I spoke with five high school students, the future generation, about the future of libraries. Their responses surprised me, and reminded me of my own attachment to the “old ways” of doing things. Vinyl records, for instance. I love vinyl records, and would hate to see them disappear from the market, but do I ever buy them? The impulse to preserve tradition is a valuable thing–don’t mistake me–however, we adapt or fall behind. I am excited for the future of libraries because, to me, books are works of art which people will continue to make for many years after books cease to be the primary medium for text. I am even optimistic that, as e-books take the distribution load off of their analogue forbears, physical books will be respected, more consciously, for how great their physicality is, for how wonderful their texture, smell, and tactile interface. Perhaps, as the car did for the horse, e-books will elevate physical books in our social esteem to where I’ve always held them in my own estimation, to be cherished as they deserve.
Thank you so much to Debra, Mark, Kim, Germaine, Amber and Aat-ki for joining me. You are lovely guests, and I had a great time.