Friday, June 20, 2014

Transforming Libraries

 Hearing Bill Derry from the Westport, CT. public library talk about transforming libraries is heady stuff, but it wasn't until I starting talking to young people myself that I realized the urgency of the mission.

Bill Derry talks about moving libraries from thinking "collection development" to "connection development." What does that mean? I think it means actively seeking out the people in your community who have skills to share and people who need to learn those skills. Then providing the community with a place and resources to facilitate making things.

He juxtaposes these old vs. new library polarities:
  • Library Centric vs. Learning Centric
  • Language Literacy vs. Multiple Literacies
  • Answers vs. Questions
  • Library as Grocery Store vs. Library as Kitchen
  • Little time for Science vs. Emphasis on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math)
Here is how South Carolina public librarian, Melanie Florencio, explains it in a TEDX Creative Coast 7 minute talk:

Talking to a few young people in my circle of connections reveals an urgent need to build new competencies and explore new job skills. No longer can you go to grad. school, pass your classes, get your diploma and be set in a career. In today's constantly evolving work world, acquiring new skills and competencies are a given and people need to have a place where they can come back again and again to study and practice new technologies and new ways to be productive.

Enter the new library. Place to learn and create, all at your own pace and featuring the freedom and support provided by the ever-evolving public library.

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