Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Wal-Martization of the Minneapolis Public Library System

Today I went to a Hennepin County Library branch in Minneapolis.  I looked for the new book non-fiction section.  I went around twice where it had been in the past.  I could not find it.  I then asked the staff.  I was told new non-fiction are no longer displayed.  They are now placed in the regular book collection right away

I recently went to the Sumner branch.  Sumner had a strong collection of African American documentary and movie media which was part of the Gary Sudduth collection.  I was surprised at how small the collection was from the previous time I had been there.  I asked staff what happened.  They said that DVDs now "float".  That means if a dvd is taken out at one branch and returned to another it remains at the returning library.  Therefore the Sudduth Collection is torn apart.

At the downtown library I used to go on Saturdays and get 5-8 dvds consisting of documentaries, a couple of Hitchcock movies, and maybe a comedy with Bob Hope. The collection is now very thin and the choice is limited.  For non-fiction fans there is no one stop place for all the new stuff, either.

Bigger is not always better, there are some things that have been lost with the merger.  There have been changes in operation that have impacted the service and atmosphere of what the Minneapolis Library System was.

I will bet you the Hennepin County Commissioners know nothing of the various operational changes and their negative impacts, but avid users of the libraries in Minneapolis sure do.

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