Friday, May 23, 2008

Jamie LaRue - market share pyramid

A couple weeks ago, when Jamie LaRue presented the keynote at the Wisconsin Strategic Visioning Summit, he described a "market share pyramid" of successive ways libraries can reach various parts of their communities. There's a copy of the whole pyramid diagram on Jamie's website.He lists the highest thing we can do is to get out in the community; I like that. It's not enough to wait for the reference questions to come to us. People don't know what resources we have to offer, so many of them will never ask. We need to put librarians at lots of tables, where they can contribute and help bring library resources to bear on many questions. That's the "librarian at every table" community development philosophy, just like I learned from Margaret Monroe, in days of yore in library school.

We have a lot to offer and contribute. I'm glad that our staff is involved on community committees, boards and task forces, and always want to be open to opportunities. It's good for professional growth of the staff and it's good for the community.

What are some other ways we could be answering the "community reference question"?

4 comments:

Gillian said...

At library school my friends and I often discussed doing a Reference on the Mall program, when in we would sit outside the main university library with laptops and some books, answering questions from the random people.

Maybe a reference hour at Barnes and Noble, the mall, or even the local grocery store. Have a library booth with reference and some reader's advisory at community events like Art in the Park, Farmer's Market, or even October Fest. As wireless becomes more wide spread and as our reliance on books for ready reference decreases, the bonds that tie librarians to the library building are being severed.

Anonymous said...

Rethinking the approach of the reference question/interview itself. If our libraries are community problem-solvers, it's going to take a creative approach to get people to respond in ways in which librarians can provide the best answers possible with good information. This may or may not involve asking them difficult questions about issues that challenge the structural, financial, and legal aspects of their organizations or business'.

-Jess Bruckner
WisLISjobs.com

Terry Dawson said...

Jess --

Exactly, and I rather think that was part of Jamie's point. It's within the scope of our professionalism to get out into the community and utilize question negotiation and other reference skills on issues that weren't already framed as questions. But it will require both creativity and commitment. We're used to counting "reference questions" in a narrowly defined way, but there is need and opportunity to broaden this.

thanks,
Terry

Jeff Scott said...

Love the pyramid. It could use some tweaking, but it gets the point across as to where we want to be when we engage the public.