Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Library Board of Trustees has hired a Consultant, and his name is Joseph R. Matthews

Mod: I'm pretty sure that what follows isn't information you'll find on the Library survey postcard that is going out in the next week or two, so I'll bring it up here. Apparently the Library Board of Trustees has hired a noted consultant by the name of Joseph R. Matthews.

Joe is a sought after expert on Libraries, and he has some interesting theories on how they should function, both now and into the future. I am not certain in what capacity he was hired, or how much sway he has with these Library worthies. I guess we'll just have to wait a little and see.

But he did write a notable book, one that could very well have caught the attention of certain concerned residents in Sierra Madre. So much so that they might want to change the way the library gets done. More on that in a minute. Here is how Joe is mentioned in the 12.18 meeting agenda of the Community Services Commission (link):

The Library Board of Trustees are meeting further with their Library Planner/ Consultant, Joe Matthews, and Community Services Commission is being extended an invitation to share in their discussions next month January. More information will be forthcoming. 

More information hasn't been forthcoming I'm afraid, or if it has I cannot find it. Perhaps Joe will be at the meeting tomorrow night, but I can't confirm that, either. Like all consultants he must be charging something for his services, yet I don't know how much or who paid it. I'm sure there was a budget to tap into for this somewhere. There usually is these days. Things are much more checkbook lately.

However, and as we noted above, Joe Matthews did write a book. It is called "The Customer Focused Library," and if the information put out by his publisher is any indication, it must be a very exciting one. Or at least as far as books about libraries go. At $50 bucks a pop, and for a mere 95 pages, including pictures, it had better be.

Here is an interesting blurb, which comes to us from the book's publisher, an outfit called ABC-CLIO Solutions (link).

"Public libraries aren’t just libraries anymore. More and more, they are becoming alternative Internet cafes, music stores, movie stores, study halls, and more. But instead of making changes piecemeal to accommodate a changing world and a changing audience, it is time for libraries to be reconceived from the ground up—or more precisely, from the outside in."

It would be pretty cool if the new library did have a Starbucks, like Barnes & Noble. I know that would get my kids there. In a city heartbeat. Just bring your laptop, Beats headphones, and a few Facebook friends.

Here it is in an original context, followed by a book flyer put out by the publisher.


Don't get me wrong, all of this isn't necessarily bad. It certainly is modern, cutting edge, and up to date. As they say. And I am sure it is a well-intentioned effort to make libraries relevant again in a world that is increasingly overwhelmed by the decentralizing forces of the digital revolution. Hardly the easiest thing to do.

But here's a point that someone made on this site a few days ago. Aren't these all the sorts of things things that kids, and most adults for that matter, already have at home? Do people really need to go to a library to take in all that the Internet already has to offer? Can't they just pull out their laptops and do the same things just about anywhere else? Such as laying on a couch with their feet up?

It seems to me that the biggest challenge libraries face nowadays is getting people off of their computers and back into books. Reading can be hard, it takes some real effort. And who has the time when you're far too busy doing other things? Like surfing the Internet?

What Matthews is offering here is a kind of capitulation to the very forces that are making libraries increasingly irrelevant these days. Apparently what library customers consume is no longer of importance. Now it is just the matter of getting them into the building that counts.

But these aren't the sorts of things you need to go to a library to experience. And I am not sure that many people would.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

49 comments:

  1. Mod, A consultant possibly hired? A hardly advertised forum meeting tomorrow? Looks to me like The Tattler has got them on the run. C-H-A-R-G-E!

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  2. How much is all of this going to cost?

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    Replies
    1. It is going to cost too much.
      It's a plan to retrofit the library for a very small number of residents.

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    2. A very well organized small group of people.

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  3. If a consultant was hired, who paid? How much $?

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  4. What was the reason this group was called DIRTS? Was it from the nasty writings that were going around about anyone who stood in the way of the downtown specific plan, was it because they brought in outside money from the Arcadia Real Estate Industry with all their marketing skills or was it because they got involved in all the political groups in town and cuddled up to City Hall and the politicians with wine and lies? I think it was all the above and I'm sure more of their involvement will come out before this election is over.

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    Replies
    1. All of the above. And the fact that they started a website called Downtown Dirt, that they said got a million hits the first weekend it was up.

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  5. We already have a Starbucks. Can't we get a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf instead?

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  6. " ... and the as-yet unvoiced needs of library consumers."

    True. Nobody is asking.

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  7. Hate it when the peace and quiet of a preserved little town like Sierra Madre is interrupted with $$$$$$ hungry campaigns. Those for profit just cant stand to have one city trying to preserve a little community in such an overgrown, water starved Southern California area.

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    Replies
    1. In the eyes of the development crowd Sierra Madre is an untapped goldmine. One they are working very hard to crack. Wait until you see how much money they're going to spend on Andy Bencosme.

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  8. The library flavor of the day, and look at what we are going to spend to get it.

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    Replies
    1. It is going to cost the city a nice piece of real estate.

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  9. You know the people who gave us One Carter, bad water that ate your pipes and put the city in Debt are going to win this one! The Library is out in full force and have been laying the ground work for years. The building has been allowed to deteriorate to this low level and now the residents must pay again. This time we are paying for trumped-up incomplete information designed to sway people in their direction. Hold on to your wallet.

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  10. Is Ben cos me going to taking more of our money?

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    Replies
    1. When has a City Councilmember not?

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    2. This City Council has gotten rid of Elaine, who cost lots of money because of mismanagement, gotten Gabe, who is saving us money by his management. 9:06 and Tattlers, VOTE for the incumbents; keep the realtors off our Council.

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  11. Anybody get their library survey card yet?

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    Replies
    1. It is supposed to go out at the end of the month. The next big event after Weds meeting is the city posting the costs involved with repairing the current library, or moving to the YAC.

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  12. If the consultant Joe Matthews is so "customer focused", why wasn't the public notified of tomorrow night's forum?

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    Replies
    1. The Friends have been in touch with their people.

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    2. And ....Rob has been in touch with HIS “Friends”.

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    3. Bring your XBOX.

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    4. It smells like outsourcing to me. Remember our city pool? The Library will go the same way and becoming outsourced will be a first step in eventually shutting down.

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  13. Got an update from the City Manager. Joe is being paid $9,600 and it is coming out of the $100K set aside by the Friends of the Library. He will not be at tomorrow's meeting.

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    Replies
    1. Your wine tasting money at work.

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    2. Seriously - it will be outsourced. $10k on a consultant is ridiculous. $16k on a postcard survey is outrageous. There is an end game here but it is not being shared with the citizens of this town.

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  14. Old Timer here, in a cranky mood. Anyone else ever feel like shrugging their shoulders and letting the town turn into Arcadia West?

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    Replies
    1. Are self proclaimed ‘old timers’ ever not cranky?

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  15. Anyone who supports library aggrandizement is an idiot.

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  16. Here is why I never took my son to the library when he was a beginning reader: the computer bank at the left of the entrance to the childrend's section. Always several noisy 8-10 year olds with computer games. Couldn't get him past that and to the BOOKS. Instead when were we out in communities that had real children's sections we would stop, cozy up with our book selections, read and snuggled, check out books and be off home to read some more. Then I bought tons of books, had the ones from my childhood and many from friends who were cleaning out their children's books. Reading is the big hook for doing well at school. Reading at grade level is a must by middle school or you can gurantee disinterest in academics. Just heard a great term for all the electronic tablet entertainment aimed at children: electronic cocaine.

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    Replies
    1. I tell my kids that it is all just lights on a screen. They look at me cross eyed.

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    2. Been to the library hundreds of times with mine. Never, ever heard kids noisy enough to negatively affect the children's room experience.

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  17. each time i used to read smaller content which as well clear their motive, and that is also happening with this article
    which I am reading here.

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    Replies
    1. I take my children to the library 2 times a week. I see many other people, many who are senior citizens enjoying reading books and magazines.

      This is a great place which is safe and welcoming.. How many times has Joe Matthews visited our lovely library?

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    2. Good question. He was hired to measure the YAC.

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    3. He's been hired to recommend what he's told to recommend.

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  18. The idea of getting people to read by having a cafe was mentioned here in the tattler many moons ago.

    They should pay us as consultants!

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    Replies
    1. It could be called Pete's.

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    2. you mean Peets?

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    3. Nope. Pete's. Or maybe Stockley's Burnt Beans.

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  19. It’s just damn comical. Many of my Asian Arcadia neighbors now have an apparent interest in Roger Chandler. Many have Chandler yard signs. I’ve spoken with some of them and they have no idea or no desire to know what is going on in therir ity. There are Chandler signs on property of empty investment mansions, even empty rental homes. It’s all Sho Tays idea, he used whatever online newsgroup to convince his followers to put up the Chandler signs. That keeps two pro development idiots on the council. Sure hope the two alternates get going with their campaigns

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  20. Howdy! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you
    knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  21. The City of Sierra Madre has posted a tsunami warning. That must be one heck of a wave.
    https://twitter.com/CitySierraMadre?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email&iid=ca6f5fb0156c466bac5e0dee5aa3b1ac&uid=81423734&nid=244+272699405

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  22. The resources available on the Internet aren't free. The library provides access to sometimes expensive, licensed resources for citizens. WSJ? Bloomberg? Lexis-Nexis? Academic Search Complete? Try getting an individual subscription to these databases. If students are writing reports based on free websites like Wikipedia - go for it. You get what you pay for and I'm sure that student is bound for Stanford. When they arrive at Stanford they can get chemical substance and refraction data via Google instead of the American Chemical Society. Good luck!

    ReplyDelete

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