Whatever happened to …

… taking out books from the library

I’m sure kids still do that these days? Right? Every school I’ve visited for the past couple of years have turned their library into a “community hub” which is great, but it also means less books on the shelf. I remember my middle and high school libraries were HUGE! Full of bookshelves. We even had a circle of computers in the middle and a computer lab right inside of it. But the book options were fabulous. And we do a library visit all the time with our teachers to pick out books, and start reading in the library. 

Thank to the anonymous person who left this idea on the Padlet.

I’m not sure of the source but it’s particularly relevant to those folks in Essex County who use the public libraries here.  Librarians have been on strike since June 25.  I was actually working on a post that I was tentatively calling “A Summer of Illiteracy” because of it.  So, this idea was timely.

See stories from the River Town Times here.

It’s certainly been an uncomfortable summer to be on the picket lines.  I know that I and others have purchased bottled water and dropped it off to the picketers.  It’s comforting to see the people – including kids and dogs, joining the picket lines and the honkers passing by in their cars.  The Amherstburg Public Library is right on the corner of the main intersection in town.  Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.

On the other hand, those “Little Lending Libraries” that you see in communities seem to be picking up a bit of the action.

It confirms the value that people see in the library.

Which takes us back to the school library.  Over the years, they have most certainly become targets in schools as claims of insufficient funding have resulted in fewer resources and fewer people to manage them and help students with their literacy goals.  With the influx of computers into schools, the library often seems like a natural location for them – usually central and they don’t disrupt the traditional classroom organization.  When that’s the reason, I think it demonstrates a short vision for the inclusion of technology.  Of course, the library has always been the place to go for research, reference, and literacy with the best of the teacher-librarian staying on top of things so that they can be a key component.  But what happens when that teacher-librarian isn’t there?  Those who have become accustomed to their unique skills and are now without it will attest to what’s missing; if you’re fortunate enough to continue to have a teacher-librarian, just imagine life without it.

Readers of this blog will know that I’m a huge fan of the use of technology and the promise that it brings.  I’m also a reading fan.  We talk about technology allowing us to do things that were never possible before.  For me, that includes downloading books I’d never heard of to my tablet.  In particular, I like traditional horror reading where the horror is interpreted between your ears and not graphically on video.  My old high school had a nice selection of these in book format.

With school libraries becoming digital or community hubs, something has to give.  As the originator of the idea notes, it’s often shelves where traditional books would have been stored.  The visits to the library aren’t necessarily only for book exchange anymore – it’s a time and place for digital research.  In the beginning of networking, it made financial and integration sense to install them centrally and have a person specially prepared for their use.  We’re also seeing library acquisition money spent on digital subscriptions rather than purchasing more space consuming books.  That solves the problem of bed bugs.  Did you read the archives linked to above?

How about you chipping in with your thoughts?

  • Does a central digital hub make sense in 2016 or does it make sense to place technology throughout the school?  Or is the best scenario a combination of both?
  • Has the concept of reading from a traditional book changed?  Is an eBook a good replacement?
  • Do you prefer to read digitally or do you prefer the ability to turn pages, use physical bookmarks?
  • With declining inventories of books, do you see limited reading options as detrimental to the love of reading?
  • In the future, do you see the demise of traditional books and the closing of what we romantically think of when we think library inevitable?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Do you have an idea or thought that would be appropriate for my “Whatever happened to … ” series of blog posts?

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

OTR Links 09/04/2016

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.