As an individual who grew up in a world that was 'gone crazy' with technology, I can say that many of these 'scary new' things are old cheese. I, like many other twenty somethings, got an email in junior high, have had a MySpace and Facebook account for years, and know that LOL isn't some new plague. (Unless online IM dating is considered a plague, I've seen that strike and it isn't pretty. "U R 2 Cute" Gag.) So, when I first heard about some of the different parts of 23 Things I was left thinking, "so what, this isn't new."
And that's what makes it so unfortunate. The library, like baggy sweaters and the band Poison, has gotten stuck in the not so distant past. While its patrons are busy MySpacing it out, the library worker (especially if they're over thirty, sorry to say) is the one who has the questions. I'm lucky enough that in many ways the library I work at is making the effort to move into the next century. "A computer room? Golly, I'm on the interweb!" We do try to connect with our patrons, and give them what they want. The programs we have seem to be based on what our patrons might enjoy, and it seems to me like we're always looking ahead. Which is good.
With the world hurdling (does that make sense?) itself into an age where all a person needs to survive is internet access, a computer and the website of a pizza delivery place, I almost worry that the library will become obsolete. The library evolves for its patrons, but how much change must happen before a library is no longer a library? I've actually had nightmares about a day when a library contains no books. After all, if they can just be downloaded and read on your computer why have them at all? (Seriously!? Does that not make anyone else slightly nauseous? I must feel the paper and smell the ink!) And, did I spell nauseous correctly? It might be, nausous...no, I think I had it right the first time.
It is a bit weird to see a library really branch out and get 'with it.' (Anyone else have fond memories of card catalogs?)Most of these changes really are for the best, and I applaud the efforts of library workers everywhere. Others though, seem a bit much. A coffee shop in a library? Really, is that giving our patrons what they want or just jumping onto the bandwagon of 'coolness'? Because of the 'hipness' that is found in technology, I sincerely hope that libraries will be able find a balance between retaining their origins and embracing the new world. You know, now that I think about it, this might have all come about because of how much I love history. The idea of so much change, with a disregard of all that has come before, really wierds me out.
If a library no longer has books, just what is it?
Freaking scary, that's what.