For immediate release | July 21, 2014

Letting go of legacy services

CHICAGO — The last few years have proven beyond any doubt that libraries cannot afford to coast along with the status quo. Just as important as proposing and adding new services is the sometimes unpleasant process of critically examining existing realities and letting go of obsolete or less useful programs. But instead of panicking about budgetary and staffing challenges, libraries can choose a measured, proactive response. Edited by Mary Evangeliste and Katherine Furlong, “Letting Go of Legacy Services: Library Case Studies,” published by ALA Editions, shows how. The contributors in this practical guidebook take readers step by step through approaches they've used at their own institutions, offering models that can be adapted to a wide variety of settings. After reading this book, library directors and administrators will have insights into:

  • how planned abandonment strategies grounded in assessment-based decision making can allow libraries to focus on what they do best;
  • common sense solutions to "pressure points" common across many different libraries, such as difficulties in dealing with data, communicating to internal and external populations and the ordinary day-to-day pressures of running a library;
  • the first steps toward formulating a plan of action, and ways to make evaluation of services a regular part of organizational culture;
  • analysis of each case study, and suggestions for further exploration.

Evangeliste is the owner of Fearless Future, a marketing and design company that works primarily with nonprofits. She is the coauthor of the best-selling ALA Editions title “Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Overworked Librarian.” Before devoting herself full-time to Fearless Future, she worked for over 20 years in libraries and museums. She has held positions at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, the American University Library, and the University of Arizona Libraries. She currently serves on the advisory board of First Book-Tucson.

Furlong is Director, Blough-Weis Library, and University Librarian at Susquehanna University. Previously she was Director, Access and Technical Services, at Lafayette College, where she also served as project manager for Lafayette’s $22 million expansion and renovation of Skillman Library. She has participated in the Frye Leadership Institute (2011), the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute (2006) and the Institute for Information Literacy. She has written and presented extensively on library administration, management and instruction. She has served as president of the Delaware Valley chapter of the ACRL and is presently the president of the board of the Pennsylvania Interlibrary Delivery Service.

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Related Links

"Letting Go of Legacy Services: Library Case Studies"

"Bite-Sized Marketing: Realistic Solutions for the Overworked Librarian"

"Ecology, Economy, Equity: The Path to a Carbon-Neutral Library"


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

American Library Association

ALA Publishing