While I see the value in libraries embracing the widest range of interests as is possible (including both mainstream and niche interests), I do feel that a more valuable contribution to library services is the opportunity for users to “geek out”. In part this reaction is entirely selfish; I live in a fairly isolated, rural area, and I have few opportunities to engage in geek behavior with like-minded individuals. This frustration is probably shared by many geeks.
While mainstream interests are fairly accessible and easy to pursue, exploring geek interests can be trickier. There may be the occasional film festival or comic convention, but these events occur sporadically and infrequently. Oftentimes they also take place in major cities, and those of us who are geographically or financially challenged simply can’t make the trip.
In catering to users who are interested in “geeking out”, libraries can attract a segment of the population that has frequently been marginalized by the larger culture, and provide them with the opportunity to explore and develop their shared interests in a social environment that is safe, inclusive, and knowledgeable; thereby the focus on opportunities for users to “geek out” can be highly beneficial to both libraries and the patrons they serve.