School Libraries in the digital age.

“Ross Dawson, a business consultant who tracks different customs, devices, and institutions on what he calls an Extinction Timeline, predicts that libraries will disappear in 2019. He’s probably right as far as the function of the library as a civic monument, or as a public repository for books, is concerned. On the other hand, in its mutating role as urban hangout, meeting place, and arbiter of information, the public library seems far from spent. This has less to do with the digital world—or the digital word—than with the age-old need for human contact.”

Slate, an online magazine, has an article about the future of Libraries in the digital age. I got to it via a post on The Shifted Librarian. The above is a quote from the article which comes with accompanying slides. I think it’s a really interesting quote because in large part I agree with it. I’m a Teacher- Librarian and I can see the dust forming on our non-fiction collection. Today’s students just don’t go there all that much. We’ve created a high interest non-fiction collection as a means  of highlighting the really interesting content that is around and this is working. Last Friday we had a new couch delivered which has created a cosy nook around this area with some comfy cushions which we purchased last year. The kids love it – I don’t think I’ve seen it unoccupied since it arrived. This is the second couch – the first one we purchased last year and it resides in the reading area along with countless other cushions. Our students really appreciate the fact that we are trying to create a friendly and inviting space for them. Ross is right- the need for human contact is innate – our students like to hang out, lounge around, talk, listen to their Ipods, read, laugh, eat, talk to us, use their laptops – they like to connect, in whatever form that may be. We’re getting an interactive whiteboard installed in the next holiday break. We hope to offer visual stimulas via this in the school lunch breaks – be it student requested viewing material or things we source ourselves – maybe we can highlight great blogs that they could be reading or teach them how to use new things on the Web! Libraries need to respond to this digital age – I think we are doing this and our students are appreciating it. There are lunchtimes when every seat in the place is occupied. I work with a great team of people who are committed to our vision of where libraries are going. Nothing would work without this kind of support.   

3 Replies to “School Libraries in the digital age.”

  1. reason I think library will survive longer than that: too much reading off the internet makes our eyes hurt (and also if gutenberg.org shuts down)

    wonder what grade level your students are, because people in my highschool never ‘reads’ in lunchtime… rather eat more or play basketball

  2. While I’m sure that the Internet definitely cuts down on students checking out non-fiction materials, I think the Internet, esp. with blogs such as this one, librarian review sites, etc., will boost fiction check-outs, particularly if sites are geared to allowing young adults to express their opinions about books they read. In my “travels” on the Internet as I promote the release of my novel this coming September, I find that teens’ love of reading is alive and well– and that it is still the traditional book-in-hand-method that drives it.
    Beth Fehlbaum, author
    Courage in Patience
    A Story of Hope for Those Who Have Endured Abuse
    http://courageinpatience.blogspot.com

  3. I agree that the library as center of knowledge is on borrowed time. I had a tour of the new Coburg Senior High School earlier in the week and they’ve made a decision not to invest in non-fiction but in a fiction collection only. I think that, if we were to build a new library from scratch right now, it wouldn’t be of the civic monument category

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