Washington Hotline

Rachel Minkin

Abstract

From silos to ecosystems

Editor’s note: This month’s Washington Hotline department features a guest column by Rachel Minkin, head of Reference Services at Michigan State and a member of the ALA Committee on Library Advocacy’s Ecosystem Subcommittee.

When library professionals talk about silos, we focus internally—technical services, public services, digital services, etc. Outside of individual libraries, we see more silos—public libraries, K-12 libraries, special libraries, state libraries. The most siloed, of course, are the academic libraries, ensconced firmly in our ivory towers (a perception from both within and without). Within our larger library associations, we keep those same silos, taking great care to advocate for our library type—the needs of our patrons and work. What if we take one more giant step back to see an even larger picture that sees each silo as a node in a greater library ecosystem? What happens when we see the interconnectedness of all library types within a whole state?

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