Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Smithtown Library Bond

The Smithtown Library Bond Passed!

3566 to 3184

Monday, March 3, 2008

Will libraries disappear in 2019?

Will libraries disappear in 2019? This question comes from the blog Trends in the Living Network written by Ross Dawson who created the Extinction Timeline which among other things predicts that libraries will become extinct in 2019. On a personal note I wondered when the last time Mr. Dawson worked a public reference desk? I worked one last Saturday and found that far from feeling the "extinction trend" we were extremely busy and not with just helping patrons get on the computers, but with everything from research to locating items in the stacks....but I digress. Mr. Dawson seems to have revisited his Extinction Timeline post a second time because The Slate has a slide show titled, Borrowed Time which asks the question, How do you build a public library in the time of Google? and discusses the Extinction Timeline,

Ross Dawson, a business consultant who tracks different customs, devices, and institutions on what he calls an Extinction Timeline, predicts that libraries will disappear in 2019. He's probably right as far as the function of the library as a civic monument, or as a public repository for books, is concerned. On the other hand, in its mutating role as urban hangout, meeting place, and arbiter of information, the public library seems far from spent. This has less to do with the digital world—or the digital word—than with the age-old need for human contact.

And Mr. Dawson's answer to the above,

Absolutely we are shifting into a world where experiences and physical interactions are becoming more important than ever. For example, shopping in shops will never disappear. We will create new spaces where we can meet and interact. We are yet to see whether the spaces where people spend their time are those based around books and collected information.

I bring this up because I don't think the sky is falling, I think things are just changing as they always have. Public Library Reference services today are not what they were 10 years ago...and were they really the same 10 years ago as the were 20, 30 or even 40years? What do you think?