I perked up on the “New Roles: Going beyond content” chapter. Let’s look at the opportunities – “how should they (libraries) fulfill a noble mission to support a vibrant ‘life of the mind’ in their communities?” The answers: performance | programs | storytelling | using physical space for social interactions (or to work in company, rather than alone) | provide ‘curated or mediated’ experiences with information.
These ideas – the people-centered library vs. a book-centered library – flow with what Joan Frye Williams said at Fall Assembly and with what R. David Lankes talked about at the eBook Summit and writes about in his Atlas of New Librarianship…and this morning, the new role of libraries discussion came up again in a post by a non-librarian, which makes me take notice. What outsiders say about us means more, sometimes.
Seth Godin, author and marketing expert, wrote about The Future of the Library this morning and it generated many conversations, both here in the office and online. Will libraries always be in the book business? Should we be the ones taking on the challenge of creating tech-savvy and information-wise citizens? Should library buildings be warehouses or meeting spaces or learning places?
The librarian isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user.
Needless to say, I recommend you that you read Seth’s post and take a few minutes to read the discussion that ensued. The original set of related posts were compiled by Buffy Hamilton, the Unquiet Librarian, and I’m adding ones I find to the bottom:
- “Are Librarians, Not Seth Godin, The Ones Missing the Point on Libraries?” by Buffy Hamilton
- “Godin, Guttenberg, and Going Forward” by Nancy Dowd
- “Cat Among Pigeons” by Diane Cordell
- “To See Ourselves as Others See Us” by Doug Johnson
- “Blog Galore Five: Seth Godin” by Caroline J. Posynick
- “Seth Godin Misses the Point on Libraries, Again” by Bobbi Newman (read the comments)
- “Seth’s Blog: The Future of the library” by Phil Bradley
- “Seth Godin on the future of the library” by Stephen Abram
- Andy Woodworth: “Bring Me the Head of Seth Godin!”
- P.C Sweeny: “Seth Called Us Out On Our Bullshit And Folks Got Mad”
- “The future of libraries – Why Seth Godin and Bobbi Newman are both right” by Jan Holmquist
- My friends at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books are even in on the action.
I’m looking forward a fruitful conversation tomorrow and hope that we come away with ideas about how to change or improve library services, a better understanding of how eBooks are impacting libraries and a renewed commitment to our noble mission.