LIS Trends

An Important New Tool for Public Libraries Helps Them Tell Their “Story”

with 2 comments

As society becomes increasingly technological, Libraries, particularly public libraries, are finding it more challenging to explain their relevance to their communities. Many people think that with the pervasiveness of the Internet and the wealth of information available on it, as well as the rise in e-reader ownership and other digital technologies, that libraries will no longer be needed within the next few years. With this prevailing attitude among the public, library staff are feeling compelled to prove their continued relevance not only to increase or maintain their funding, but also to keep their communities involved in their mission of open access to information, education, charity, advocacy, etc. Some libraries are finding very unique ways to get this message across. One such library is the California State Library.

The California State Library, located in Sacramento, California, is a central reference and research library for the Governor’s office, legislature, state employees, and the general public. On November 3, 2012 at the Annual California Library Association Conference held in San Jose, California, the library presented an exciting new tool that could help public libraries around the country illustrate their relevance in the digital age. The tool, which they titled “The Emerging Story of California Public Libraries,” is a document, or “story map,” that libraries can use to tell their story of why they are important; what the changing role of librarians are, how libraries are adapting to digital technologies, and the many services libraries provide that are still very useful and necessary today, even in a technological landscape (“Sierra Sun Times”).

Though the story map that the California State Library is intended for use in California public libraries, a tool such as this could easily be adapted for any library in the country, maybe even abroad. The important thing is that libraries share their story with their communities and give them a chance to grow with them as they have to continue to adapt to a world that is becoming more digital.


“California State Library announces The Emerging Story of California Public Libraries.” Sierra Sun Times. 09 Nov. 2012. Web. Last Accessed 12 Nov. 2012. <>.


“The Emerging Story of California Public Libraries.” California State Library, 02 Nov. 2012. Web. Last Accessed 12 Nov 2012. <>.


Written by JenniferMillen

November 12, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I agree that a library’s worth is sometimes overlooked. Many people do not find libraries to be a necessary stop when trying to research or find information. The Internet is now the go to tool because it is easy and widely available. Libraries do need to promote their worth to remind people why they are needed just like the California State Library did. Another library that took a different approach to proving their worth is Pacific University in Oregon (Gilman & Kunkel, 2010). At the Pacific University, the library felt it was taking a backseat role in the academic goals of the university (Gilman & Kunkel, 2010). The library felt it was time to take on a more relevant and supportive role by reaching out to other departments of the university and work on achieving goals together (Gilman & Kunkel, 2010). The library also become more involved by offering tools to promote and achieve the continuum of scholarly activity concept (Gilman & Kunkel, 2010).

    Whichever way a library decide to promote its relevancy, it is important that it succeeds in getting the message across. Libraries are a valuable asset to patrons, communities, and society. While it may be hard to measure their worth, their absence would be greatly felt if libraries started shutting their doors.


    Gilman, I. & Kunkel, M. (2010). From Passive to Pervasive: Changing Perceptions of the Library’s Role through Intra-Campus Partnerships. Collaborative Librarianship, 2(1), 22-32.

    Lauren Ziolkowski

    November 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm

  2. libraries will always be used in some format. there will always be students needing outside internet help with studying, research, and information digging. academic libraries will, inn my opinion, be in use as they were many years ago by scholars.

    milo burdine

    November 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

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