Death Reports Have Been Greatly Exaggerated! Libraries Are Alive and Well!

At some point in your life, you’ve probably heard something similar to the first sentence of our headline above. It was first uttered by the popular American writer, Mark Twain, in 1897 when he said, “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!”

I was reminded of that famous phrase recently after reading a magazine article about the rapid demise of so many things we once considered as a part of our daily life. That list included record stores, hand-written letters, VCR tapes, phone booths, newspapers, zip drives, book stores, bank branches, libraries ….WAIT! Libraries? I beg to differ!

I can understand the current plight of major bookstore chains. So many chains have already closed their doors: Waldenbooks, B. Dalton, Borders, Crown, Tower, Encore, and many others. Barnes and Nobel is currently the largest book retailer in the U.S. with 690 brick and mortar locations after having closed more than 50% of its stores.

I can see where one might assume that libraries would obviously follow the fate of bookstores. However, that isn’t the case. I’ve had the privilege to work with a large number of libraries across the country. In doing so, I’ve had the opportunity to witness, first hand, many of the reasons why libraries are enjoying a “re-birth” as they continue to grow, prosper, and serve dedicated patrons from coast to coast. In fact, I’m scheduled to work with a major library consortium in southern Ohio next week. The very fact that they’ve scheduled a session focusing on the many aspects of change explains their success in surviving and thriving in today’s chaotic business environment.

The answer is quite simple while the execution is a bit more challenging. Libraries have made the critical decision to utilize change strategies in their pursuit of customer satisfaction, loyalty and longevity. They continually strive to discover the needs and desires of those they serve and then proceed to create services to better serve those customers.

If you were to visit a progressive library today, you might be surprised at what you find. The list of services is not only impressive but probably much different than you might expect. Of course, that list differs from location to location so you’ll want to visit your local library for more details.

I don’t want to spoil your surprise, so I’m going to share just a few of the new, unique services you may find during your visit. I hope this short list will whet your appetite, enticing you to schedule that visit to your own local library.

  • Obtain passports
  • Talking Books
  • Tax Assistance
  • Genealogy
  • Virtual Library
  • Software Tutorials
  • Wireless Internet Services
  • CD & DVD Disc Repair Services
  • Color Copiers and Fax Services
  • VHS to DVD Converter
  • Services for the Blind
  • Author Appearances
  • Lending Technology
  • Hispanic Resources
  • Homebound Services
  • Computer Classes
  • Literacy Materials
  • Free Online Classes
  • Discussion Groups
  • Foreign Language Collection

Baby Boomers seem to have forged a strong relationship with today’s libraries as well. Due to the constant growth of technology today, many Boomers are overwhelmed at the choices and challenges available to them. Well-trained staff members offer a variety of services and assistance in this area, creating a much-appreciated comfort zone for so many.

This staff is still another tremendous asset adding great value for you. You’re going to find a very friendly, educated, and dedicated staff that is focused on meeting your every need. Libraries attract unusual staff members … those dedicated to personal growth, education, books, resources, and total satisfaction for those they serve. That staff is still another reason you’ll want to return again and again.

The Library is no longer just a lot of books —today it’s Community! Do yourself a favor and schedule a visit to your local library for you and your children and/or grandchildren. There’s something there for everyone, and you certainly won’t regret it. I’m guessing it’ll be a start to a great tradition!

About Harry K. Jones

Harry K. Jones is a motivational speaker and consultant for AchieveMax®, Inc., a company of professional speakers who provide custom-designed seminars, keynote presentations, and consulting services. Harry's top requested topics include change management, customer service, creativity, employee retention, goal setting, leadership, stress management, teamwork, and time management. For more information on Harry's presentations, please call 800-886-2629 or fill out our contact form.

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