The Roku digitial video player, an AppleTV-like device that allows for easy streaming of NetFlix content to a TV, now supports streaming from Amazon’s Video on Demand. It costs $100.
Some people passionately disagreed with me in the comments on last week’s “libraries might not provide content in the future & it’s okay.” I remain unconvinced that it won’t be okay. An ideal future? Maybe not. The way we’d like to envision our future? No way. We’d love to be delivering content to people in convenient ways. A nevertheless viable and perhaps more meaningful future? Could be.
Of the comments questioning a future without digital library content there was only one real articulation of why such a future wouldn’t work.
Why would I want to go to a library to exchange thoughts and ideas about materials that I have found and (using the examples you have cited in the first six paragraphs) paid for outside of the library?
… I don’t need a library to do this this kind of thing.
It simply does not make sense to think that people who use the web for materials provision will then travel to the library to “share their experiences about those materials.”
My experiences with the hundreds of people I’ve hosted film discussion groups, book discussions, gaming events and tech training classes for tell a different story. Hearing about playing miniature golf and ninja tag in their library tells a different story. The restaurant on the top of OBA tells a different story.
While it is certainly true that people don’t *need* a library to do the above things, they still chose the library. So it makes perfect sense to me that people will congregate at the library even if there isn’t an eBook to check out. Even increasingly so if libraries concentrate on becoming excellent public spaces that help people navigate their personal content consumption and create stories. (And let’s be a bit real here. Like Nate Hill said in his comment, this isn’t likely going to be an all or nothing situation.)
There’s another take on why people might increasingly use public spaces instead of private ones. They might not have a choice. In a Kunstler-esque future everyone will be forced to go back to using local public spaces because there won’t be a Starbucks on the corner in which to gather. Libraries are sustainable in this sense.
One more thing. In a comment Tony Tallent wrote:
Libraries–in all formats including electronic, can be a place where we ‘do’ not simply talk about what we did from home.
I agree and if it’s okay with him I think one of my new mottos will be: Libraries are places of doing.