Deeply Local at our libraries

I made this 2 minute video essay, Deeply local at your library 101, for the Library 101 project.


The key for libraries to thrive in the new digital landscape is to get deeply local.

Libraries have a competitive strength over Google or Amazon or off-the-shelf one-size-fits-all databases.

We can use human skills to know intimately our communities and their information needs. We can know what type of information they want, how they prefer to get it and ask them questions.

We can provide platforms for creating local content and match existing content to the needs of our communities.

Rather than declining in a world of born-digital user-created content , libraries have a chance to occupy a central place in our communities.

We do need to change the way we do things.

The deeply local has five key components:
1. Community – Knowing intimately our communities and their informational, recreational needs. This could involve chatting regularly to our users, conducting non-user surveys or analysing the hits on our website.

2) Content – Knowing the content available for our local community and by our community. This includes local history collections in local libraries and institutional repositories in academic libraries.

3) Local linking – Linking our community with each other via local content, or content that meets their informational needs. Encouraging study groups in our buildings or hosting a social network for a local bookclub is an example of this.

4) Linking to the world – Linking the world to local content. Linking our users to the local information hosted elsewhere. Essential in this is providing free and open access to material produced with public money and understanding about the best ways to get data in an out of our systems for remixing.

5) Knowing possibilities – Knowing what is available and possible with information and content – and bringing that back to our communities and matching it to their needs. Getting deeply local is not about doing exactly what our users want – we can do better than that. It is about library staff knowing about how to connect people and information so well that we exceed our users expectations.