Wednesday, June 16, 2010

With Or Without Books The Library's 'a Hopping!

I told myself the last time I wasn't going to drink anymore.

I'm beyond addicted. It's just so good, I really think they put some sort of drug in the mix to make susceptible coffee drinkers like myself completely hooked. The McDonald's Carmel Frappe. It's delicious. And it's the perfect accompaniment to this beautiful, warm, summer June day, as I sit here in my hometown's public library. A few years ago they didn't even allow beverages in the library (so I can clearly blame them for the tall frosty beverage at my left, right?). For the record, I feel horrible about this purchase; aside from the obvious fact my tasty indulgence is laced with caloric guilt, as a budding vegetarian and common sense American I have huge health and ethical issues with McDonald's.

(pause to take a nice long carmel-y sip)

I've read numerous blog posts over the past few years, as well as studied the topic in one of my graduate courses, that books are on their way out- out of our shelves, out of our libraries, out of our cultures- in favor of ereaders, like the Nook or Kindle.

I'm not here to argue that point, because I think there is some obvious truth to that, and I'm not entirely sure it's a bad thing; but as I sit here in the library I can't help but notice, this library is hopping- with or without books (though our library has a great selection, as well as subscription service to My Media Mall where I can checkout digital books). It's nearly noon on a Wednesday and it's packed, kids checking out books, adults at laptops, computers, in the stacks; talking, sharing, reading, typing, laughing (and yes, sipping those lovely beverages now encouraged to help bring about the "cafe atmosphere"), it's inspiring to a teacher to see. There is so much life in this building, and I can't imagine that would go away just because books might.

Libraries across the nation are innovative, they are working double time to keep up with our evolving digital culture; everything from changing the outdated decor, to offering more services. It becomes a haven for us cheap bibliophiles, and offers a non-threatening escape for emergent readers.

The library continuously amazes me and I look forward to exploring more it has to offer this summer.

For now, I may go look up books on addiction...


Mrs. Tenkely said...

I was thinking similar thoughts as I sat and observed the happenings of my library. It was packed and it was wonderful! Kids were excitedly sharing books that they were reading and checking them out at our self check out center. Proudly slapping that library card down to scan in exchange for books, CD's, and video.
A library is a beautiful thing and as long as they can keep innovating (and yes, allowing beverages), it will remain so.

Kelly said...

I love the "slapping that library card down," kids do get so excited over getting their first "official" card. I look forward to when my toddler son will request his own card!

A.Manternach said...

The part I find interesting in the interaction of paper and digital is the WHO that is making the transition.

There seems like there is a disconnect between the two camps: one adapting and embracing technology, while the other fights and denounces the possibilities.

I wish the two public libraries or several school libraries I visit were even half as exciting to enter and hang-out at.

One can only hope.

Kelly said...

I agree in the disconnect. I think we would assume that kids are able to handle the online reading well, however I did an "experiment" this year having some of my 5th graders read a novel online and they hated it. They loved doing the discussion online but they really missed having the print in front of them. Part of that was for convenience of being able to read anywhere with a novel and not being "tied down to a PC" but a few also just didn't like reading from the screen.