Last year, by happenstance, I discovered the International Librarians Network, and was fortunate to be a participant in their Spring 2015 Peer Mentoring Program. I found this to be an amazing experience. This past February, I had the honor of being accepted as a Content Officer for the program and have been writing blog posts on behalf of the network for the past few months. It has been an incredible experience for me – not only to share my own experiences as a librarian from the United States, but also to learn about the many creative and unique ways libraries around the world are serving their patrons. I have become a passionate supporter of the ILN as well as other institutions that I have discovered through my time as a Content Officer, and the education it has given me is invaluable.
Libraries are changing. We face numerous challenges in the ever-shifting world of information delivery and exchange. Many of us are coming to understand that libraries of the 21st century are no longer places relegated to being book depositories where one has to maintain silence to work. As a recent article in The Columbus Dispatch stated, the evolution of libraries is “less about collections, more about connections”. Libraries are becoming social gathering locations, where community members now find programs and events that expand their own knowledge by providing opportunities to develop new skills and enjoy outreach events that may not have been available in the past. As Don Barlow, executive director of the Westerville Public Library states, “it’s not the library your parents grew up with”. Alison Circle echoes his sentiments adding, “recent customer surveys overwhelmingly indicated a desire for additional programming and more gathering spaces”.
As a User Experience Librarian, my focus is on improving what we do for our patrons. We have an enormous renovation planned for our library in the next two years which will bring in more services to help assist our patrons in their growth as scholars, as well as add numerous programs to be held in the library, such as our Common Read discussion groups and the Coloring Craze event we held during finals this past semester. The library renovation will change the entire atmosphere of the building, bringing it into the 21st century, allowing for room where people can congregate, socialize and enjoy the new events we offer. Without my participation in the International Librarians Network, I would never have been as aware as I am at this moment of all the amazing things libraries are doing around the world. I cannot thank this program and the amazing librarians who started it for the chance to participate and grow as a person and a librarian.
–Molly Brown, ILN Content Officer