Making clear statements about why, what and how we collect ensures that our audience(s) are in no doubt what we stand for. It also gives our customers an opportunity to challenge our stance. This gives us a chance to modify our policies & procedures directly as a result from customer feedback.
Being judgemental is about being honest.
For example, what exactly is your library’s stance on self-published material? Do you have a clear statement about why your library will/won’t accept self-published material? Have you made an honest judgement about it?
- Is your library’s mindset still “self published = couldn’t get published elsewhere”?
- Do you actively embrace new publishing models?
- Do you actively look for content outside of the mainstream, to build a deep, rich collection?
- Do Suggestions to Purchase for self-published materials end up it in the “too hard” basket as too difficult to source?
- Are you in a position to purchase materials published by non-mainstream publishers?
- Do you have flexibility to receive & process non-mainstream materials to your collection?
- If the self-published content is valuable, wanted, just plain awesome, but the format isn’t supported by your library (e.g. spiral bound books), do you have the flexibility to repackage & process the content into a supported format?
- Will you support Kickstarter or PledgeMe campaigns if they involve formats & content that your customers want?
- Will your vendors source anything from anywhere for you?
- Do you purchase directly from self-published websites?
- Will you only make exceptions for self-published local content?
Be judgemental & take a clear stance about your collections. Be prepared to debate it with your customers. Listen to their reasons about why you should change your stance. Invite discussion. Invite ideas. Invite debate.