The overall purpose, goal, and landscape of the public library have evolved immensely over the last three decades. Let’s think back for a moment to 1987. The Internet was not yet created. Most research was done by looking information up in a physical encyclopedia. Definitions of words were looked up in an actual dictionary. If research had to be done for a project, you had to do it with physical books or other printed resources. Computers weren’t nearly as popular as they are today. Sure, libraries had a few computers in 1987, but in 2017, MPL has more than 40 computers for the public to use. In saying all of this, let’s come back to 2017. How have libraries changed? Libraries have changed a lot and I think most people would say they’ve changed for the better. Today’s library is much more than a place to check out books. In the 21st century, libraries are gathering places, information hubs, and makerspaces. The biggest change in the 21st century library is programming. Public libraries offer programming for patrons of all ages, from the youngest in babies and toddlers to the oldest in the senior citizens. Public Libraries also offer programs for those with learning or physical disabilities. It used to be if you wanted to learn how to do something, you had to go to the library and find a printed resource on how to do it. That’s not the case in today’s 21st century library. Libraries today offer programs so that patrons can physically learn the art of completing a particular task. Libraries also offer programs that allow patrons to exhibit craftiness, love for nature, history, and just about anything you can think of. The thing that has changed the most besides the fact that libraries provide programs is how libraries provide information.
At Mooresville Public Library, we have an entire library of electronic resources that you can check out from home with your library card. In terms of our programs, MPL utilizes its website to promote its programs. If a program requires registration, you can do it from the comfort of your own home. You aren’t required to come to the library to register for a program. Did you register for a program as soon as registration opened so it wouldn’t fill up? Are you worried you will forget about the program? Don’t worry about that. At MPL, we can send you email reminders or text messages prior to the program taking place. The best part of this? You get to choose how far in advance you are reminded of the event.
Just in the last few years, libraries have begun to promote themselves and the services they offer on social media. Would you believe that more people get information from social media than they do from an actual website? Why is this you ask? The simple answer is because people check social media on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. They don’t check let’s say Mooresville Public Library’s website every day. By checking social media, they can see what is going on at the library, they can see photos of what has taken place at the library, they can read interesting facts that the library has compiled, and they can check and see what other friends and family members are doing. At MPL, we utilize Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with the Youth and Adult Services Departments utilizing Pinterest to aid in the creation of many of the programs we offer.
At MPL, we have something called a newsflash that sends out emails about all of our programs taking place at the library. We have several different newsflashes that we send out on a weekly basis. We have a newsflash for children of all ages, school age children, pre-school aged children, library events, and library news. You can subscribe for all or any of these newsflashes on our website and they will be delivered directly to your inbox. These newsflashes will also cover library holiday and weather closings or in some circumstances, program cancellations. At MPL, and at most libraries, whether they are public, academic, or special, they use a variety of promotional tactics to get patrons in the door. This is why most libraries, including MPL are starting to hire someone to handle all of the social media as well as the internal and external marketing and promotions.
Do you love technology but you don’t have time to come to the library? Do you want to find out some information either about your library account or just something in general? We’ve got you covered with that as well. On our website, we have a tab entitled Ask a Librarian. This is where you can submit a question to us and we will answer it for you as best we can.
Are you the type of person who likes all of your information in one place? Then I encourage you to subscribe to the new Friends of the Library Constant Contact Newsletter. You can sign up for this directly on our website. This newsletter will contain information on everything going on at MPL as well as articles you might find interesting written by MPL staff and other contributors. This newsletter will be delivered to your inbox on, or close to the first business day of each month.
The library cannot be successful without your help. So, how can you help us? Interact with us on Facebook by liking or commenting on our posts. If we discover that you like a particular kind of post, we will attempt to provide more of those types of postings for you. Send us messages on the types of programs and services you’d like to see at MPL. Tweet to us or direct message us on Twitter. Also, like or favorite our tweets. We cannot make any promises, but we would rather offer programs that you the patrons want. We can plan and promote programs all day long, but if they are not programs you want, why are we doing it because after all, it is our ultimate goal to serve you, our patrons.