First World Problems…

It pains me to say that I cannot remember my last visit to a public library. As information has become more accessible over the past decade, I find it that leaving my humble abode to go to an institute that facilitates the freedom of information quite redundant. Why should I go out of my way to spend my time in a library, when I can already retrieve the same level of information, or more, without having to leave my home?
That is just a morsel of the obstacles that libraries of the modern era battle against on a day-to-day basis and this matter will only worsen overtime, without intervention.
To remedy these obstacles, The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) has put forward a brief explanation of a plan that will take effect over the next few years, as it attempts to remind the public that it is ‘a vital community resource.’ [1]

Within their plan, SLQ have documented a plethora of points which will aid them in combating the issues which modern libraries face. Primarily, SLQ have announced that this plan will attempt to focus on providing free access to library devices (computers, printers, etc.), access to up-skill workshops and the usage of facilities for business related goals.
However, these implementations may be bolstered through the usage of network effects. These effects can be defined as ‘a service [that] becomes more valuable when more people use it.’ [2]
The primary concern in this case, would be attempting to cross the hurdle of attaining enough users/members of SLQ.

Upon closer inspection, there are three main sub-types that network effects can be categorized under and these are:

  • Direct Network Effects; this occurs when the product/service increases in value the more that it is used.
  • Indirect Network Effects; this effect comes into play when the use of a product/service creates more value for ones that compliment it. Thus, adding more value to the original.
  • Cross Network Effect; this occurs when the growth of one user group promotes the sudden growth of another that are related by a complementary product/service. [3]

For example, direct effects can be used in regards to up-skilling workshops. These workshops could essentially be small information sessions for members/people who want to further their knowledge in the corporate world by attending one of these, which could be hosted by a current professional in the field. If this was to be successful, then SLQ could exploit the amount of people attending by turning it into a public seminar.
Next, we could look at how SLQ could enhance its current model by introducing an area of computers that can utilize 3-D printers efficiently. Both of these aspects can contribute to another’s success and overall promote learning & creating.
Lastly, SLQ could exploit the access of it’s space to host meetings between entrepreneurs and corporate busy-bodies, or provide music rooms for musicians to find inspiration from one another. The possibilities are endless!

Consequently, libraries such as SLQ require crowd-sourcing to power a great deal of their plans for the future. Without people to fuel this plan, SLQ’s 2020 plan will fail.
Despite this, the plan devised to attract new people and retain their old/current demographic looks appealing enough to possibly be successful in the real world.


One thought on “First World Problems…

  1. Great post! I agree that they need to step up their game a little, they have to try and make libraries trendy again, which means their attitude online needs to maybe sounds less like an older librarian is the author. They do have some great services, and in the past they have tried to create a consumer base with students, using the Edge and other such free resources and workshops. Even starting with the school excursions when they were younger. The 3D printing idea sounds excellent. Its something which opens up a plethora of new opportunities for education and new audiences – plus its s0mething different that at the very least may draw a crowd.


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