Libraries as orouboros
Yesterday I had a fairly lengthy conversation with a friend regarding the traditional role of libraries versus their new one. He had a great deal of trouble resolving the idea of them as community centers with his own conception of them as repositories and research centers. So I began to think of ways to reconcile the two visions, and what I came up with is that the true purpose of libraries in my mind is to promote the creation of new works. I think that gets lost sometimes while we’re busy focusing on the shorter term goal of simply educating our patrons when we should consider what that education is used for.
Just stop and think about our business model. Our patrons, gain knowledge from our materials, create new materials based upon knowledge, and we then purchase those materials in turn and the cycle continues. Acting as a community center can only further this process. People gather and gain new experiences, no matter what they may be (the inciting subject of the conversation I had was the value of gaming in libraries), and go off and build upon those experiences. That is exactly the behavior we want to promote, and that being the case there is very little that falls outside of our mission statement should be, libraries are a place for generating new knowledge.