Martin, David, 1737-1797 -- Artist, Benjamin Franklin Reading
Daily Thoughts 5/7/2009
I enjoyed reading Information Tomorrow Reflections on Technology and the Future of Public and Academic Libraries, edited by Rachel Singer Gordon. There is a lot to read in this book. Each chapter is on a different subject by a different librarian. There are twenty different authors in this book. I found some of the chapters very useful and others completely unrelated what I am doing.
I even learned a new word, "Amazoogle." created by Alane Wilson. As part of reading this book, I also put another book on hold, Got Game, How The Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever by John Beck.
This book is very forward looking. There are a few themes which come across, the user is the center of the library whether the library is online, or in the library building. Librarians need to go where the users are. The technology is always secondary to what the user wants.
The second theme is that technology changes constantly, we need to be up to date with what people want or people will go to search engines and corporations to find the information they need.
This is a practical book, different people will get different things from it. I read it to learn what may be happening in the future. I learned about gaming in libraries, more about open source, and about how mobile computing will eventually overtake and replace desktop computing.
I walked up to my local library today. I like visiting libraries, most librarians do. I returned a book and looked around. I picked up three books, Streamlining Library Services What We Do, How Much Time It Takes, How Much It Costs, And How We Can Do It Better by Richard M. Dougherty, Thinking Outside The Book Edited by Carol Smallwood Introduction by Joy M. Gainer, and Learn Library Management by Bob Pymm and Damon D. Hickey.
When I was at the desk checking out books, I noticed a petition to save our libraries and signed it. There was also a postcard to the mayor. New York Public, Queens Public Library, and Brooklyn Public Library face very large cuts. This is despite increases in circulation and use. http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA6656778.html
Queens Public Library is supposed to have the highest circulation in the nation. I am not sure an argument purely based on use or circulation will work for public libraries right now. I think that other arguments have to be brought to the fore; we provide information on how to find jobs, we provide assignments for school children, we are a cultural institution that provides higher aspirations for people, having a unique high quality collection brings prestige to the community, and other strategies might work better.