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On my blog today, I asked readers to respond to the question, "In your opinion, what is the top myth about libraries?"

Our foundation director asked me that question today and, while I have a few ideas of my own, I thought it would be interesting to see what others have encountered.

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I'd say that the top myth is that we're all about books and bytes when our real market share is creating relationships with our customers. To quote Joan Frye Williams at the Spring PLA Symposium (2007), "Relationships are the top priority for libraries. Guests are looking for the experience of visiting the library, receiving joy from lerarnng. The collections are of secondary importance ranked by currency and abundance." With the knowledge that our customers - guests - patrons can choose the place to get their information and entertainment reading, libraries need to become destinations within the community. They don't have to come to our institution. They can go else where. Pam Murphy- Rockford Public Library
I would say that the top myth about libraries is that, in the midst of all the technological wonders that are swirling around us, we’ve somehow been left behind. Our shift from “guardians of the knowledge that was and is” to “the guardians, pursuers, and creators of knowledge that was, is, and will be” isn’t quite common knowledge . . . yet.
I think that the biggest myth is that "nobody is using the library anymore, because they are using the internet instead". The reality is that circulation is very high and many people are also coming to the library to attend adult, teen, and children's programs. In addition, we serve a large number of people who can only access the internet through the library computers. Librarians are at the forefront of people who are trying to decrease the "digital divide". By providing free computer classes, the library helps people gain skills they need to get a job and helps older adults to learn to use computers and find critical health and government information (such as Medicare information). Libraries are vibrant and busy community centers, they have not been replaced by the internet!
Isabelle Fetherston
I agree with your statement that no body wants to use the library. Though people use the Internet but they are just wasting their time and spoiling their eyes, since they are not conversant with the search techniques of the internet. Moreover, in developing countries the libraies are playing a role to bridge the digital divide; their efforts are hampered by the techno-economic constraints. The library professionals has to develop a proactive strategies to motivate the people to get back to the libraries
One common myth is that Librarians read a lot! For me, well, the answer is "yes" AND "no." Yes, I have lots of partly-read books around (at home and at work), but I don't read nearly as much as I WISH I did...

Since this question is about Libraries, though, I'd vote for the myth that Libraries have been left behind.

One big problem/challenge/opportunity remains, however, user perceptions of Libraries. My main question is how to convince our users/patrons/readers that we have NOT been left behind! And preparing a reasonable answer to that sounds ... defensive! Patrons/users seem to assume that all we are about is books, so why should they even stop in?? For example, our library provides nearly 25,000 electronic journals to our campus users. Because of that, patrons don't *need* to come through the doors--and they certainly don't realize we pay lots of money to provide that access (even through Google Scholar--if a reader finds an article that is part of our subscription list, then their IP address will grant them access to it).

Bemused wanderings (and wonderings) from a mid-morning break.


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