Walt Crawford makes a good point clearly.
Other than part of point 1- UK public libraries are not perceived as safe by many people- I wholeheartedly agree.
Some clarifiers first here:
- I am not anti technology- I’m blogging here and as a service, I do a lot of work with our VLE etc
- I am not change phobic- I do distrust change which is introduced for the sake of it
- I appreciate that in time books will not be the main information/literature vehicle- but that is still some way off
- Games, music- all good, but they are not what libraries ultimately are for; they have a place, but it is complementary to the core role
- Providing well organised and timely community information has always been part of a library’s role and if that can be done more effectively then all to the good- so products such as Talis Exchange are to be welcomed
So…all that said I still believe that right now, and for some time to come, libraries are about reading ( for fun, information, guidance etc) via books/print matter generally.
IT provision is needed to complement and extend this role- book groups, community information, sharing stories- but it is not the correct focus for public libraries.
Nor are broad one stop shop initiatives. Having a library near a council information point is one thing, having it in one is quite another.
Use of library spaces for other activities- gaming, music- is to be welcomed so long as it does not impact negatively on this focus.
“The library isn’t “just” about books, or even about computers: it’s about real life…”
I agree with that too, but would like a clearer sense of how the public library delivers on it and where it leaves well alone. Mission creep is a damaging thing. The library may not ‘just’ be about books, but that can be the start of a slope whereby it isn’t about books at all. edit or, indeed, information/entertainment- but policy drives, targets and the like /edit