Your thoughts?

What do you think: Are libraries necessary in the electronic age?

Seth Godin wrote his thoughts in The Future of the Library (with comments).

A few years ago I posted a lament about my sad discovery that the place I interned lacked a library.

Today I heard we may be either moving and reducing or maybe even all-but-closing our library at work.   I’m sad.

When you’re driving change, you need to accelerate the rate you learn by acquiring the condensed information of other people’s experiences so you can copy their successes and avoid their failures.  The fastest way to learn those lessons is through reading: books, periodicals and internet sites too.

The best way to acquire and share books, related to the change you’re trying to drive, is to have your local or workplace library invest in those books.  Then, anyone can access the book that everyone is talking about, and each person doesn’t need to buy their own books or instead spend their evening driving out to Barnes & Noble to flip through a copy.  Its both more convenient and more practical to allow people to wander over to the library’s location, skim the table of contents of the book, maybe read the introduction and decide if the book is for them.

Plus, I’ve found that a workplace library always illuminates a part of the workplace’s culture, answering: Are they curious? What are they curious about? And what history do they retain and celebrate?

If I get a vote (which I don’t think I do), I’d vote for my workplace’s library to move, if it must, to where the most people are (for easy individual access). Then, I’d vote for the library to expand instead of contract to an electronic shell of its former self.

These are just my thoughts.

What do you think?

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One thought on “Your thoughts?

  • February 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm
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    I love the thought of a library more than I love the utility of the library. I love walking into our workplace library. It’s like walking into an old relic. It is peaceful and quiet and smells quite wonderful.

    It is difficult to make a good business case for it. If I need information, the library is literally the last place I’ll look and 95% of the time I’ll never have to look that far.

    My vote would be to keep the library and update it to be more of a resource center. All it needs is wi-fi access and a barrista and it becomes the most valuable real estate on campus 😉 Seriously though, it is a part of our culture that is worth keeping even if the business case cannot be made for it.

    When I visit Microsoft’s campus, every building is filled with wonderful art and places to relax and gather your thoughts. People need those types of places… a workplace library can serve that purpose.

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