Although it’s no Bibliotech, the Library of Congress is making some changes of its own as it attempts to better serve the digital user.
The library has switched almost completely to an online catalog, with the index cards of yesteryear serving as a history lesson for visiting school children. More changes are underway in the physical location, with proposed mergers of several reading rooms into the building’s Main Reading Room to better serve readers and researchers who have grown accustomed to the internet’s ‘one stop shop’ mode of access.
The library is also working to enhance their website and digital tools to serve users who may only be interested in online resources. There are plans to work toward a more user-friendly site for people who access the majority of their content on smart phones, tablets, and other devices.
Inevitably, there has been some distension, even from within the library’s staff. The proposed changes have highlighted the tension between preserving and maintaining existing resources while adapting to online researching and cataloging. It will be interesting to see how users and patrons react as the online initiatives roll out.