Here’s an interesting exercise: gather the department heads in your library and ask them what are the most essential services that your department offers. To facilitate the discussion, you might want to frame the question in a scenario-type situation, such as what services do you provide that would have a great impact on your patrons if the library needed to close due to a severe storm.
We performed this exercise last week with an interesting outcome. The following four services were identified as essential: availability of library’s web page, providing access to online journals, checking out laptops or projectors to someone that needed equipment for a conference, and providing patient care document delivery. The group felt that all other services we provide could withstand a day of closing without much of an impact on our patrons.
Your results may differ based on your environment. Please let us know what you discover.