The Library is “Open” 24 Hours, Should I Be?

Written By: Mary Dudman, Soutron Global Training Services Manager, MLS


If the library is always “open”, should I be “on duty” just in case?


In this day of online access to anything, anytime, anywhere, where does that leave us as librarians and information professionals? Unfortunately, we seem to be mired in the “Always On” culture. To prove our worth, we try to assure our colleagues that we are available at any time, day, or place.

We all seem to think that we have to be “on duty” whenever a question arises or “duty calls”. We find ourselves thinking:

  • “Will the boss think less of me if I don’t answer that email instantly?”
  • “Will my colleagues get the upper hand if I don’t put my “2cents worth” into a discussion right away?”
  • “Will I be perceived as lazy or uncaring if I’m not available – even when I’m on vacation, with my family or in an activity?”



Greg McKeown, in his recent book Essentialism, stated that:

“…the always-on culture is weird. It’s not how humans thrive.”

So how does that relate back to libraries, 24 hours, and being “on duty”? How does this affect our ability to support our users when we’re not “in the office”? The answer is simple. To be effective and efficient when we’re “on duty”, we must have some downtime.

So how do we help our users when we are enjoying our downtime? Cataloging materials and making them available anytime for users is a massive development of the self-service aspect of today’s modern electronic world. Although the personal touches we offer remain important, we are able to provide users with the best and most effective tools.


The Right Tools

The way we catalog and classify materials remains important for how users locate what they need.  Using the right tools, though, is key to the process.  The software that allows users to access the information you’ve cultivated must be easy to use, swift to respond, and effective.

Soutron Global provides tools that meet these criteria.  To help you keep your library “open” 24 hours for your users while providing your personal touches is important to us. Take a look at our solutions for helping you manage your resources. Whether your resources are traditional library materials, archival materials, museum pieces, digital resources or some other unique material, providing access to your information to your users is essential.

We’re here to help,  and our website is “open” 24 hours! Our “real people” do take some time to be “off duty”, but our support staff – located from the East Coast to the West Coast and beyond – are ready for you. We’d love to hear from you!


Take a look at the Greg McKeown book, Essentialism, if you want to find out more about our “always on” culture. You may find some interesting things to consider!