The 10-Minute International Librarian #67: Think of a way in which user expectations have changed

While libraries are not in the business of selling products to consumers, they nonetheless have a duty to ensure that the services and support they are offering respond to need.

This is essential; it is by meeting these needs that libraries have an impact, and so justify their existence and ongoing support. Users of course are unlikely to come to libraries if they cannot expect to get what they want either.

A library that does not meet needs is likely to struggle to make the case for funding in competition with other services or institutions.

It is not only a case of being responsive now, but also into the future. This is because social, cultural and technological change affects what users see as being normal.

Libraries therefore need to be aware of these evolutions and how to respond.

So for our 67th 10-Minute International Librarian exercise, think of a way in which user expectations have changed.

What have you seen from your own experience of working in libraries? Are users asking for things they didn’t ask for a few years ago? Do they want services delivered in different ways?

Use also do you know about your own habits. Are there things that you expect when you are accessing other services, such as in shops or elsewhere that you didn’t in the past?

Once you’ve identified a change, think about what it means for your own work. What has become more important, what has become less important? How can you update your own offer?

Share any examples you have in the comments below!

Good luck!


This idea relates to the IFLA Strategy! 2.3 Develop standards, guidelines, and other materials that foster best professional practice.

As we publish more ideas, you will be able to view these using the #10MinuteInternationalLibrarian tag on this blog, and of course on IFLA’s Ideas Store! Do also share your ideas in the comments box.