Recently, David Warlick had been exploring metaphors for the library, and has posited that librarians are like viruses, “infecting their schools with the desire to evolve.” While I think that is an interesting metaphor, I’m not sure I want to be a virus 😉
I had been thinking that the library is like a heart, permeating the body (school)with life giving substance, or that libraries are like the air, because with the internet, the library is everywhere, all the time, wherever you are.
In his inspiring article, “Playing with Legos in the Sandbox and other uses for a library,” in the November issue of Library Media Connection(unfortunately the article is not online) librarian Bob Hassett eloquently describes the who, what when, where, why and how of the 21st century library.
He envisions the library as a sandbox, writing:
“The Library is a space where friends and strangers come together in community, to try things out and play with things and smash things together….”
He reminds readers of Paul Miller’s talk at Computers in Libraries last year, where he talked about a library system being like a lego–you don’t have to build the model pictured on the box, but can experiment and design your own.
Hassett writes, “This is a…description of how real people really use information. My experience tells me that it’s truer of young people than grown-ups. In a real sense, they build and create with it. They play with it.”
So where is the library? I love that Hassett pulls my favorite metaphor–that the library is everywhere, and that we as librarians have to be where our information users are.
And who is the library, according to Hassett? He tells the teachers, “You are.” And when is the library, Hassert asks? His answer, “All the time.”
As Hassert writes, we cannot limit what the library does to the four walls of the library–literacy, reading, information gathering–should be and are things all of us do all the time. So our role as librarians is to reach out to our patrons, students and teachers alike–offer them resources, assistance, inspiration, collaboration, and provide in our physical spaces a place to play, explore, talk, collaborate, experiment, and create.
So is our job to provide a learning sandbox for the school? What do you think?
(disappointing to say that this article isn’t full text online yet–check your professional databases in a few weeks!)