Looking at the December 2009 Library Expansion FAQ (PDF) has started me wondering:
To what extent has the plan for the expansion taken into account the need for libraries of the future to function less like grocery stores and more like kitchens?
The metaphor is not mine. See this School Library Journal blog post: Library as domestic metaphor.
Our libraries should not be grocery stores. We need to use those groceries, to open the boxes, pour the milk, mix the batter, make a mess. We need production space. We need to serve up our creations in presentation or story space. We need to inspire masterpieces of all sorts. And we need to guide members of our communities through new library metaphors.
(My route to that post went from someone’s Tweet about Seth Godin’s blog post, The future of the library, which linked to a blog post by a high school librarian titled 2010 which had a comment attached to it that linked to the kitchen/grocery store metaphor blog post.)
Here’s my proposal: train people to take intellectual initiative.
Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.
To my knowledge, the library staff has never held any classes on helping citizens become better at using Web 2.0/’kitchen’ tools (content creation and online interaction tools, not information retrieval tools). We’ve had web forums in Northfield since 1995, blogs since 2003, and in the past year, the local use of Twitter and Facebook has exploded.
Now there may be good reasons why, but more to the point: I don’t see substantive attention (have I missed it?) to this in any of the library’s long-range planning documents.
So with plans on the horizon to finance the construction of the libarary expansion, it’s seems a good time to discuss this.