Our new house, will have a 4 metre x 4 metre library space. In it there will be ceiling to floor bookcases and spaces to store all the little nicnacs that we have collected during our life. Our reading space is peaceful, evokes harmony but at the same time can accommodate an interested child with a thirst for knowledge.
I still profess that reading is a physical act and for students, most require a tangible multi-modal experience when they read or learn. A sterile library environment provides no curious intent beyond the text. I can't count the amount of times that I have picked up a book purely because the front cover has sparked an interest. The mashable article on why printed books will never die, raises some interesting points.
One of the greatest pleasures is to stroll through a book shop serendipitously discovering new perspectives, stories or ideas. I fondly look back upon the time before kids when my hubby and I used to visit Readings in Carlton multiple times a week.
Second hand bookshops have another layer on top of them. The smell, the feel of a worn book in your hands. The name of the last owner written on the first page. Sometimes you are lucky and the last owner might have left something in the book as a reminder of who they were; .an old tram ticket, movie ticket or receipt.
Reading is such a physical act. If the story is good you relax, if there is suspense then you tense up and I have found myself many times rejoicing, laughing and crying at the end of a story. So the environment in which you read matters. Comfortable, cushions, temperature have to be just right.
So what if the world was void of stories and physical books?
This lovely 20 minute movie imagines a future where physical books have disappeared.
I own a Kindle, I love my Kindle (except the DRM part). Since getting my Kindle about a year ago I have never read so much as I do now. The speed at which I can download via Amazon a new book to read is mind blowing. I have found that I struggle with concentrating on a non-fiction read as I like to flip back and forth; check the index, look at the contents, compare chapters. A lot of what I read relates to either my teaching or study so I tend to like to highlight, mark, use post-it references. I have tried doing this in an electronic environment, but for me, it doesn't seem to work! My Kindle was initially bought to read academic papers when I was a the start of my degree and even though the technology worked well, reading academic papers didn't work for me. I still read off hardcopy with a pen, a highlighter, post-its and a good cup of coffee!!
But there is nothing to replace sitting down with a cup of tea and picking up a good book (physical or ebook). I recently rescued some books that we weeded from the library; poetry and short stories. The incidental way in which I came into possession of these books, ones that I might not normally look at, has fuelled another interest and set me off on another reading adventure.
What do you think?
Will bookshops die off?
Will eBooks take over the physical form of books?
How does this relate to our school library? People are willing to use the space if it offers them something unique, something that they can't get online. Atmosphere, enthusiasm, experiences. What feelings or emotions does our school library evoke when we walk through the front door?
Our Senior Library has a photocopier right next to the entrance. So you walk in and you are greeted with a grey giant that frequently has people making angry sounds in front of it. Where is the happiness in that?
But what if the entrance to your library held ideas, inspirations, give aways or opportunities? Just like a book store, your entrance should be inciting and should frequently change to keep people on their toes. What if we used costume to allude to the content of a book?
As part of the Teacher Librarian degree that I am doing, I wish that they had a unit on marketing and merchandising. Because it is not enough that you should "house resources", you need to create experiences for the students and teachers. Experiences to discover, learn and resolve frustrations. You need to understand what drives the human spirit to want to enter a space and engage with it. You need to create a dandelion ...