The question our team was to help answer was supposed to be: How can the MS/HS library program and facilities be improved to support student learning and achieve the ISB Vision for Learning?
But somehow it changed in a meeting with school officials this afternoon to: Does a school need a library when information can be accessed from the classroom using Internet connected laptops?
The new question is uncomfortable, messy, and incredibly important and not restricted by any means to one particular school. It is one to which all library people need a clear and compelling answer.
As a school librarian, this is an uncomfortable question. But it is one worth thinking about. What is the new vision for libraries with things changing so quickly. And he didn't give us an answer--instead he asked for others' thoughts.
In response to Doug Johnson's question about libraries, David Warlick responded on his blog. Such a smart answer. Warlick gives us a lot to think about. But the one part I keep coming back to is his ending:
In my classroom, I always tried for a coffee-shop feel. I believed that the feel of people gathering to chat about books with people they liked, to have smart discussions and to learn with friends was what I was going for. It helped me create the environment that I wanted. I have a similar vision for the library. But now, I have this new vision of a "Kinko's for Kids" to add to my coffee shop vision. I love Kinko's--like a playground of fun tools to help you create what you have in mind. And I love the idea of it even more than a coffee shop vision by itself. Can you imagine a Kinko's and a coffee shop coming together? A coffee-shop feel. But with all the tools you need right at your fingertips. A great place to get together with friends to think, talk, learn and create. I guess I always had creation in my vision but this "Kinko's for kids" idea gives me a better vision for what it is we might be trying to create.