Something that really caught my imagination was in a Time article about libraries that were re-inventing themselves (Berry). It mentions a library that runs a self-publishing course. It made me think that, as the consumers of information, critique and literature become more and more the producers of those same things (with blogging and so on), the library could take an active role in blurring that line. This is even more pertinent to school libraries, where reading and writing are always best done in tandem. We should come up with ways to make our libraries student writing and publishing centres.
However, I can’t take it as good news to hear about how clever some have been to manage with unpaid staff and no money. The last thing we need is society becoming even more blasé about undervaluing skilled labour!
I wonder, though, if the nostalgic preference for paper that many of us here seem to have is a relevant factor in deciding what is best for our libraries, if the end users don’t feel that pull. I would like to see some research into the preferences of those born into the screen age, as well as some solid data about the mundane physiological things, like comparative eye strain. I am genuinely curious about whether our instinctive feeling that hardcopy books have pleasures distinct to the form does or doesn’t appear in those with different backgrounds.
“Books that require more content than ‘mere words’ are compromised in a digital form.” (Shatzkin)
This reads like an oversimplification to me. They are compromised if the digital form is not specifically designed, or re-designed, for that book. There are times when they might be enhanced, farting donkeys being a case in point.
I am becoming more confirmed in what I suspected, that the role of the librarian and the teacher will become less and less about how to find information, and more and more about filtering it, and teaching students to distinguish between reliable/unreliable, useful/extraneous, value and quality and their lack.
If it gets too confusing, there’s always cake.