“Are you a creation library or a collection library?” asked Lee Rainie, Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, in his keynote address at this year’s Internet Librarian conference. Immediately that question repeated in the echo chamber of Twitter feeds and timelines, mine included. This was the question of the conference. In the discussions of iPads, the pedagogy of play, transliteracy, and all things Google, this question distilled for me the essential idea in constructing a future for libraries.
Not long ago a student asked me if I was worried that my job was being taken over by the Internet and it was difficult not to make a reference to the movie Desk Set. Had I heard Lee Rainie speak before being asked I might have had a better response than a wry “no.” Libraries, and perhaps especially school libraries, have a great opportunity at this moment to move from the model of dispensary of information to the creation of the new. While research has always been in service of something else—writing a paper, doing a presentation, resolving an argument, the shifting sands of technology invite us to use the resources of the library to better understand and use technology.
Now that every UHS student carries the internet with them at all times on their iPads, my new task is how to get them to use the iPad to best understand, create with, and remix the world they are connected to. These changes are not happening in a vacuum, if you are reading this blog then you are probably experiencing similar changes in your school or library. I will do my best to document this transition from collection to creation throughout this iPad year.