Friday, August 7, 2009

Thing #15: The Future of Libraries

The above video I watched for the beginning of Thing #15 brought to mind a quote I read recently. Unfortunately I can't locate it, or its author, at the moment! The gist of it is that schools were designed (centuries ago) for students who were experience-rich and information-poor, but that students now are the opposite: experience-poor, and information-rich.

With both an inexplicable affinity for the printed word, and an eagerness to share knowledge with my students through relevant channels, I went into this Thing a bit undecidedly. First off, the notion that the nature of life, learning, and even information have changed drastically just within the last decade demands acknowledgement. The library is no exception.

I read two articles with different approaches, but like-minded perspectives.

The first, Away from the "Icebergs", details three separate "icebergs" that will surely spell disaster for librarians rowing their way into modernity. I think the author, Rick Anderson, makes a strong final point: that libraries must not be opposed to change, but they must also avoid discarding their basic principles and values for the sake of our culture's shifting ideas of novel technology.

The same point is made in the second article I read, Into a New World of Librarianship. Here the author, Michael Stephens, details the things that libraries must do to remain relevant. He says that technological changes in the library must be tempered by asking the following:
  • "Does it meet the user's need in a new or improved way?"
  • "Does it create a useful service for putting users together with the information and experience they seek?"

I must say that I was impressed with the overall progressive tone of these 2 articles! Shamefully, I admit that I generalized librarians as guardians of dusty tomes, card catalogues, and "inside voices." This whole workshop, and this exercise in particular, have changed my opinion. Librarians are gatekeepers of knowledge! They are now faced with the great challenge of remaining relevant to users, but seem to be eager to accept this challenge.

1 comment:

  1. I think that through this program I have changed my impression of librarians too. I have always known our librarian to be very progressive but think now that most are! Did you know the BPL holds video game torunaments and has a soda machine and loud children! They still guilt me up about my fines and ovedue books.