Friday, February 11, 2011

Scott McCleod - Provocative Questions for Tech Integration in Education

Some big questions for educators (and parents and policymakers)

Do you ever feel the need to defend your job? Then immediately afterward, ponder why you must defend it in the first place? Feeling this way may provide opportunities to appreciate what you're doing well, but may also lead you to reevaluate what you may be missing - either in thinking or services. The above link from Scott McLeod's blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, may leave some readers feeling "itchy" and others nodding their heads in agreement. What do you think?

Below is a statement from the above post specifically about libraries. Are you itching or nodding? :)

* Electronic versions of books on Amazon now are outselling both their hardback AND paperback counterparts. Reference materials are moving to the Web at an exceedingly fast pace. When all of the books in your media center become electronic, will you still need a physical space called a ‘library?’ Will you still need ‘librarians?’ - Scott McCleod


  1. I've questioned the physical space a bit myself when thinking about 2025. Not that there won't be some physical spaces, but maybe we will have more tiny spaces out in the community where we can help. We won't necessarily need to be tied to a building to give service since so much will be online, so why not venture out? Make little kiosk-type spaces staffed by librarians all around the community. Or have bookmobile-type automobiles that won't necessarily have books in them but electronics, like machines that can hook up to all types of portable devices were people can plug in and get items from the library on their devices with staff in these vehicles to help them.

    This, of course, doesn't account for school libraries and librarians or academic. For them maybe it's not as much a physical space but much more so having the librarians embedded in classrooms on a daily basis to help students find and evaluate information?

  2. I actually think that physical library spaces are going to be more necessary. While I agree that the library of the future will have to be more accessible online if we hope to compete with private organizations, the space itself seems to be getting busier and busier. I know we throw around the "third space" terminology a lot… but people will still be getting together in person to work, socialize and learn, and I hope the library will still be offering a free, safe and equitably accessible place to do that.

    I’d love to see a more mobile and flexible model for delivery of services, whether through kiosks or techmobiles. But I’d also count on the meeting rooms of the future to be fully booked! :)

  3. Initially Scott McCleod's comment/s made me itch, however, I am coming around the bend and am more inclined to have these conversations with opposing stakeholders. I do think McCleod can be a bit too polarizing and fails to explore multiple alternative futures, not to mention the irritating way he puts quotation marks around library and librarian... I digress. I do think asking these sorts of questions will get conversations started and that is a good thing.

    In regards to physical space, I do think libraries will continue to maintain and staff a physical place. Of course librarians are currently flexible and collaborate with educators, students, and patron in classroom spaces and virtual spaces, but we will continue to offer a unique physical space to our users who will continue to value such a space. I agree with Jessi that these spaces currently are getting busier and busier, and we have the statistics to prove it.