Friday, September 26, 2008

Who Are We?

I love thinking about the future. Partly, this is because I love not having to think about how far behind I am in what I should have done today . . . but partly I love it because it allows for that higher-level thinking. I love dreaming, basically. The Current Professional Terminology (CPT) for this is being a Visionary. Whether you call it visionary thinking, daydreaming, dreaming for real or just plain imagination, I love it!

So, when I was given (thanks, E!) tickets to Thomas Friedman lecture at OSU, I jumped at the chance. (Ok, no actual jumping was involved, but in my mind I was jumping) Talk about a visionary! Friedman wrote The World is Flat, which I've read and enjoyed and which really has some excellent point in it about the Global Economy and what the US or any country should be thinking about in terms of staying a legitimate "player" in the market.

What does this have to do with Library 2.0? Well, I'll tell you my version! I'd love it if you read his book and have some comments and shared them. Anyway, his new book is Hot, Flat and Crowded, and it's about how we need to consider Green Technologies (GT), alternate fuel sources, etc, and bring back a culture of innovation in the US if we're going to be able to keep up . . .again, with the Global Economy thing! (see here for a discussion on his website)

One point that really resonated with me and with what we've been talking about is the idea that 20 years from now the whole world will be completely different from what we know today. Now, don't be thinking Wall-E, but also don't discount the truths that are underneath that animated movie. We need to get our head around the concepts of GT and be innovative in finding ways to live w/o leaving such a gosh darn big carbon footprint!

So - hold on here - I'm almost to my point . . .

Government regulation is something that Friedman says will help with this problem, because, he says, we should be charging people a Carbon Tax - something to compensate the world (and whose bank accounts?) for the cost of producing, say, the lovely AC that is currently making my office 68 degrees. He also says that our governmental system (all hail the glorious Democracy!) is NOT good at dealing with long-term, multigenerational changes (this I totally agree with!).

Who is good at handling mulitgenerational change? Well, I would propose that Libraries sometimes are . . . and maybe should always be. Think about the longevity of our institution. Think about CML and how long some of us have been working here. You know, sometimes change is hard to deal with at CML because some of us have been here so long, our experience and our natural human tendancy to think "but we've always done it this way" is slowing down our ability to be maneuverable in the market. On the other hand, we could choose to embrace that longevity and harness it to perhaps create multigenerational change in our world.

This, my friends, is where my brain is today. I am thinking about how we can make a huge difference 20 years from now because of what we're doing today. We can live with a smaller carbon footprint, build our new buildings to be more efficient, AND (those of you who know me should have seen this coming) get all of our local parents to accept responsibility as their children's first teachers . . . and 20 years from now the Columbus School System will be thriving, our children will be out of poverty, the crime rate will be down, etc.

Ahh, it's getting me dizzy, up here on my soapbox.

As for Library 2.0 and the future of libraries I'm ready to jump on the Vision train. I see our library as being a catalyst for effecting real change in our community, through the Ready to Read program, through continuing to be a valuable center for lifelong learning and research, through being a promoter of innovation and through providing people of all socio-economic levels the same great service and opportunities to learn and to access information.


Helene said...

lots of good thoughts here. I'm ready to jump on the vision train too. Hope there's a seat available in your cabin to continue the conversation :)

Mary Lee said...

Off topic comment, sorry, but I see no other way to get ahold of you. If you're nimble and free this morning, come to the Beechwold NorthStar restaurant at 9:00, or meet us at Cover to Cover at 10:00ish. We'd love to meet you!!!!

Mary Lee said...

We *heart* your blog!

**5p34k1nt0ngu35** said...

All I got to say is "word!"