“The New York Public Library is getting webbier by the day,” wrote The Atlantic reporter Alexis Madrigal in his compelling piece about the NYPL, one of the most famous libraries in the world.
In an age where libraries are dying due to e-books, budget cuts, and the ever-expanding “go green” and “paperless” movements, the New York Public Library not only remains open, but it makes significant profits. Granted, the NYPL receives massive donations unlike most other small libraries around the country. But the reason it’s succeeding is because of its web-savvy ways. By connecting with library users through social media, the library is allowing people to expand on the information it’s already collected. Madrigal explains.
“Every magazine, television network, or radio station with an archive is sitting on gold. Get that stuff out of the basement and put it online for free, where people can link to, remix, and use it. But don’t just dump it there. Take advantage of what the web can do. Structure the work, as NYPL’s strategy head says, so that people can improve on your collection…When you put information in the hands of people, they come up with all kinds of stuff that people within an institution might not think about.”
You can read much more about all of this in Madrigal’s article, “What Big Media Can Learn from the New York Public Library.”
It’s lengthy, but interesting and might give other media a clue about how to better connect with users, increase profit, and improve resources simultaneously.