brand to survive in the 21st Century technology and information marketplace? How can we apply physics to library rebranding in order to move the library’s position in the information and community center marketplace?

    • Each library must start with its own local library brand marketing campaign – such as “Likenomics” & Library Marketing.
    • Every access point for customers to interact with a library should be a unique experience – unlike typical LIBRARY experiences – such as Digital Discovery – A New 21st Century Library Skill .
    • Every library must begin to overcome the stereotypical LIBRARY perception by becoming MORE – such as The 21st Century Library is More: and other suggestions in several Blog posts that followed.
    • Re-brand your local library on an incremental scale by creating “a portfolio of brands or maybe new brands for new ventures” – such as new logos for library programs that do NOT include the word LIBRARY.
    • On a regional level, library consortium must conduct marketing campaigns that change the LIBRARY brand to something other than BOOK.
    • On a national level, library associations must conduct marketing campaigns that change the LIBRARY brand to something other than BOOK.
    • Re-brand professional publications, logos and events without the word LIBRARY.

2014 is long past time when libraries should have been responding to the change in the Information Age operating environment – if they have any hope of being relevant to their community.

ADDENDUM:

Eighth-graders design and build a school library for the 21st century
“When we asked them what do you want out of your school, they didn’t use the word ‘library,’ …. “They said they wanted a space to relax and read and discover. They said ‘I want to learn how microphones work,’ ‘I want to learn how ostriches make their nests,’ ‘I want to learn how to make video games,’ or ‘I want to learn better English.’ All these questions about exploration and finding things you don’t know.”

Boston Public Library’s Central Branch Children’s Library “will be filled with opportunities for children to read, create, play, explore, and learn together.” This is what will change the perception of “library” for the future generations of users.

Innovative Library 21c leads PPLD toward new horizons “It’s not just a building,” said PPLD Executive Director Paula Miller. “We’re changing the way we deliver public library service in several ways. The [Pikes Peak] Library District’s board of trustees approved late last month a name for the $10.7 million project, which will be called Library 21c — a moniker representative of its 21st-century model. “Leaders at PPLD find the ‘c’ component edgy and flexible,” the district said an announcement. “ ‘C’ for century; ‘c’ for change; ‘c’ for connections; ‘c’ for create; ‘c’ for community.”

From library to learning commons “We’re talking about a proposal to put the researching and the writing process together,” [Frederick Community College Writing Center Manager Betsey] Zwing said. The library’s print book collection has shrunk from about 32,000 volumes to about 17,000 since 2002, O’Leary said. Organizing those hard copies in the most efficient way would free up 2,500 square feet that could be used to accommodate help desks, collaborative study rooms, Writing Center tables, SmartBoards and more.

Starting from Scratch | Design4Impact While not technically rebranding, redesigning the library’s space for different functionalities is close enough to warrant understanding this trend.

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The Librarian’s Role in the “The Battel of the Books(‘ Readers)”


Do you remember Jonathan Swift’s account of “the terrible Fight that happened on Friday last between the Antient and Modern Books” in St. James’s Library? That was last Friday some month in 1697, but it could easily have been an account of the biblio-fisticuffs between Antients and Moderns any day on the Web in the last twenty years or so.

Jonathan Swift 1704

Jonathan Swift 1704

As in Swift’s day, our Antients and Moderns come in several stripes: Textbook Antients and MOOC Moderns, Printed Antients and Kindled Moderns, Copyright Antients and Open Access Moderns and so on. One stripe to have taken the field recently is the humblest of the lot but nonetheless passionate: the Antient and Modern Readers, that is you, Dear Reader, not the e-reading device. Were you aware of this pugilism by proxy on your behalf across the expanse of the Internet? No? Then, … allow me to provide you with “a full and true account” of the actions of certain of your avatars. ….”


If you are a lover of books and reading, I strongly encourage you to read the entire thought provoking article at “The Battel of the Books(‘ Readers)”

What is our role as 21st Century Librarians in this future of “reading“?

Or, is being a librarian only about ACCESS?

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Millennial Library Users Need … What?


Last August I found the MTV study – Young Millennials Will Keep Calm & Carry On – that surveyed Millennials in greater detail than ever before.

MTV set out to understand the younger end of the Millennial demo, 13-17 year olds, who will soon move into the “sweet spot” of MTV’s core target demographic of 18-24 year olds. This is a landmark generational study that builds on MTV’s long legacy of deeply understanding our audience, as part of an effort to constantly reinvent ourselves and stay at the bleeding edge of youth culture.

katniss2. The Hunger Game’s trailblazing survivalist Katniss Everdeen (the younger end of the generation, peeking into Gen Z). This second wave of Millennials, today’s tweens & teens, have known a very different youth. They came of age in an economic downturn, seeing college grads struggling with huge student loan debt and living through a cascade of social media-amplified tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook. For them, life has always been a 24/7 social media show.

It’s a challenging world to traverse, and like Katniss from the Hunger Games, they are navigating life by honing specialized, self-taught (often Internet-acquired) survival skills. They are also utilizing the advice of their pragmatic Gen X parents, who don’t say “the world is your oyster,” but rather “you have to create your own oyster.”

I used MTV’s assessment to make the point that libraries who ignore their younger users do so at their own peril.

As libraries try to figure out how to become relevant to their community, it is critical to understand the patrons/customers/ members/users who are growing up to be the ones who either support your library and become engaged with it, or ignore it as having nothing to offer them. When young people dislike something, it’s nearly impossible for parents to convince them that it is “good for them,” which means the parents may no longer support the library either because it can’t meet their family’s needs.

A recent assessment of Millennials’ purchasing habits claims that their changing interests and behaviors are having detrimental effects on retailers. This is another eye opening example of how libraries must understand their younger users or face the consequences of irrelevance to their community, just like clothing retailers are facing commercial irrelevance. Fast fashion retail eating into American prep’s sales

AF
You won’t find any clothes with Abercrombie & Fitch or American Eagle logos in Morgan Klein or Stephanie Friedman’s closet anymore.

The twentysomethings prefer the fast fashion route these days – looking for trendy, less expensive clothes at retailers such as Bebe, H&M, and Forever 21.

“I feel Abercrombie is more preppy, and that’s not what I wear anymore,” said Klein, who worked at Abercrombie in her teens.

Friedman holds a similar view. “Everything says Abercrombie all over it, and I don’t really like it,” said Friedman. “If the logos weren’t all over a lot of things, I would probably give it a try again. I think some of the fits are nice and the materials.”

Wall Street is taking notice of teenagers and young adults shying away from brands that used to be a wardrobe staple. The so-called big “A” retailers, Abercrombie, Aéropostale and American Eagle, are slipping out of favor. These stocks are all down by double-digit percentages in the past six months, while the S&P 500 has risen 11.5 percent.

“All you have to do is spend five minutes at an Abercrombie & Fitch and then walk across to an H&M. One striking difference is that Abercrombie is still selling clothes from 1995, but tailored,” said Brian Sozzi, CEO and chief market strategist at Belus Capital Advisors. “H&M has a broader mix of very fashionable apparel at an unbeatable price.”

“The shorter product lead time, basically from design to seeing it on the sales floor, entices the teen each time they are in the mall and online,” Sozzi wrote in a research note on why traditional teen retailers are losing a war. “Kids nowadays don’t want to be boxed into one look like a robot, they want to mix, match and standout.”

H&M, which is part of a growing number of fast-fashion retailers, is adept at getting trends from the catwalk to the sales floor quickly, and at much cheaper prices. It’s a practice traditional chain stores find challenging to adopt, as they place their orders much earlier than fast-fashion stores. For example, many traditional retailers place their holiday orders in April and May, while fast-fashion retailers’ model allows them to order closer to the season.

This retail fashion report tells me two things. First, Millennials are going their own direction away from the “name brand” clothing purchasing trend of the past couple of decades. Retailers used to be able to hang their hat on the fact that young people were unalterably attracted to wearing THE name brand clothing items from head to toe. It made the retail fashion industry rich. Maybe not so much in the future.

Second, the “fast-fashion retailers’ model” has become the new game in town. In recent years in business operations we have seen the “just in time” production-to-market model become the norm. Being able to quickly respond to changing consumer habits has enabled some business to thrive, while those unable to respond wither. A company’s survival depends on its ability to change rapidly in response to its customers’ demands.

The 21st Century Library should be no less customer driven, and no less responsive to their customers’ needs and wants. Being in touch with library users’ interests and habits is more essential to a library’s relevance to its community than ever before.

Understanding the business of the library is paramount to understanding the library’s users and being able to provide them what they want from their library. Without the agility to adapt, libraries will suffer the same decline in business as retail business, because libraries are in the retail business – direct customer service.

[Read: Multidisciplinary – A New 21st Century Librarianship Skill

21st Century Libraries and Librarians Look Like: Innovation

The 21st Century Library is More: Business-like]

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Here We Go Again – Now Librarians Are Immigration Advisors


Has the librarian finally devolved into an information advisor, as well as an insurance salesperson? According to LJ, Hartford Public Library Nation’s First to Be Certified by Bureau of Immigrant Appeals, Hartford (CT) Public Library staff are now immigration advisors – not just immigration information specialists, but advisors.

The Hartford Public Library (HPL) is just across the street from the United States Citizenship and Immigration services office, making HPL a common destination for immigrants who need computer access to bring up information and fill out online forms—access they often don’t have at home. To ensure that HPL staff can serve the needs of this community, HPL has become the first public library in America to have staff members accredited by the Bureau of Immigrant Appeals (BIA), so they can assist immigrants with the often confusing paperwork and online forms they need to fill out to get on – and stay on – the path to permanent U.S. citizenship.

wysmapIs this the future of librarianship in America? Are public libraries becoming an extension of the federal government? If West Yellowstone community needs more forest rangers for all the area parks and camp grounds, should the library have its employees qualified as rangers to help out?

Again, according to LJ, HPL’s multicultural services director sees the new service as being totally in alignment with the core mission of libraries everywhere – to help people access information. She reportedly says that with common fact based information so readily available on the Internet, libraries have to change the kind of services they provide to stay relevant. “We work for the community, and the community needs this service,”

So, if the community needs more DMV offices because the waiting lines are so horrifically long and the service is legendarily bad, a library should step up and start a motor vehicle registration service? If a community needs more health care professionals, the library should train its staff to provide health care services – like becoming “Champions for Coverage” for the new Affordable Care Act? Oh wait, those librarians aren’t health care professionals, they’re insurance salespeople.

The most egregious part of this situation is explained in this paragraph.

Complicating the situation is that, legally speaking, folks without training in immigration law aren’t supposed to offer such assistance, though the line between helping someone operate a browser and helping them fill out important paperwork can become murky, especially in a busy library that helps to serve a significant immigrant population. “It’s really easy to practice law without intending to. Once a person tells someone this that and the other thing about immigration forms, that person is practicing law,” said Rafael Pichardo, a lawyer who works part-time at HPL, providing low-cost legal assistance to immigrants seeking aid. “Getting BIA accreditation for the staff provides the legal authority to do it and legitimizes the institution.”

“Getting BIA accreditation for the staff provides the legal authority to do it and legitimizes the institution.” SERIOUSLY?!?! Now the library being legitimate depends on federal government certification, and librarians are not only allowed to offer immigration assistance but immigration advice! Is that what librarianship has devolved into? Do librarians want the legal responsibility or liability of giving bad advice?

The article goes on to elaborate on how appropriate it is for librarians to be counselors.

Among library staffers who see the demand for this kind of assistance daily, there’s a sense of relief that trained help will be on-hand at HPL. After all, said [multicultural services director], “for a librarian, there’s nothing worse than being behind a service desk and not being able to help someone.”

Or even worse, giving them incorrect information, an all-too common pitfall in legal services for immigrants, said Pichardo. And since immigrants who get poor or incorrect advice can often find themselves deported, they have little recourse if they’re given poor advice, the bills for which can run into the thousands.

It is totally shameful to play on librarians’ desire to help people by twisting the rationale for providing reference services into providing counseling advice. Where do librarians draw the line? What happened to the unbiased delivery of information? Is there no more distinction about what is “the core mission” of libraries? Once the norm for librarianship becomes giving “advice” to library users, will libraries be totally unrecognizable in the future?

When you add to this non-mission personal service the implication in the report that the “community demand” for this service is from people who are not even residents of Hartford and don’t pay taxes in Hartford, one has to seriously question what influences prompted the library to actually pursue this “service” at no small cost to legitimate Hartford tax payers. If I was a Board member, I would certainly not have voted in favor of such a proposal for this library service, unless the incentives for Hartford and the library were extremely lucrative. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

Somebody in this profession had better wake up and realize that the profession is becoming totally diluted from what librarianship was supposed to be – universal access to information – NOT counselor and advisor for personal services.

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21st Century Libraries Look Like: Augmented Reality


THIS IS AWESOME!

ONLY THE LIMITS OF YOUR IMAGINATION ARE WHAT YOU CAN DO WITH THIS IN YOUR LIBRARY!

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Meet The Millennials – Harry and Katniss


Harry1. The magical wizard Harry Potter (the “older” end of the generation) These “first wave Millennials” (today’s 20-somethings) came of age in the economic boom of the 90s/early ‘00s, a time infused with the spirit of “Yes We Can” and the belief that college, working hard and playing by the rules would guarantee future success. Raised by idealistic Boomer parents, they were told they were special and gifted, with a magic wand capable of changing the world. They were shaped by a context of seemingly limitless possibilities.

Katniss
2. The Hunger Game’s trailblazing survivalist Katniss Everdeen (the younger end of the generation, peeking into Gen Z). This second wave of Millennials, today’s tweens & teens, have known a very different youth. They came of age in an economic downturn, seeing college grads struggling with huge student loan debt and living through a cascade of social media-amplified tragedies like Hurricane Sandy and Sandy Hook. For them, life has always been a 24/7 social media show.

It’s a challenging world to traverse, and like Katniss from the Hunger Games, they are navigating life by honing specialized, self-taught (often Internet-acquired) survival skills. They are also utilizing the advice of their pragmatic Gen X parents, who don’t say “the world is your oyster,” but rather “you have to create your own oyster.”

This assessment is based on a recent study – Young Millennials Will Keep Calm & Carry On – by MTV.

MTV set out to understand the younger end of the Millennial demo, 13-17 year olds, who will soon move into the “sweet spot” of MTV’s core target demographic of 18-24 year olds. This is a landmark generational study that builds on MTV’s long legacy of deeply understanding our audience, as part of an effort to constantly reinvent ourselves and stay at the bleeding edge of youth culture.

Millennials are one of the most analyzed, scrutinized, criticized and even glorified generations ever. But what much of Millennial research fails to recognize is that there are two distinct groups within the generation, as illustrated by MTV’s new study.

Generational analysis has always been very vague and generalized because to be more specific about people who were born and grew up almost 20 years apart, as in Boomers born in 1946 compared to those born in 1964, is a difficult task. Few researchers felt the need to be more specific. Early Boomers are very different from late Boomers, because society changed drastically from the post-WWII “Rock-n-Roll” era to the psychedelic “Hippy” era.

The rest of the article goes on to elaborate on the younger segment of Millennials, focusing on four important traits.

Life-Prepping
These pragmatic youth are natural preppers in the face of an unpredictable world – whether planning for physically safety in light of violence or prepping for their futures in a more uncertain economic climate.

Specializing
Young Millennials are consummate brand managers, honing their unique personal brand to stand out and specialize in a world that’s increasingly competitive (whether that’s in terms of obtaining a following online or getting into college.)

Mono-tasking
YMs are consciously taking time to self-soothe (a classic coping mechanism from hyper-stimulation) disconnect, de-stress, de-stimulate and control inputs. They “mono-task” and focus on immersive hands-on activities like baking, sewing or crafting. They claim their dependence on social media is overrated: one girl says “My parents Facebook more than I do.”

Hyper-Filtering
This is the first generation of “digital latchkey kids.” Though increasingly physically protected by parents, teens’ web behavior is not as closely monitored. But like the Gen X Latchkey Kids who created their own rules and regimes while parents worked, youth today are surprisingly filtering out what’s overwhelming to them online: avoiding certain Youtube videos or sites that they think are gross, inappropriate or disturbing.

So what? This is about your library’s survival!
As libraries try to figure out how to become relevant to their community, it is critical to understand the patrons/customers/ members/users who are growing up to be the ones who either support your library and become engaged with it, or ignore it as having nothing to offer them. When young people dislike something, it’s nearly impossible for parents to convince them that it is “good for them,” which means the parents may no longer support the library either because it can’t meet their family’s needs.

It is important to know that younger Millennials may be more receptive to your library website and social media – if it is designed well – because,

Unlike older Millennials who were pioneers in the “Wild West of social media,” today’s teens are “tech homesteaders” – they’re more savvy about how to use the internet, build “gated” groups, “hide in plain view”, curate and filter.

DO YOU KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY OF LIBRARY USERS, AND ARE YOU MEETING THEIR NEEDS?

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Some Libraries Resist Assisting ObamaCare – Some Librarians Express Concerns


While I’ve been busy with other things, I let this issue raised at ALA slip past unnoticed. Issues in library world don’t go unnoticed for very long, especially when they deal with government intrusion. Apparently, during ALA 2013 Conference a video was played in which there was a White House appeal to public librarians to help Americans understand the new Affordable Healthcare Act insurance system that goes into effect whenever – maybe. This federal initiative to get public libraries involved in assisting people to sign up goes into effect October 1.

As much as I dislike relying on news media for any valid information, a Washington Times online article “Librarian foot soldiers enlisted to help with Obamacare enrollment” published June 29 states:

CHICAGO — The nation’s librarians will be recruited to help people get signed up for insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. Up to 17,000 U.S. libraries will be part of the effort to get information and crucial computer time to the millions of uninsured Americans who need to get coverage under the law. The undertaking will be announced Sunday in Chicago at the annual conference of the American Library Association, according to federal officials ….

Libraries equipped with public computers and Internet access already serve as a bridge across the digital divide, so it made sense to get them involved, said Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Libraries will be particularly important in conservative states that are not making much effort to promote the health law’s opportunities.

In Texas, the Dallas library system’s home page has linked to HealthCare.gov — the revamped federal website that is the hub for health law information. Embedding the widget on their sites is another way some libraries may choose to get involved, said Susan Hildreth, director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Some libraries may decide to set aside some public computers for people seeking health insurance or extend time limits on computers, Hildreth said. Some may work with community health centers on educational events. Those will be local decisions with each library deciding how to participate.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is contracting with the Online Computer Library Center to develop an online toolkit and training webinars for librarians, Hildreth said. Librarians are likely to get questions on the health law from the public.
“Frankly whether we’re prepared or not, it’s going to happen, so the best way for us to serve the public is to prepare ahead of time,” Hildreth said.

Lissa Staley, a librarian in Topeka, Kan., specializes in health information, and already is helping people figure out their insurance options.

“I talked to a woman this morning who said, ‘I’m a single mom. I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and my employer will only let me work part time.’ I gave her my card and we’re going to sort through some of her options,” Staley said.

“It’s never just a straightforward question,” Staley said. “It’s always a life story and we help sort through the pieces of where we can help.”

There are several disturbing issues raised by this report, and several unanswered questions about how and how much.

I understand that IMLS is a federal government agency that is required to carry out whatever mandates they are given by the White House, but is it really a local public library’s or librarian’s role to become an insurance counselor to the public? If the Topeka librarian was quoted accurately, she is assuming that role. Good for her. If that’s the way she chooses to serve her library users, and her boss, Board and community agree then that’s great for them to devote library resources to that project. But that’s just one library. What about the 17,000 other libraries who supposedly are being enlisted for the cause?

Is this federal program any different than when libraries used to provide federal tax forms? The IRS provided libraries with the forms to make available to library users. Everybody knew they could get forms “at the library.” But that’s all it was!

Librarians were not and were not expected to be tax advisors. Organizations might come to the library to offer tax filing assistance to citizens, but NOT LIBRARIANS!! If the IRS – still the culprit agency in charge of ObamaCare – wants to provide healthcare insurance information to libraries, fine, no problem. But the White House and the ALA teaming up to encourage libraries and librarians to roll out this new federal program is wrong.

At the LISNews blog the issue was posted on July 2, and some discussion followed. I suspect the discussion was so resistant to helping the White House that it has already dwindled off now. Some of the comments were:

I wouldn’t have the foggiest clue as to how to tell people which insurance they need to sign up for. How much training are we going to be given on this? Because I can just tell you right now, the people who are signing up for insurance aren’t going to know what insurance they will need and will expect us to figure it out for them. Sorry, but considering how confusing health insurance is, I wouldn’t know where to tell them to begin.

Have a set of useful websites with additional information on them (often to be found on government websites to help people) and steer people onto those sites. Providing information and access time doesn’t have to mean sitting there with them doing it.

‘Finding books about “rashes on their crotch” is far different from someone filling out complicated online health insurance forms which might require hours of work.’

Indeed. One is part of our job and one isn’t. We can do what we can for them but we are not specialists so it’s madness to think we should even try to be.

The chances are there will not be the computer resources available in public libraries to fill out the forms required under the new health care law. Librarians can not answer questions about which coverage options a patron may need, anymore than they can answer income tax questions. Was the ALA consulted? Not all public libraries are wallowing in computer resources.

All of these issues are valid and demonstrate a serious impact on public library resources. Did ALA or IMLS or anyone else even stop to consider this fact? Maybe it just doesn’t matter to those who are rolling out this federal program. “Just do it and make the best of it.” How typical of federal demands on public resources that don’t belong to them. Is IMLS providing funds for libraries to implement this program? Of course not! Is IMLS providing and training to implement this program? Of course not! What is ALA doing to provide funds or training? Well, I see one webinar being offered by one organization – Webjunction is offering one webinar on the impact of new healthcare laws and the library. But it’s already full, so better luck next time.

SafeLibraries blog posted some information and posed pertinent concerns on July 5, “Librarians Refuse ALA Obamacare Push; Wanted: Video of President Obama Speech at ALA Conference; Lenny Kravitz’s Message for Librarians.”

Despite the American Library Association’s [ALA] support for equal access and free speech, ALA agreed to allow the President to make a video statement to hundreds of librarians at the annual ALA convention, then to never display nor distribute it ever again. Some librarians bristle at this and related ALA problems with mishandling the message;….

The Sellout: American Libraries to Promote Obamacare,” by Lindsey Grudnicki, National Review Online, 1 July 2013:

So the public library – the institution whose foundational principles are the preservation of intellectual freedom and the unbiased promotion of learning – will become politicized to advance the Obama administration’s agenda.

This agreement between the ALA and the Department of Health and Human Services violates the so-called “Library Bill of Rights,” which declares that “libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues” and that “materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.” The partnership essentially dictates that librarians blindly lead those seeking healthcare to the welfare fountain and encourage them to drink – no matter the consequences, and no matter the myriad of concerns raised about the program. “All points of view” about the Affordable Care Act will not be represented; the proscribed materials (HealthCare.gov, marketplace.cms.gov, etc.) will clearly not offer true “health care literacy.”

What does ALA have to say to all this negativity toward helping the federal government implement new laws?

ALA PRESS OFFICER JAZZY WRIGHT
2 JUL 2013 3:14 PM

Hello everyone,

I want to apologize for the confusion. The partnership between IMLS and the Center for Medicaid Services means that both groups will work in the next coming months to prepare librarians for the number of patrons who will need help enrolling in the Affordable Care Act. ALA is only providing resources on the health law so that libraries can fulfill their mission to make information available to their patrons.

Many of you have attended the ALA Conference “Libraries and Health Insurance: Preparing for Oct 1” on Sunday. The session was recorded and will be available for sale soon. We’re sending updates to all of our ALA Washington Office subscribers: http://capwiz.com/ala/mlm/signup/ You can also get Washington Office news at http://www.districtdispatch.org.

Additionally, IMLS announced that they will work with Webjunction to host online educational seminars about the new health enrollment requirements (see this press release http://www.imls.gov/imls_and_centers_for_medicare_and_medicaid_services_to_partner_with_libraries.aspx).

Warm regards,

Jazzy Wright
Press Officer
American Library Association, Washington Office

Bottom Line: I agree with StephenK who commented on LISNews blog, “Alas I don’t see this ending well.”

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