Thursday, May 7, 2009

27 Things: Web 2.0 and To Forum or Not To Forum?

I hate to burst any one's bubble but Libraries are not open forums. They are not a place where anyone can come and freely expound their ideas. Nor are they a place where anyone can deposit their ideas for prosperity. While open to the public, where ideas are kept and accessed, there is no, nor has there ever been, a Library which fulfilled these functions. Even school Libraries do not fill this function. Forums are where conversations and the expression of ideas are encouraged. Other institutions fill this purpose, like schools or examples of the true Greek marketplace.

Dr. Wendy Schultz, writing in the article To a Temporary Place in Time... suggests Libraries are more than they are or need to be. "What are libraries? Libraries are not just collections of documents and books, they are conversations, they are convocations of people, ideas, and artifacts in dynamic exchange." Libraries are a collection of documents and books, of conversations and ideas of people, of artifacts. Certainly the Internet allows these things to facilitate a dynamic exchange of conversations and ideas. but, the word "Library" and the concept "Library", while dynamic in its own right, has to maintain a level of tradition otherwise it ceases to exist.

I agree with Dr. Schultz on everything else. She's dreaming about the future, imagining a Utopian Library which encompasses every possibility of information storage and retrieval. We have to dream this dream, then turn these dreams into a reality. But, in order for the Library to maintain it's integrity it must remain separate from the political conversations, discussions, even arguments which seek to rearrange a society.

'Tis a hard thing to do, to remain a part of a society, yet separate enough to guarantee the authenticity of the information contained therein.

1 comment:

  1. on the other hand, it will cease to exist if we keep doing things "like we've always done them."