On Libraries

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.

[Kids] need a librarian more than ever (to figure out creative ways to find and use data). They need a library not at all.

Seth Godin

What happens to librarians and the library when we don’t need a building of shelves for dead trees? I don’t mean what other jobs are there that librarians can fill or what else can we put on those shelves. Their (the people and places) role needs to evolve. Seth’s piece is wonderfully optimistic about a library rewritten from scratch for today. How does the concept of sharing knowledge and ideas transform when it’s no longer stored on paper? When it’s so much more connected and powerful? The new library is a place for thinkers and doers and demonstrations of why it’s important to be these things. It needs to maintain (grow?) it’s role as a community building block.

We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.

That librarian is in NYC. (via The Verge)

Hackerspace meets workshop meets study group meets hangout. The only place parents would be happy to let their kids go with their friends.

*I was thinking about our local libraries, EPL. With Facebook’s new app and verb/noun framework I can only hope this gets created. What if the library knew what books you checked out and posted that as name checked out title. People comment on it, share insights, etc. The app could presumably also keep track of reading habits and stats. If it’s an ebook that you’re reading then it could let you post selected quotes to your wall as you read for other people to see. I don’t know how much I’ve bought into the social features of electronic reading yet. That’s a personal preference, there’s plenty of people who like sharing ideas and talking about books with other people. I’m partial to the idea of using aggregate data for Amazon’s Xray to Kobo’s Reading Life, but they’re not exclusive of each other.