Librarians were talking about the need to re-energize their spaces long before the economy went south. But it was the budget crisis in libraries in recent years that forced some to make their move. Instead of just talking about doing things differently, they needed to take action.
In this issue of Computers in Libraries magazine, we share a case in point. When the headcount at Douglas Library was suddenly reduced by one, management first focused on covering for the shortfall by moving some of the collection around. But by the time all was said and done, the entire library space had been reconfigured and repurposed—and it was all for the good.
In response to reduced funding, other libraries have coped by replacing staff with technology both on the front-facing end of library services and in the back office. Systems ranging from self-check kiosks to cloud-based discovery systems have helped maintain, or even improve, services in the face of waning funds.
The authors appearing in this issue discuss how these options have not only received great attention in libraries, but represent solid strategies for library evolution. But lest we forget what I hope would be obvious to funders of all types, columnist Terrence Huwe reveals some survey data that suggests one of the primary reasons people turn to the library is to work with librarians.
As we streamline, reconfigure, and redefine our libraries, let no one forget that librarians are key to the value proposition.