The library: A distinct local voice?

Charles Lyons


Librarians collaborating with their patrons and using technology to tap deeper into the reservoirs of local knowledge within their communities? Creating and becoming active participants in locally-focused online communities, blogs and wikis? Leveraging local search engines and creating their own customized locally-focused search engines? Libraries mapping information relevant to their communities? The librarian as local expert specializing in the hyper-local content not captured elsewhere? It may not be the norm, but it’s already happening. This paper examines the library’s place as a local information provider — highlighting local activities that libraries are currently involved in and suggesting some ways that libraries can become better recognized as places to turn for local information. The convergence of a few factors make this topic timely:
Libraries are well-positioned as community-focused institutions that have a history of helping preserve, organize and promote access to local information.
The importance of and demand for local information seems to be growing.
The Internet is becoming more “place-conscious,” enabling improved ways for disseminating and accessing local information.

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