A recent post on the Education Week blog caught my eye, and captured the true dilemma many librarians and media specialists face as they ponder the future of libraries. The post is most specific to K-12, yet there are parallels for other library types too. Author Matthew Lynch proposes that to keep up with student needs, school libraries need to embrace a blend of traditional and contemporary philosophical needs (then takes the time to list them out). It is not hard to understand that remote access to the school catalog is a huge deal to students, yet so many schools in our region do not provide such access. In some districts, individual schools cannot even see each other’s catalogs. Why is that? Is it only a money thing, or do some believe our power remains in forcing people to physically visit the library or in asking the media person to do a search for them? Students want instant, remote access to school catalogs for books and other objects too. The post concluded with a rousing conclusion about Libraries of the Future and our own Minnesota school media leader Doug Johnson provided a great quote in this section. Johnson says “that all libraries have three primary responsibilities in the coming decade: providing high touch environments in a high tech world; offering virtual services; and standing ground as uber information hubs.” If decision makers are willing to break out of the traditional rut, school libraries (all libraries) will remain relevant and viable. Take five minutes to read the complete post, including quotes from other thought leaders on this subject!
Patricia Post, Director
Central MN Libraries Exchange (CMLE)
A Minnesota Multitype Library System
St. Cloud State University, Miller Center 130-D
720 4th Ave. So.
St. Cloud, MN 56301-4498
Phone: 320-308-4779 Fax: 320-308-5131