Funeral homes and libraries

For those of you who know me (I write that as if I have more than one dear reader), I have a slight preoccupation with death. And, this article about funeral homes caught my eye the other day. It is interesting to me only because the businesses of death (and birth, for that matter) will always have work, but it never really occurred to me that they would be so organized about it as to have quarterly reports and associations for funeral directors. The death industry didn't seem to me to be one where you have to stay current with the literature and the trends!

Libraries are different than they were 10 years ago - we have chat reference, interactive storytimes based on the latest research, coffee shops, and librarians who rove rather than wait for patrons to come to them. We don't shush, we create spaces for teens and the 55+ crowd who need different things from us, and have become much more accessible particularly in online services. And we stay current with the literature, or at least the blogosphere.

Yet, I think most people know what libraries do at their basic level and don't give it much thought beyond "hey, maybe I can get that book at the library." I know I don't think about funeral homes until I need one, and I certainly don't wonder what they're doing to better their services. I don't even know how they market themselves. Libraries participate in community collaboratives, market themselves during patron interactions, and engage the community in conversation at every level possible. But maybe those efforts don't need to be transparent to everyone. Maybe people just need to know that they had a positive experience at their library, got what they needed, and know that they'll go back again. I'd certainly use the same funeral home we used for my dad again. They were good to us.

But, for my own sanity, I'm not going to explore the funeral home industry any further. I'll stick to my own industry.

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