Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Things could be worse

Posted by lpearle on 11 October 2009

The past few years at MPOW have been pretty stress-filled, thanks to the fire. Luckily, much of that has lessened but there are still some things that need to be resolved. One of them is the rebuilding of the old space – we’re getting close to the finish line, with progress evident on a daily basis. It seems so close I can almost see us in the new space!

Is it perfect? No. There are always compromises between form and functionality, between what the money-people want and the idea-people want. The Middle/Upper School Librarian and I are thinking of Next Steps; she attended the “Learning Commons as Physical Space” session at the SLJ Summit and I’ll attend the equivalent session at AASL next month. ‘Flipping’ our library to bring in more students and teachers, being more relevant to their academic lives and encouraging reading and learning for pleasure is at the forefront of our minds.

Through all this, I’m mindful of the mess at Cushing Academy (more here). MPOW is spending a lot of time and effort on a new space, confident that the library is a critical component to learning and the life of the school. Of course we’re thinking about the future, knowing that our multi-thousand volume Reference collection will never be as large again (thanks to databases that update the information faster and make it more accessible to students). We’re thinking about eBooks and how they’ll affect the collection.

Brian Kenney
, On Our Minds, Britannica, the leaders of AISL/AASL/ALA, the Sassy Librarian and Nicholas Basbanes have all responded to the news; all are more eloquent than I could ever be. The Annoyed Librarian’s comments about a similar (and much less drastic move) at Goucher College included this:

“If anything, librarians should be pleased that a president who thinks a renovated library would be merely a “renovated problem” would devote so much space in a student center to an actual library, with books and librarians and everything. Given the mistaken belief so many have that everything’s online and students don’t really need libraries, everyone should just be glad Goucher didn’t get rid of the library completely.”

Note: the mistaken belief.

No matter what the compromises are regarding the layout and look of my new space, MPOW‘s commitment to the library more than makes up for them.

(Unshelved seems pretty convinced that libraries’ll be around for a while, too)

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