Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thing #15 Library: Past, Present, and Future

Rick Anderson in "Away from the Icebergs," refers to the bygone information age, potential disasters, and significant threats. One of these "threats" he refers to is the "just in case" print collection.  I think that he speaks too harshly of the library's past.  The library's present of 2.0 has been built on the past: on rich print collections and personal trips to the library. Dr. Wendy Schultz presents a more positive view of the library's past.  She refers to the "treasured past" and "adventure of the future." She says that libraries are not just collections, but also conversations, communities, and a place that "preserves and promotes memories." 
I believe we should feel excited about the emerging world of 2.0 and beyond, but as we embrace the future, let's remember to appreciate the past.  As I imagine becoming a librarian, I see stacks filled with books that students are anxious to read; I see reading areas where one can sit and read that irresistible novel; I hear myself talking to other readers about characters, plots, and themes.  Yes, I also see cutting edge technology and computer access.  But, a library that is technology rich does not have to be print poor.  I have expressed this idea before, and I repeat it again: Keep the books!  Embrace technology, but keep the books!  The present is full of change, so let us future librarians make wise choices. The library of the future has room for its past.


Anonymous said...

Even when I know there's an e-book available, I would rather hold the book while reading it! Of course, if it's non-fiction, I sometimes write in the margins or put post-its on different pages to remember.. There's just something about the book in your hands ;-)

BJ said...

Exactly. It is the sensory experience of holding the book. This new generation seems content to read from a screen, but I do not think I will ever want to let go of the physical sensation of turning the pages. I like placing the book next to the bed or the couch, so I can pick up where I left off at my convenience. E-books seem temporary; print books feel like old friends. I wish I had more time to visit with those old friends.

Lili said...

Barbie, I agree with you that we need to appreciate the past as we embrace new technology.

Nick said...

I agree, as would most old 1970s children like me. I recently bought a Nook but much prefer having the paper artifact... It just doesn't seem right, reading from a machine.