This book should be part of any information professionals reading list. Short but informative chapters written by practitioners in the field, the chapter discuss some of the current issues information professional and librarians face in their work. Some chapters in particular I considered as worthy of reading.
The chapter on ‘Transforming the library – e-books and e-buildings’ by Dave Parkes, was a great look at the emerging area of e-books. I found this article particularly interesting as my library is experimenting with issuing e-book readers, and we have noted a dramatic increase in use of e-books over the past few years (even from last year, the use has nearly doubled!). Parkes mentions a 2008 survey that suggests by 2018 the sale of digital content will outstrip sales of traditional books. I know for my library, we still buy print books, but it is part of our collection management policy to purchase an e-book when it is available. This especially makes sense for us as we are an online and distance education school.
Institute for the Future of the Book http://www.futureofthebook.org/
Flat World Knowledge http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/minisite/
Parkes ends his chapter with the discussion of the library as a social space. He argues that libraries have always been social learning spaces. It is a multiuse space that allows for people to interact with each other, ideas, technology and resources. And libraries are always looking for new ways for the library to be used. One exciting way that Parkes mentions is the ‘Get it Loud in Libraries’ campaign by Lancaster public library. Since 2005 it has staged live band concerts among the book shelves. I think this is a fabulous idea. Why not hold arts events, concerts, theatre groups in our libraries, and then find a tie in to our collections. Libraries who hold Wii nights for teens are another example of a fun way to bring a demographic who may not otherwise enter the library to come.
Libraries are not just a place where you go for quite study, with a librarian waiting to shhsh you. Rather libraries are vibrant places, and often the central place in a community where everyone is welcome. I think of the central public library in Wellington. It is part of a series of buildings in an area called Civic Square. The library is a massive building, with several floors holding a huge collection. It is a beautiful modern new building, but what really gets me about this space, is the zones it has created for people to use. When I first walked into this building for the first time, I was walked right into a vibrant café, with families having lunch, business people having meetings, and others just enjoying a cup of coffee. The café is a part of the library, and attracts a large amount of people everyday.