While working at the library the other day, I noticed a group of younger patrons walk by and scoff at the sign for the teen section. It did break my heart a little because I care so much about the library and I understand how vital such an institution is to a community. It seems that many people are sadly still in one mode of thinking or the other in regard to library usage: it’s either nerdy or it’s not. While this is basically the foundation for the latest “Geek the Library” campaign, I realized that we should not have that thought in our minds at all. If we can completely remove our bias about the library expressing our inner geek, we can see it more as a simple public institution of knowledge. We need to find a more effective way to teach people that accessing a library doesn’t have to be nerdy and it doesn’t have to not be nerdy. It just is. This line of thinking also seems to support the less educated patron who is unaware that their opinions about their library matter. The public should know that if they wish to see their library carry a particular material or hold a special program, this cannot be accomplished without their input as a citizen. Librarians too should be working with the thinking that they are not only in a career but that they are also selflessly (ideally) serving the public. We need to return to our library science roots and remember that the best outcome will arise only from an educated staff and citizenry.
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