For years, David Lee King has used his blog, conference presentations and other platforms to preach the value of social media in libraries. Last week, the interwebs were all abuzz and aTwitter with links to fresh evidence that David practices what he preaches. At his day job, David is Digital Branch & Services Manager for the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Libary System (TSCPL). Therefore, I have little doubt that he's responsible in some way for this beautiful digital artifact, the 2009 Annual Report for TSCPL. The interface is slick, intuitive and browser-based. Also, the usually dense text of an annual report is broken up into short digestible chunks supplemented with images, infographics, audio clips and video. Finally, this is surely the greenest annual report I've ever seen. Libraries have digitized annual reports before, but the difference this time is the use of Flash. Readers of this report can't print from the browser or copy the text into another application and print from there, so the community and the planet save a considerable amount of paper.
There's a tradeoff going on here. With Flash, TSCPL patrons lose a little functionality, but they get a clean, well-designed, easy-to-use interface that paper, HTML, PDF and other formats can't offer. Moreover, no one's tempted to waste paper on a printed copy. In all, TSCPL has taken one of the most tedious documents known to man and made it into something fun and exciting.