Dr Matt Finch tweeted a link to his interview with Connor Tomas O’Brien and Chris Cormack, Popcorn? Connor Tomas O’Brien and Chris Cormack on the battle for libraries’ future He originally promoted it as a discussion about e-books in libraries. Since I was intrigued by Eli Neiburger’s statement at #LIANZA13 – “ebooks are bullshit! This is the truth. They are a transitory format, they will only be here for a little while.” I was pretty interested to read the interview. (Eli made this statement in the context of advances in technology that disrupt what libraries think of as part of their traditional business. He suggested a way for libraries to think about their future was “Don’t transition…diversify.”) Then it moved into the question of “What do you think a public library should be doing in 2013?” Suddenly I’m watching Matt write eloquently about the plight of rural communities, and the concerns he has around equity of service for people who choose to live there. (There’s been a further discussion on Twitter and if anyone Storifys it, I’ll link it.)
In the #LIANZA13 Library future workshop (based on the #ALIAFutures workshops) we discussed the likelihood of people moving to urban centres. In New Zealand that may translate to suburban sprawl instead. (Imagine that – one big city from Whangarei to Hamilton!) We floated the idea that librarians may not work in a library but may rove the country running programmes that engage communities in their local-ness – what makes them unique? What is their heritage? etc.) Matt’s concerns for rural Australia are also applicable to rural New Zealand – what are we going to do about that NZ librarians/libraries?
Matt has also been asking questions about 3-D printers in libraries. “My 3D printer worry is simply this: libraries are spending a lot of time talking about this one gadget, which I don’t see communities crying out for.” He’s been given one answer by Baruk from Auckland Libraries. Baruk has been working on the Auckland Libraries Maker Space over the last few months. His final line “Thinking of 3D printers just as ‘tech’ is like thinking of a wheel as ‘a round thing’” really matches with what Nat Torkington was talking about in his #LIANZA13 keynote ‘When you see people who are doing things with tech, or their services “you don’t become like them by buying the artifacts. [there is] an ocean of possible artifacts and toys.“ What we don’t see is the pedagogy behind it which is how to understand how and why it’s being used.‘ (My emphasis.) It’s not the tech that’s important, it’s what your library believes its role is in providing that tech to its community.
I guess it’s also a good reminder to be aware of what the stories are that are being told about your library. Bill McNaught, National Librarian of the National Library, in his #LIANZA13 keynote said that he was was concerned about ‘The news stories that go out about lending new artifacts tell the wrong story. Anything that undermines the fact that we are in the knowledge business is really unhelpful.’
So, to that end, THIS is what Auckland is getting from a 3-D printer as part of a MakerSpace in its largest library. (Some of @feddabonn’s tweets from launch weekend)
And finally this one to sum up.