Library 2.0 or the read/write library- call it what you will- has brought this into sharp focus.
Is a library a collection of information, to be accessed and manipulated in whatever way best suits the consumer?
Or is it also a place where that access and manipulation can be shared, challenged, celebrated, nurtured etc?
Are libraries about information at all? Or are they more about what is done with that information/knowledge?
For me, libraries have to have a physical dimension, in order to foster an attitude to learning/knowledge/entertainment that stands against commodification.
I am in no way against e-books, digital libraries, mashups and the like- but I see them all as part of something broader than ‘information.’
I have been part of a virtual communiy, and they are great, but I’ve always felt closer to those I’ve met irl. And a library provides one such space for people to meet, encounter ‘information’ and each other.
Yah, I’m a liberal. Information does not want to be free- it needs, in some cases, to be free; but sometimes it needs a place.