No heads in the sand here

Whither are libraries going?   Just this week a colleague suggested to me that librarians might be a dying profession.  However, I don’t believe that, nor do I think that librarians have their heads in the sand about the evolving nature of their profession, clients, or facilities or materials. Not only are we hearing this message from outside of the profession, but we are also hearing it in our own messaging within the profession.  I think my biggest objection to this line of thinking is that it […]

Cart and buggy or…?

There’s been a lot of talk lately around the blogosphere about the future of libraries from both within the library profession and outside of it. I think it’s been a great constructive dialogue about a complicated topic. You can follow some of the discussion here: The Uncertainty of Professional Persistence Touching Some Nerves Dangerously Irrelevant Libraries I have more to say about the discussion, but first, I thought it would be enlightening to take a look at statistics about library use. There are presumptions I […]

Defining a vision

   In their article in School Library Journal, Things That Keep us Up at Night, Joyce Valenza and Doug Johnson have  given us much food for thought.   They are earnestly  concerned about the survival of school librarians and libraries if we don’t evolve to meet the current demands that technological and societal changes regarding information use have wrought on our profession. One of the most fascinating points they make is that “We have no textbook for what 21st century school library practice looks like.”  And obviously if […]

Future of libraries…some thoughts

After our discussion at the Future of Libraries panel(see previous post) last week, and some general discussions around the blogosphere, it is clear there is profession-wide self-examination going on about libraries and our services and our customers. In his post, “Who are Your Competitors” David Lee King ponders this subject, asking “What are you doing to compete for your patrons’ attention?” King is a public librarian, but many of the same questions apply to us in school libraries, as evidenced from the conversation last week.  […]

Which way do we go?

This morning I saw a new website twittered– –which allows you to “rent” books like you do Netflix videos. Demise of library services as we know them? Will people still want to go to a place if they can get the item via their mailbox? (of course, it’s not free, you have a monthly fee, so the library is still a better deal ;)!) Similarly, I read in the NYTimes several articles relating to the demise of newspapers and/or magazines, including a touching one […]

The power of place

A tweet from Chris Craft just caught my eye this morning and triggered all sorts of thoughts. crafty184 “I really would like to figure out something I’d need to ask a reference librarian because Google can’t provide the answer.” I jokingly responded a question Google probably can’t answer: “Where is the pencil sharpener?” But there’s a point to my joke. Maybe a library is more than just questions we ask a reference librarian? In any case, I think for our profession, there is both a […]

A new model?

As our library facility moves closer to completion(December?), I’ve been pondering how to use the new space we’ve created more effectively, and create a student-friendly facility. At NECC, I was fortunate enough to meet David Loertscher(guru in library field!), who shared with me his new book, The New Learning Commons:  Where Learners Win, cowritten with Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan, which provides an innovative vision of how to transform a library into a “learning commons.” The authors suggest a more client-centered space, more “Google” than […]

Changing vision of libraries

Clay Shirky’s book Here Comes Everybody reminds us that forces outside of education are driving changes throughout society. How that trickles down to school libraries is the question? And how do we advocate for the “21st century” library? Julia Keller had an interesting column in the May issue of American Libraries, “Killed By Kindness,” pointing out that we can’t simply advocate for libraries because of the warm fuzzy memories of the libraries of our past. (Since I misplaced my copy of the magazine at the […]

Reaching out

An interesting Twitter conversation the other day has had outreach on my mind. The other morning, several of us — Kristin Hokanson, Jenny Luca, and Robin Ellis and others were debating how to reach out to librarians (or teachers) who were reluctant adopters of technology.   We concluded that there are several factors at work and some possible solutions: –encouraging or providing funds for librarians to attend library conferences or tech conferences with library strands that have a high tech presence (like AASL, ALA, NECC, Internet […]

Libraries, schools and third places?

As the culture outside our schools change, are our buildings changing to reflect the “outside” world?        Mitchell Joel’s interesting Six Pixels of Separation blog comments on a fascinating article in the Economist, “The New Oases,” about how people now are much more nomadic in their use of spaces.  (I found Joel’s blog via Garr Reynold’s excellent Presentation Zen blog). Wi-fi, mobility,  and portability allow people to connect wherever they go, and so people gravitate to both indoor and outdoor spaces where they can conveniently “connect” or gather. As the architect professor William […]