Growing tomorrow’s libraries
February 28, 2012, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Just a quick update today:

We were excited to read this post from Nate Hill at the Public Library Association encouraging public librarians to actively shape the future of their institutions as sites of knowledge production, rather than just consumption. This is something near and dear to us at the Green Garage library, and something that we’re still figuring out how to do for our own community. (That, of course, is going to be part of the fun over the next few years.)

We were especially struck by this sentiment:

“The new public library needs to establish itself as an institution with a commitment to the production of knowledge just as deep as its existing commitment to the consumption of knowledge. The public library needs to be involved in all the touchpoints of the creative life cycle rather than just the beginning and the end.”

And this:

“The future I propose and the means by which libraries might create it requires an intentional shift; no future is inevitable.”

Hear, hear! We love learning about other innovative librarians who are giving serious thought to the value of the knowledge in their communities in addition to knowledge that’s passed down through books and other media. It’s the great transformation that makes library work so exciting right now, and that will keep us innovating into the future.

In related news, David Lankes’s transformational Atlas of New Librarianship, a text that was influential to us when we were building the foundations of our library, has just won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature, issued by the American Library Association. The new mission for librarians that Lankes articulates (“to improve society by facilitating knowledge creation in their communities”) remains a touchstone for us as we grow.

Signs of the times? We think so. The future of the library is all about the knowledge of the community. But as Nate Hill says, it’s up to us to make that future a reality.