Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thing #15: Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the Future of Libraries

The quote from Marshall MacLuhan at the start of the video struck a chord in me. When I taught Mass Communication at the outset of my career in education, we read MacLuhan's book The Medium is the Message. My high school students and I explored this idea and worked at becoming more literate where the seduction, especially of advertising, was concerned. However dire MacLuhan's predictions were, they have come to pass and I remain hopeful that this Web 2.0 journey in which we are all engaged (even my 82-year-old mother who refuses to use the Internet, but is slowly embracing her cell phone!)will produce positive results. I have been excited to discover like-minded folks out there whose stories are compelling and uplifting. Through the tools, I have found ways to connect with family and friends in exciting ways that allow us to share images as well as text and do it quickly and efficiently. (As I prepare this post, my great-nephew and I are having a text-messaging conversation!)
As to the implications for my profession and more to the point for the students at my school, Although web 2.0 has been around for over 3 years, I feel that the library discussion has only just begun. We are so behind and we have to get up to speed and FAST! My library partner and I have a lot of work to do and only one year in which to prove ourselves! I am loving the "user-driven" aspects of Library 2.0. However, I found little, so far, saying how this is to be accomplished in elementary school libraries. Ours is indeed an "inner city" school whose students have limited access to the hardware and infrastructure we are using except through our school. Our state technology standards do not adequately address this--we as librarians need to take the lead and do it and show others how. That is at any rate our plan.
I have always believed that libraries need to be available at "point of need" and to this end, I have been available to my patrons through my lunch and planning times and both before and after school. But for us to accomplish integration of the Library 2.0 tools into our curriculum and practice, we will need to articulate, recruit collaborators (teachers, staff, students and parents), discuss, plan and adapt. Our elementary school library must become both the training and proving ground for our students and the larger community, providing the connections, the forums and the means!
MacLuhan was warning us with the following quote.
"...might not our current translation of our entire lives into the spiritual form of information seem to make of the entire globe, and of the human family, a single consciousness?"
I find it not a dire prediction, but a statement of hope that through world-wide connections, we can become a world community that values all life on the planet.
Now, I must attend to a smaller life on the planet, our cat "Chien" is begging for attention and a treat. I think I'll go reconnect with the furry reality!

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