Another Content Mausoleum Shutters its Doors

Borders goes under. News like this reinforces my belief that libraries don’t need to be renewed, they need to be transformed.

Speaking of Library Renewal, I admire the effort that they’ve made to market their organization but I think their goals are misguided. They’ve chosen to define libraries by something libraries are no longer good at:

Libraries either figure out new ways to be major players in a world where electronic content accounts for 85%–95% of content access (reading, research, music, and multimedia) or we become antiquated institutions that our local communities are less and less willing to support. [via]

Libraries don’t have flight this battle. Why should we attempt to replicate traditional lending libraries with new formats when we can look to the future and become more meaningful by helping solve our communities problems? There are some smart folks associated with Library Renewal and I wish their efforts were going not towards keeping libraries tied to an old way of operating, but rather creating something new.

Are you ready to let go of the past so that libraries can move forward?

3 thoughts on “Another Content Mausoleum Shutters its Doors”

  1. Hi Aaron,
    Interesting post, and we clearly seem to have some differing ideas and positions. However, whenever folks working on things at Library Renewal run into these ideas we certainly think and talk about them to be sure we believe we are still on the right track. We also often then try to engage, converse and understand more via the people or groups with the different ideas. We know may not end up agreeing on all points, but we will all being doing what we believe is the best to further vibrant, thriving libraries in a thoughtful, inclusive, realistic way.
    So to this end, we hope this conversation continues, and we will definitely be watching. Please know also that we also directly invite questions and comments from you or from any others, particularly via email a info *at sign* libraryrenewal.org.
    A final thought/idea: Perhaps debating this issue would be suited well to another post (possibly with shared authorship from both perspectives?), or a Q&A session or even a “Great Debate” session online or at a conference. If any of that interests you please drop us a line and we’ll work with you on getting something like that set up.
    Thanks again. I hope we get to talk soon.

    -Michael Porter @ Library Renewal

  2. It’s odd to read this post at the circulation desk at my “content mausoleum,” where, in between checking out innumerable items, I occasionally have a chance to read and comment on blog posts that seem to suggest what I’m doing isn’t going to be worthwhile in the future.

    I’m totally down with expanding libraries and what they’re about, but I think there will always be a place for libraries as collectors and lenders of content. Part of creation is inspiration: you need the past to create the future.

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