Can libraries be all things to all people? (06/08/19)


Image credit: Reading Room, Mitchell Building, photograph by Ivan Ives, 29.10.1943, Pix Magazine Collection via State Library of New South Wales.

Academic, school, public, special, and other types of libraries all aim to provide equal access to a wide range of diverse community members. There is a growing range of services some offering legal advice, research assistance, copyright advice, technology help, sustainability workshops, training and business spaces and an increasingly wider variety of physical and digital items. In public libraries there is a debate on whether they should be taking on social work roles. Are libraries doing enough? Are they doing too much? Can libraries be all things to all people and should they be? 


Questions for the chat: 

  1. Does your library have a mission statement? How does your mission statement help identify your scope of service and target audience?
  2. What interesting services outside of traditional roles can you think of that are offered by libraries now?
  3. Job creep is defined as undertaking a slowly increasing amount of work without supervisor acknowledgement. Have you experienced this? How can we combat it?
  4. How do you think trying to be all things to all people affects librarians? How can librarians balance good self-care against library user expectations? 
  5. Does offering “more” equate to broader use of libraries? If so, where do we draw the line?

Join us on Twitter at 9pm AEST on Tuesday 6 August 2019! If you’re new to Twitter, and/or #auslibchat, be sure to check out this awesome guide to maximise your experience!

Don’t use Twitter, or want to comment anonymously? Email your questions or answers to or PM @aliangac and we’ll include them in the chat.