“Planning for the Whole-istic Library”

Last Thursday a group of us had the opportunity to attend the Spring Workshop jointly presented by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Library Network (NPLN) and the Northeast Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association (NEPALA). It was a very nice walk of 5 blocks in the Scranton sunshine over to nearby Lackawanna College, who was hosting the event.

After registration and a brief welcome, librarians from all over Northeastern PA settled into the beautiful, plush seats of Lackawanna College’s Mellow Theater to hear Keynote speaker Jill Hurst-Wahl share with us what her 20 years business/library experience have revealed to her about trends in the library.


The Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College; image taken from: http://www.lackawanna.edu/mellow/mellow.html

She challenged the librarians present — hailing from public, college/university, and special libraries — by arguing that the only way libraries could ever become obsolete would be if we (i.e. librarians) allow them to become so. It’s our job to make users “dependent” on the library — and not because we feel the need for some kind of power trip! ;) A healthy dependence on the library, in my opinion, would stem from making our unique and exciting resources known to users (in our case, students, faculty and even the public), and furthermore by illustrating and teaching just how useful our information resources are to these key stakeholders.

(And yes, I just called our students stakeholders — if you’re a student, I bet you’ve never been called this before, huh? :) Information is power! :::cue super-hero music::: )

Jill Hurst-Wahl believes that the way to do these things is to “be where they are” — by “they” she means our library users, which in our case means most often students.

And where are you guys hanging out these days? On facebook, AIM, maybe MySpace (I get the feeling MySpace may be slowly going out of style — am I right?), and all sorts of other “Web 2.0” technologies. And so, that is were we must be as well.

As an aside, I feel the need to give a shout-out to our very own librarian Bonnie Oldham, who shares the night-shift with me at the ref desk. Bonnie serves on the 2008 Northeast Chapter Board for NEPALA, and helped put together this very cool event — so kudos to Bonnie for that!

There were a few other fun and interesting meetings and workshops at the event, but for me the Keynote Speaker stood out the most — followed very closely by the food served for lunch! :) Overall it was an interesting and exciting day — especially for this new librarian!

For information about this event as well as the NEPALA, visit:

Northeast Chapter of PaLA Wiki

Contact info for Jill Hurst-Wahl:
Meebo & Skype: jill.hurst.wahl