Canadian Libraries: Innovating and Creating Inclusive Services Pilar Martinez Edmonton Public Library Executive Director, Public Services Canadian Library Association Vice-President/President-Elect...
Final thoughts by:
Pilar Martinez & Kenneth Williment
"The traditional service development process provides a number of ways in which library staff can internally generate programs and services to meet library staffs’ perceptions of community needs. Community-led service development provides a new set of tools which library staff can build upon to ensure the continued relevance of public libraries that truly meet community needs. Unfortunately, systems which continue to guess at community needs will run the risk of being left in the 20th century. This may lead to the development of two tiered library service development, where 1. dynamic library systems respond to community needs beyond those of traditional library users while 2. other systems minimally engage users and try to maintain their relevance to community by marketing and informing communities of ‘their’ services.
As with all other professions, industries and organizations, public libraries need to embrace innovation, thus ensuring that their services are relevant to both funders and the people they are meant to serve. The discussions and innovative practices occurring in Canadian public libraries are exciting because – ultimately – change will occur. The question will always remain – who will determine how public libraries will adapt? It will either happen proactively and internally, and hopefully based on collaborative decisions made with library staff and their communities – or else passive public libraries will be at the mercy of the outside forces imposing the change."