In today's social landscape, it behooves librarians to find ways to draw in an audience without becoming outright entertainers. I have to admit, I'm still torn on the library coffee house concept, especially for academic settings, but I understand how it fits a "library as community gathering place" approach.
That said, two of my core interests, reference and marketing, will probably move me more in such directions as I dig deeper into how libraries must change given the many new players in information services and the emergence of information as entertainment facilitated by the Web.
For example, I was just checking out an email from The Smoking Gun, an extremely popular site that uses public legal records to create entertaining content. Though I hope librarians will recognize that there's a downside to laughing at people who've been arrested*, TSG is an excellent example of how the Web has connected everyday folks to seemingly esoteric pursuits such as searching public records.
I'm guessing most folks don't think of TSG in those terms but it struck me that TSG could be used as bait for a very solid public records workshop .
I know some librarians may wince at the thought but I feel the Web offers us an opportunity to reinsert ourselves as core resources in people's daily lives if we're willing to make such moves rather than thinking of the Web as competition.
I'll be dropping more ideas along these lines in the Marketing category as I go. Please feel free to add your ideas by commenting, sending me email suggestions or writing a guest post!
Contact Clyde Smith: culres(at)gmail(dot)com
*Note: Sounds like a good lead-in to a discussion of relevant ethical issues!