How Well Do We Know Our Patrons?

Library patrons come in all varieties with different information needs and different expectations from the library. Invariably, we often need end up making a composite of our “average” patron in order to try and determine how best to serve that hypothetical patron. We certainly don’t have enough resources to be able to meet everyone’s needs all of the time. And I think that we often lose sight of the niche populations – especially given that they may not be the people that we see every day, over and over again.

In this vein, The Krafty Librarian posts about a trying to help The Tech-NO Patrons. The Krafty Librarian was helping a nurse who called needing information for a paper to be written this coming weekend. There were some very interesting hurdles because of the fact that the student did not have an email account. The lack of email account meant that it would take longer to get the nurse the information that was needed. Because of this, the Krafty Librarian worries about the level of service that is available to patrons who do not have a certain familiarity with technology. From the post: “By utilizing library and web technology are we participating in a sort of information Darwinism? If so what is our obligation to help prevent those users from being naturally selected out of the information revolution?” This is an important question – and one that needs to be addressed if we do not want to exclude entire segments of the populations from using our services.

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