ATG Article of the Week: Avoiding the Path to Obsolescence

by | Sep 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Avoiding the Path to Obsolescence (Riches-to-rags tales in retail business hold survival tips for libraries)

Steven Smith and Carmelita Pickett maintain that the collapse of businesses like Blockbusters, Borders, Toys R Us, CompUSA, and Circuit City hold lessons for libraries.  In particular, they point to the story of Blockbusters as having “many interesting parallels for libraries.”  They also note that Netflix, largely responsible for blockbusters demise, won that competition by  “responding to customer wants and needs in a timely and efficient manner.”   They were willing to let go of “past practices and tools no matter how cherished or successful” and utilize a “baggage-free focus on customers.”

They argue that  it “would behoove libraries to adopt a similar focus.”  And perhaps even more challenging (and controversial) they insist “that once content is delivered in a new medium, the old medium does not matter—except for the purposes of preservation and historical scholarship. Game over for those who insist on blindly holding onto the old format in needlessly redundant storage facilities, especially if that facility is located on prime real estate.”

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