The legacy of the Brooklyn Public Library is an important asset for the staff. The library has deep cultural and educational meaning in the diverse communities that make up the borough of Brooklyn. Staff and management will need to think carefully about the ways that technology can be used to strengthen and enhance the basic mission. The social service dimension of the library is not insignificant; thus, the librarians are, for good reason, concerned about maintaining the library as a community place.
Some shifts are already evident. With literacy learning through technology, the library has moved to very different methods of providing instruction. With the main library’s networked CD-ROM resources and plans for library-wide online access to traditional catalog and indexing resources, the library is carrying out the same mission and the same services through new media. With the investment in interactive laser disks for children and workstations with public Internet access, the library offers new levels of service and takes advantage of opportunity. Time will tell whether these latter tools and others yet to be developed will serve the ongoing mission in the same ways as before or open new possibilities for community service.
The Brooklyn Public Library has strong experience in applying computer software in a learning environment, especially through its literacy programs, and has built on more than 20 years of experience with the interrelated fields of education and employment through its Education and Jobs Information Center. These resources and the knowledge of community at the neighborhood level will serve the library well as it builds the technical infrastructure required to pursue the library director’s vision of the Brooklyn Public Library as a community leader.
1 Demographic data from Selected Employment and Commutation Characteristics–Brooklyn, NY, 1990 Summary Tape.
From the publication Public Libraries, Communities, and Technology: Twelve Case Studies, published by The Council on Library Resources, ©1996. For more information contact
The Council on Library Resources, 1400 16th Street NW,
Suite 715, Washington DC, 20036. Phone (202) 939-3370. Fax (202) 939-3499.