Poole Enterprise Library, the future of our libraries

Nell O'hara

Nell O’hara, Information Services Librarian, at Poole Library

By Tom Collier.

Poole Enterprise Library, established first in 1887 has gone on to become one of the main hubs for information in the Poole and Bournemouth area. It now includes a public meeting and information facility within the main library; including an IT suite with laptops and seminar room. The meeting and information area offers access to business books, magazines and journals – alongside free access to Wi-Fi and public computers. Meetings for businesses, training programmes and seminars are held regularly. The Enterprise Library will also be of huge benefit to people considering setting up their own businesses and new firms looking for some help and advice.

Interviewing Nell O’hara – Information Services Librarian – at the Poole Library, we got the low down on her current ideas about the Enterprise, what the plans are for the future of libraries, and how she became a librarian.

Growing up, Nell initially had ideas about going into zoo keeping and that led to ambitions to be a vet. As a college graduate however, she studied music. This was a great passion of hers, and during her time in college she was asked to catalogue the music within a library, documenting it for a wider audience. This established her interest for libraries and Nell, never being one for the limelight, wanted to pursue a more ‘behind the scenes role’, and instead decided to pursue librarianship as a career.

In more recent history there has been a threat of libraries closing, so there has been an inherent need to adapt to these changes. From a survey conducted recently over the last five years, a social, cultural and economic shift towards national improvement began. This change has broadened the horizon for Poole, bringing in more people from within the community.

Developments in IT and communications have transformed the notion of the traditional library, so there has been a need to adapt to new technology and methods. The variety of material now offered is a huge improvement compared with the last decade or so. Technology has been a primary focus over the past few years, and statistics have shown a huge trend towards such devises. Media such as Ebooks, Kindle and Audio Books have brought about a new generation of readers and consumers. In response to this, the library has responded by providing laptops, Wi-Fi and free accessible materials.

Certainly, the traditional paperback has been threatened by new technology such as Kindle and Ebooks; however a new younger market is emerging through the use of this media and that can only be a positive thing.

The library will continue to support these developments and  in our information age, libraries will continue to provide an invaluable resource for everyone. Social media, business enterprises, training programmes and education will continue to flourish with the support of libraries.

Currently the Enterprise is looking to re-launch after the summer, in cooperation with Global Entrepreneurship Week.

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