The purpose of this paper is to show that libraries are facing challenging environments in which services and content must be delivered into the users' workflows and “lifeflows”.
An understanding of linguistic codes and language games, and similar concepts, will help librarians to appreciate the enormous challenge of becoming an accepted member of each user community.
In order to assess performance in this changing environment, much greater emphasis will need to be placed on qualitative methods, including ethnographic approaches, externally‐moderated, reflective self‐evaluation and narrative‐based practice.
Libraries themselves are changing, and most of all are being challenged to reinvent themselves within the workflows and lifeflows of their users. If this challenge is to be met then innovative yet robust methods need to be developed to assess performance in this new milieu.
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