Libraries are taking on all sorts of new services – makerspaces, crafts, services for the unemployed, small business meeting zones, expanded training, gaming, you name it – some library somewhere has probably done it.

But I can’t quite understand how we got to the point of butchery. Literally. A library in the US organised a session on Butchery and Books, featuring a live demonstration. I’m not sure what the books part consisted of. Am I old-fashioned in thinking that this is way-off mission? Or that I could never imagine such an event in the multicultural cities in which I’ve lived, or that it couldn’t possibly be hygienic (what happened to the meat afterwards?) Or wonder if their local community centre or night school doesn’t already serve this purpose?

On 3D printing (the other craze seemingly sweeping libraries at the moment) David Lankes makes a point in the comments with which I wholeheartedly agree: “The common mission for me across librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation within their communities.” It’s important to be able to experiment. There’s an argument for a library somewhere trying out something new, and maybe it will serve their community, or maybe it will fail and we can hear all about in a #failfaire. But we also need to focus on what only we can do, and do it well. Every library does that in their own way, even if it isn’t quite headline catching enough for the Wall Street Journal.

Originally published on the blog