culture Uncategorized

The library of the future

The next library is a place, still. A place where people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together. Aided by a librarian who understands the Mesh, a librarian who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and access to information to bear.

Seth Godin, “The future of the library”.

Technological veneer won’t save the library. Half-hearted attempts to integrate social networking, or ebooks, or digital media will fail. The Internet offers better and broader selections of all those things.

Fortunately, the library’s best resource was never its catalog, but its people. The visionary librarian must reclaim her historic role as the community’s information curator and collaboration coordinator.

Imagine an open environment boasting the resources of today’s “coworkplaces:” whiteboard walls, blazing broadband speeds, standing desks engineered for collaboration, and widescreen monitors everywhere. Now add the coup de grace: a professional information sleuth, ready to help your team sift through the Internet’s vast piles of information—eager to help you find inroads into the problem at hand.

Now that’s a library worth visiting.

books culture Uncategorized

The library’s demise: tearing down the temple

“Tear down the temple; we’ve got shrines at home.” True enough; we can erect little altars to literacy on our bookshelves and nightstands. But how long can we justify this quaint luxury in a digital age? Printed books will become relics: hallowed icons mounted to the wall–first decoratively and then ironically.

Spouting the “spiritual, not religious” cliché, we’ll eschew reading’s rituals: type-set paragraph, licked finger, page at the ready, musty incense. Digital evangelists will shrug off these losses, proclaiming sola scriptura (“Content alone!”). Literary Reformers, like the iconoclasts of old, will sweep away the traces of a sacred era.