Godin: the NEXT Library

Not sure what’s gotten into Seth Godin lately. I probably shouldn’t be questioning his motivations and intentions, but here’s an award-winning author; the kind of guy that the young marketing dudes revere with the utmost of respect. With even his books Linchpin and Tribes influencing countless number of business executives and MBA schools, Godin turns a bit of a corner.
And now he’s winning friends over in the public sector, too…
First his succinct and highly agreeable post on why we need high schools last week and now…this?
Godin’s goes to bat for public libraries, and argues that THE NEXT LIBRARY has to much to offer in the twenty-first century and the age of the Kindle, social media, and the i-generation.

Here’s a couple of tidbits…

The librarian [of the next library] isn’t a clerk who happens to work at a library. A librarian is a data hound, a guide, a sherpa and a teacher. The librarian is the interface between reams of data and the untrained but motivated user. The need for librarians to adapt and maintain a role in media leadership has been an evolving one since the early 1990s, the dawn of the Internet. And many of my teacher-colleagues would, under Godin’s definition, qualify as a librarian.
The next library is a place, still. A place where people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together. Aided by a librarian who understands the Mesh, a librarian who can bring domain knowledge and people knowledge and access to information to bear. A librarian is a collaborator, and certainly none of us profess to be the giver of knowledge; we do offer ways to support individuals and leverage technology effectively.
The next library is a house for the librarian with the guts to invite kids in to teach them how to get better grades while doing less grunt work. And to teach them how to use a soldering iron or take apart something with no user serviceable parts inside. And even to challenge them to teach classes on their passions, merely because it’s fun. This librarian takes responsibility/blame for any kid who manages to graduate from school without being a first-rate data shark. It might be argued that librarians, as a whole, do follow their passions, but I think Godin’s right here: librarians, in many ways, have yet to really share and teach these passions with our students.
The next library is filled with so many web terminals there’s always at least one empty. And the people who run this library don’t view the combination of access to data and connections to peers as a sidelight–it’s the entire point. It should be a seamless transition from information medium to medium; skilled librarians appear to do this magically.

We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime. Amen. Spread the word! 

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