Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Libraries of the Future

Libraries are about information, communications and community.

To say that libraries are still about books, is like saying that news is still about newspapers. It's the content and not the form that is important -- for transmitting information and interactions in the best manner possible.

I think future cultural institutions will be integrated into community centers -- which are a more recent phenomenon. It used to be that the community center was the saloon, schools -- or the church. And then there was a separate building for every function and purpose, but the future is obviously the integrated community center.

The (Salvation Army) Kroc Centers are the prototype for this development -- everything under one roof but the saloon.

You can probably run most of government on an electronic bulletin board now -- but bureaucrats don't want to give up their control (and power), and to create as many high-paying jobs for their themselves and their allies, insist on doing everything the most labor intensive way -- rather than being capital-intensive, which is the one thing that can serve many, if not all, purposes.

That was the problem that eventually caused the newspapers to fail -- because they didn't want to give up their editorial and publishing control, and so the people went electronic as soon as they were given the chance -- which made many more readers and writers without even thinking about it as a separate activity anymore. Education is also the same way -- just a function along the way to some greater purpose, and not the end-all, be-all in itself -- as many career educators would have everyone believe.

If one can operate a computer and do MySpace, you have all the literacy one needs to do anything else one wants to do. We just don't have time and space to learn just for learning sake -- as though that was an intelligent to do.

If you can find the answer when you actually need it, that's all you have to do. So to revere books -- rather than the thinking it should inspire to solve today's problems, is like worshiping statues and buildings -- thinking that is God.


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