So, despite my intention to steer clear of the obvious choice (something food related!) for our book report, I chose Danny Meyer’s Setting the Table. I feel like I’m forever making food analogies, but this one was too good to pass up. This thriving restaurateur attributes his success to a strong focus on hospitality. For Meyer, “what’s most meaningful is creating positive, uplifting outcomes for human experiences and human relationships…[it’s] all about how you make people feel.” He equates hospitality with accessibility- in his case, fine dining with a caring, authentic staff. The customers feel like they belong there and want to return again and again. In the library’s case, this may entail a highly personalized user experience created by a staff that does not confuse the means for the end…it’s not the technology that’s crucial, but rather the final outcome for the patron- how does this patron feel about herself as a result of her visit to the library- empowered?
This brings me to my first thoughts on the Buckland reading, Redesigning Library Services: A Manifesto. While reminding us not to confuse ends with means when planning new library services, he also points out that debating what would be “good” or “bad” for the chosen end also requires making a distinction between different types of ‘goodness’ -“How good is it?” vs. “What good does it do?” vs. “How well was it done?” These are three very different questions. Assessment is so slippery. It reminds me of my ongoing quest to come up with good meals for my family. I find that there are only a few meals that offer true value, for I am a slave to many masters: health, economy, taste and self-preservation. I want to make nutritious, tasty and cost-effective meals for my family without killing my own joy or cutting too deep into my time for other things. I suppose the most “valuable” meals are those that check the most boxes.
See, I can’t stop making food analogies.