Don’t forget service!

When plans to create or overhaul libraries are drawn up these days, the way they work, their premises and staff profiles are all seen in terms of service rather than holdings, the aim being to shift the main focus of what libraries do from holdings back to readers. This paradigm shift has a number of consequences. More services to readers means less time for behind-the-scenes duties. “Simplified” services often require considerable logistical back-up. Furthermore, traditional and innovative services alike need to take account of the “mass personalisation” of readers and their needs, regardless of whether the services in question are offered on or off site.