Libraries in New York State—like their counterparts across the country—are experimenting with new ways to draw patrons in and engage them in reading, creating, and strengthening their ties to the community. In short, they are working to become more relevant. The Pittsford Public Library, for example, hosts drop-in sessions on mastering the Kindle, the iPad, and smartphones. The Parma Public Library hosts art shows. Other libraries in the state are installing coffee machines, creating informal meeting rooms, and expanding friends-of-the-library book stores.
The digital age says Keith Michael Fiels, ALA executive director, “means fundamental change in the very nature of what we do and how we do it … Increasingly, libraries are serving as conveners, bringing community members together to articulate their aspirations and then innovating in order to become active partners and a driving force in community development and community change.”