Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Social Networking in Libraries

I feel all too well aware how awful adults trying to 'get down with the kids' can seem - but I had some good teachers myself, and have spent some time teaching when I seemed to have some respect - so I don't want to generalize too much, too soon.

We (that's the royal 'we' meaning libraries) intend to look at social networking as part of our communications network. A lot of staff do already use (say) Facebook.

At the same time, I know a lot of people think libraries have no business intruding on young people's social spaces, like a school teacher or policeman (otherwise known as parents) at a party.

I guess the image of a library as something to do with 'school' and 'work' doesn't go away. For myself, I used to play truant and go to the library as a way of educating myself, and when poor and on the road I found libraries great places to hang out (admittedly as a loner). Now Cardiff Central Library (and some of the branches) offer free Wifi you can just bring your laptop, find a quiet corner, get a coffee from the machine, and chill out. That has a lot going for it. We don't insist you do 'sensible stuff' - or 'spend your time wisely'.The Invisibles - one of the best adult graphic novels – compare - Watchmen

We have as much entertainment available (graphic novels, music, film and art books, biographies of celebrities, etc) as educational. We have a wide range of magazines and stuff to browse (and unlike the newsagent we don't gruffly ask "are you going to buy that, or what?")

So I hope this blog contributes to humanizing the local library...just a little...

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