I had the pleasure of being in Kansas last week for the final game of the World Series and the Kansas Library Association Annual Conference. While the Kanas City Royals didn’t clinch the World Series, they had an impressive season. They were an unlikely bet for the World Series – winning a wild card spot playoffs with a homerun record that put them at the bottom of the major league. The Royals built their season on little ball – singles, doubles, bunts, stolen bases, sometimes earning runs even when “the ball never left the infield.”
Libraries play a lot of little ball too, making a million small plays that cumulatively makes a big difference in their communities.
- Helping a student find primary sources for a research paper
- Instilling a love of reading to generations of children
- Connecting entrepreneurs to market research and tools to launch a business
- Introducing a nervous traveler to online language training so they can learn French or Azerbaijani
- Providing an artist with access to online resources to learn HTML so they can create a web site that displays their work
- Opening the library for community meetings
- Deliver books to day care centers, senior centers, and prisons
- Helping kids with a myriad of homework problems
- Providing “as needed” digital literacy training and support
- And supporting countless people with resume and job search help
Little ball. A million small contributions that make a difference in every town and city in Kansas
But Kansas Libraries have something else in common with the Royals. They work as a team.
The Kansas Library Express inter-library courier service provides book distribution to libraries across the state including school, public and academic libraries.
Savvy State Librarian, Jo Budler, and her team have negotiated state-wide licenses for e-books, databases, and information services. With an e-Library card, Kansans can access digital content anytime from anywhere. With the new pilot program, Lending the Internet @ the library, Kansans can borrow a mifi hotspot and bring the Internet home; the program is available in two dozen libraries – starting small, and planning to expand.
A million small plays, that add up to a winning record. Let’s give libraries in Kansas at least as much support as the state gives the Royals. The may not be as much fun to watch, but they make a difference in more lives and they do it every day- season after season.
I was happy to present a keynote address for the Kansas Library Association last week. Check out my slides on SlideShare and let me know what you think out library super powers or how librarians can win big by playing little ball.
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