leading libraries?

I’m very impressed with a many of the students in the LTA class I’m teaching. We had a wonderful discussion about technology in libraries that stemmed from our lesson on Virtual Reference.

I was impressed with one student who rightly tempered my enthusiasm with the mention of older library patrons probably not using things like VR or WiFi. Mention of the digital divide was natural after that. Forward thinking libraries work hard trying to accommodate all users.

Another student was interested in discussing the influence of libraries in a community. I stated in the conversation, just as I’ve written here, that commercial interests often familiarize technologies to people. Libraries must be ready to respond to patron demands after this happened. Of course I would really like to see libraries lead the way, but this is not currently happening. Librarians are, or should be, information experts, so it would be almost natural for a community to be guided by expert librarians. Any town that doesn’t have wireless in its coffee shops or eateries could be introduced to wireless by the library. Their perspecitive would be, “Oh, wow, look! The coffee shop has wireless now, but they’re charging for it!”

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