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Ask a 9th Grader What Our Library Should Be.

Here in the library we have a lot of experience with printed, visual, and electronic resources. We think we have as good an idea as anyone else about where future scholars will get their information. We think that digital resources will play an increasing role in scholarship and that is why we provide so many options from online journals and databases to e-books. But if we really want to know how things will change we need to look at the people who will be our patrons in a few years.

Right now there are students about to enter junior high and high school who are spending their time using discovery tools that the students who graduated last spring did not grow up with. None of our recent graduates had an iPhone or a Droid when they left grammar school. None of them were entertained on family road trips by playing with their tablet computers where text, images and videos are jumbled together and new content is available anywhere within range of a cell tower. (Their parents probably used printed road atlases or paper maps to plan their trips, not GPS systems.) And none of them learned to read on e-readers where the next story is just a click or two away.

Our future students will have done all these things, and they will have done them for years. For them the devices that used to be science fiction are normal. We’re getting ready to support the way they learn. So when you see changes in the library don’t worry. We are not giving up on the past, we are embracing the future.