By Kay Westergren, Duluth Public Library

“From Infrasructure to Engagement: Thinking About the Library in the Life of the User” Lorcan Dempsey

This was a very interesting presentation about the shift in perceptions of the “Library” and how as a library we can make the city/university successful and support the needs of the city/university. There is a shift occurring with electronic resource as well as the use of the internet, the Library is becoming more about engaging with the life of the user.

Several main points:
Library in the life of the user – how does it reach out, engage with the life of the user? How does it support the needs of the city/university? The life of the user has changed. There are expectations of speed and convenience. Fragmentation is a deterrent. We need to look at the behaviors of our users how as a Library we interact with them.

Enterprise – How choices need to be made regarding collections; space; services and expertise. What is the Library as space, what are the engagement opportunities, what is the identity of the Library?

Less about collections and more about the people, how do the collections support the needs of the users – vs – the needs of supporting the user’s need of physical space. We need to focus on connection and identity, what is a place, what is meaningful community space?

Creation – Libraries need to support a wider spectrum. Examples include: digital life cycles, copyright, managing data, making spaces, and relationships. We need to be about creating not just consuming. Introduce community engagement, programing for users with a focus on local history, crafts, health issues, etc. We need to ask what can be gained by community engagment.

The above presentation was very profound I thought, many things to consider in the years to come.

I also really appreciated being able to connect and talk with other ILL staff.

Thank you for funding the travel to this conference.