Posts Tagged library as place
In the Art of Browsing by Claire Barliant we started to reflect about the book as a trend in our quest for knowledge. We learned about the “Library of Unborrowed Books” – an art installation developed by Meriç Algün Ringborg that manifests itself in the languages and titles of each book in the collection.
Meriç Algün Ringborg’s art installation looks at the library as a contemporary moment. The project presents hundreds of books that have never been borrowed from the Center for Fiction’s library. The framework hints at what has been disregarded, knowledge essentially unconsumed. It puts on display what eludes us.
Librarians know that the act of browsing for a book in a large collection is an idea generator. It provides the patron that is walking in the library with an awareness and openness to new ideas, stories, history and science. Claire Barliant reflects on the real changes occuring in our world. She stated, “But with every trend, however modest, you have to wonder, why now? Is it possible that book browsing is already strange and unusual enough to be considered material for art?”
“Everyone agrees that the future of publishing is electronic, with words beamed to us instantaneously. But in that case, what will happen to all of the books and the places that store them? When they’re gone, where will we randomly stumble on the knowledge we didn’t even know we wanted to know?”
We believe the library will continue to represent the gaps and cracks of history through book and media circulation. We believe in the digital catalog, providing a collection where access and ownership and subscription licenses are intermixed. Most importantly, the library will provide professional support through readers advisory and information literacy.
The library of the future will be where primary materials and extended access co-exist to create an experience that enhances our learning process and research outcomes.
An excellent opinion article by Susan P. Crawford, “The New Digital Divide” provides a valid reason why Public Libraries, Special and Academic Libraries provide a value in the digital age. For the majority of citizen’s, the only access they have to medical, law, jobs and skills is through a cell phone. The “poor and working class – either cannot afford access or use restricted wireless access as their only connection to the Internet.” Indeed, the “library as place” can offer connection speeds as high as Docsis 2.0 and 3.0 or 105 megabits per second, fast enough to download a music album in three seconds. The library can offer high speed connections when wireless is too slow.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project recently came out with a study that shows how the divide is affecting economic growth. According to the study, almost 25% of Americans do not have unrestricted access to the Internet. However, roughly 44% of lower income families have some kind of Smart Phones.
The new digital divide can be combated with a new learning center or library environment. The provision of library internet access will enable the community to use real-time video conferencing and virtual classrooms. It can support job creation, higher quality healthcare, better skills and virtual diplomas. The “library as place” is a way to share our resources and build a better future.
An economic study developed by the Free Library of Philadelphia in 2010 is a good starting point for anyone who wants to advocate for their library. The Free Library of Philadelphia summarized four areas where the library makes an impact on its community.
1. Workforce Development – $6M
- $2.2 million in career development book-reading & lending
- $2.1 million in job-finding online activities, including workforce database usage and online job searching/prep
- $1.7 million job-readiness and workforce-related programming
The study estimates that 979 Philadelphians found jobs directly as a result of the resources provided by the Library in FY10.
979 entry-level jobs translates into $30.4 million in earned income in one year (at an average entry-level salary for Philadelphia), generating $1.2 million annually in wage tax revenue for the city
2. Business Development – $3.8M
8% of survey respondents report that they could not have started, grown or improved their business without the Free Library, resulting in an estimated 8,630 businesses that benefited from Free Library business development services.
3. Value to Homes and Neighborhoods. Homes within ¼ mile of a Library are worth, on average, $9,630 more than homes more than ¼ mile from a Library.
4. Literacy – $21.8M
- $18.4 million in literacy-related reading & lending
- $2.6 million in literacy related programming
- $818,000 in literacy-related online activities
10% of survey respondents report “ I couldnt have learned to read without the library,” meaning an estimated
10,788 people attribute their ability to read to the Free Library.
13% of survey respondents report they taught someone else to read and could not have done it without the Free Library, meaning 14,024 people attribute their being able to teach someone to read to the Library.
LINK to the STUDY
The value of a library is an important part of the building process. Greer states in her 06.09.10 Arts Comment in the Guardian Newspaper that we have to value library spaces. She proposes – “think of libraries as a cluster of services rather than as buildings; as such they are some of the most beautiful built spaces on earth.”
Germaine Greer points out that younger people are more comfortable with the library. They don’t have expectations for thousands of books. They just want a space that is modern with power and wireless connectivity.
The “library as place” concept includes the idea of the library as an Oasis. We support the notion that the library is the best place for literacy classes, language courses and computer literacy classes. We have to continue to rethink the “library as place.” Greer explains that “as the era of the book draws to a close, we must keep our libraries and their contents together as cultural entities in themselves…the core job of a local library is to acquire and conserve letters, diaries, books (especially books with marginalia by local celebrities), plans, minutes, parish records, maps, local newspaper and pamphlets, posers and photographs. In an overcrowded, muzak-infested, video-saturated world, a reading room is an oasis, to which we may all repair, even if it is only to read a newspaper.”
The value of public library service is often overlooked by the community. During the development of a capital campaign to improve the library building, it is very important to communicate the value of the library services.
One way to generate knowledge about library services and their cost advantages is to use a calculator. The Chelmsford Library developed one online for you to use. Go to: Library Use Value Calculator
You may use this calculator for survey’s and open discussions with the public. We use this information to learn more about the unique needs of the local culture and the value of the “library as place.” You may use the calculator above to communicate your value and to build an appreciation for all of the services the library provides to your community.