I’m attempting to get some posts out of “draft” status. Here is one I started a few weeks ago.
I found an essay at LISNews written by librarian, Abigail Goben, regarding the needs of patrons between the ages of 20-40. Goben posits that libraries, while doing an admirable job finding new and exciting ways to reach out to teens and children, have neglected patrons who fall into the post-college (and possibly pre-family) category. Intriguing but who are these patrons? What do they want? If libraries expand hours, staff, and programming (let’s assume that there isn’t an economic crisis and that the coolest, most talented librarian ever is doing the program planning ), will that make mid-20 somethings more likely to walk in the door and stay an hour and a half?
To find answers, I started with the most authoritative source I know: me. Indeed, the patron Goben describes IS me. While reading her essay, I was all nods. In fact, I was one click away from my library’s program website before the thought struck me: “I can barely make time to run inside to pick up my holds, how will I make time to attend programs?” OK, granted, I’m probably not the most representative example of persons of this age group. I work 60 hours a week in addition to trying to keep a new film company afloat. My husband and I share one car, so physically getting to the library is a bit of a challege at times. On the other hand, I wasn’t always this busy. Even when I had my own car, worked a normal 40 hour week and didn’t have a film production company diverting my attention, I still didn’t attend library programming. Is that the library’s fault? Absolutely not. MCPL DOES have programming that interests me, good collections and services, and hours that suit me. I simply didn’t make the time, then or now. Are all of us 20 and 30-somethings too busy with Life? Has Evil Technology destroyed our ability to interact with one another and sit still for ten minutes without Tweeting or checking Facebook? Was all of the wonder and curiosity which we possessed back in college stamped out of us by the big, mean Real World? Surely not. Attending such programming simply isn’t a priority for me.
I’m curious what others of this demographic think. Are you interested in on-site programs at your public library? Is your library offering such programs? Do you attend them? Why or why not?
The expectations of library service held by 20-30 somethings, to my knowledge, hasn’t been studied much. I applaud Goben for putting this concern on the radar. Check out her blog for more smart writing.
Oh, and yes, I can pay my fines online– and yes, I’m feeling rather smug about it.