Balanced Libraries – Some Thoughts

I just finished reading Walt Crawford’s Balanced Libraries: Thoughts on Continuity and Change(ok, that was a long time ago at this point). Overall, I really enjoyed it. I’m a big fan of a balanced approach to anything – so I was predisposed to agree with the message of the book. As I mentioned in a previous post, this book is an easy read. I didn’t sit down to read it from start to finish, but I made it more than halfway through the book in a couple of hours last night – between making dinner, doing laundry, etc. It took me barely an hour and a half to finish the rest the next day (spread out over lunch and after work). To me, readability is key – especially since I tend to abandon things that I find overly cumbersome.

So, here are some of my thoughts about and reactions to this book:

  • I would recommend this book to any of my colleagues. Whether one likes the term or not, the concept of Library 2.0 is important as are the discussions that have taken place around it. Reading Balanced Libraries is a great way to learn more about Library 2.0 – in a very non-threatening way that won’t cause people to become overwhelmed by the winds of change that seem to always be surrounding us.
  • I would also recommend this book to people who are feeling a bit baffled by all of the recent hype demanding CHANGE. Conferences, journal articles, presentations, blogs and other venues are all pushing the tenets of Library 2.0, social software, information commons and radical change. I have a good grasp of these concepts, and I often feel overwhelmed about what it all means in practice. I’ve questioned myself and the state of my library several times because of all of this hype. I came away from the book feeling validated in a not-so-insignificant way. I’m doing what I should be doing. I’m keeping myself informed about the things that I need to know about. My library is doing ok – actually better than ok. We are balancing new technologies and tools with patrons needs – all with an eye on fiscal expenditures. IM, Flickr and assorted other tools just don’t make sense for us. They would only be distractions that could possibly detract from other services.
  • I definitely think it would be great for all library students to read also. There is some great information about how to balance change and continuity in libraries – which to me, is a critical message.

So, nothing earth-shattering here (referring to my post, not the book) – but really, I think the book is well worth reading. It is a great way to start needed conversations.

One Response to Balanced Libraries – Some Thoughts

  1. Thanks–what a nice review. I’m linking to it, of course.

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