Libraries Are Cool Again. Oh Really?

:: In today’s Edmonton Journal comes a column by Scott McKeen, titled: Civilization’s safe after all. Libraries are cool again. Um, er, well…duh. Those of us in the profession have a news flash for Mr McKeen – our hallowed halls of employment were never uncool. Dude. McKeen observes that when All Things Pop Culture exploded (in the 90s, I presume), such as computers (read: Internet), home theatre, big box bookstores, instant gratification, and so on, the prediction was people would stop frequenting libraries, and by extension, their services. I’ve been a librarian for 25 years, and don’t recall any particular point in time when my colleagues and I thought the sky was falling on our vocation and the buildings in which we work(ed). Read McKeen’s column, and one might conclude that it’s a modern miracle libraries didn’t collapse from within when the Internet and Napster and stadium seat theatres and Digimon and all these fast food thrills took hold of Planet Earth. Well, public libraries at least. In academic and college libraries, we’ve spent the last 10 years doing our best to help students understand why the Internet isn’t the Answer to Everything, and why their research and studies will take them to the library and its resources. *Cough*. (BTW, am I the only person who thinks the Edmonton Journal’s web site really, really sucks? Like, badly? Unfortunately, the EJ website is the mirror image of all newspapers in Canada owned by the National Post.)

In fairness to McKeen, he does sing the praises of (public) libraries, and notes that Alberta municipalities are lobbying our provincial government for higher library grants. Um, I won’t lose sleep waiting for that to happen very soon – increased library funding in Alberta could lead to a better educated populace. God forbid that might happen here.

:: Speaking of public libraries, this is such a cool idea, I wish someone in Canada would do it, too: The Third Annual New York Times Librarian Awards for public librarians across the United States. This year the awards have gone national in the USA.

:: An interesting “editorial observer” on William Gibson by Brent Staples in the 11 May 2003 NYTimes: A Prince of Cyberpunk Fiction Moves Into the Mainstream. (Note: ID and PW: podbay)

:: Have you been following the amazing success of Apple’s iTunes? The iTunes Music Store sold over 1,000,000 songs (@$0.99US a pop) in one week. Read Rebecca’s observations. Interestingly enough, hackers have already found a way to share the tunes among Macintosh owners.

4 Responses to “Libraries Are Cool Again. Oh Really?”

  1. Jena Says:

    Re suckage of the Edmonton Journal website: you’re not the only one who thinks so. My opinion? Like a Hoover. Like a Beam built-in.

  2. Zimmerman Says:

    Sharing and streaming aren’t quite the same anymore. Thanks to Napster and such, ‘sharing’ has some rather negative connotations. Streaming, on the other hand, is currently unsullied.

    Also, with the latest patch for iTunes 4, you can only stream to people on the same subnet. No more streaming to your work machine from home. 🙁

  3. Zimmerman Says:

    Sharing and streaming aren’t quite the same anymore. Thanks to Napster and such, ‘sharing’ has some rather negative connotations. Streaming, on the other hand, is currently unsullied.

    Also, with the latest patch for iTunes 4, you can only stream to people on the same subnet. No more streaming to your work machine from home. 🙁

  4. Zimmerman Says:

    Sharing and streaming aren’t quite the same anymore. Thanks to Napster and such, ‘sharing’ has some rather negative connotations. Streaming, on the other hand, is currently unsullied.

    Also, with the latest patch for iTunes 4, you can only stream to people on the same subnet. No more streaming to your work machine from home. 🙁

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