I saw the BBC article about how libraries are having to diversify and branch out in order to keep visitors, and thought it was absolutely wonderful news! In an era where library funding, arts funding and general public spending is either being cut or re-prioritised, the fact that library staff care enough to get together and do something different is a sign of their dedication and commitment. They could easily walk away, close early and not care. But those libraries doing something different, going above and beyond to serve their communities is an absolute pleasure to read about.
Also it is good to see libraries catching up, realising that it’s no longer just about the books and they can’t rely upon the support of their local council to sort them out. Larger bookstores have been adapting to compete for years, video and dvd rental stores have disappeared because they couldn’t adapt and had a redundant business model in the age of digital. I know with libraries it is slightly different because they are publicly funded, but some appear to be taking a look at themselves and taking action. By bringing visitors through their doors for other reasons, the library will continue to lend books. In turn visitors will get to find out about all the other local events and groups which always adorn the pinboards of libraries. And then the cycle will continue.
I think by diversifying, libraries could find themselves at the heart of their local community by adapting their function and inviting people in who aren’t primarily interested in books. If they did that, their destiny would be in their own hands.