Librarian looks up a real “solution”

A friend of mine runs the library at a small university near me, and she hears pitches all the time for neat technology. I suppose she doesn’t hear much about BI, just library stuff, but let’s not get hung up on the details.

To keep her priorities straight, she keeps a “ruthless focus” on the library’s real needs. She keeps Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in mind, the theory that people satisfy needs in order, from basic needs like breathing all the way up to “self actualization.”

She tells about one upstate New York librarian she heard about back when libraries were first urged to go online.

A consultant went to visit a small library — one of those Barbie Dream libraries that are hot in the summer, cold in the winter, and staffed so minimally that the library worker covering the single desk will excuse herself to change the toilet paper and greet the UPS delivery person.

So the consultant explained to the library director that the online catalog could do this, and it could do that, and it would have all these marvelous functions, and the library would be so much farther ahead, etc. etc.

And the practical old librarian who had been quietly listening tilted her head and replied, “I’d still rather have a flush toilet.”

I hear so much about “solutions” that I think are probably not solutions at all. So I found K.G’s excellent post refreshing. See what you think.

The data industry thrives on conversation. Please submit a comment.

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