For this week, I enjoyed Denning’s Do We Need Libraries, “The computer age is about the change in management mindset enabled by computerization.” I enjoyed his look into the wrong answers to the future of libraries, including “merely computerizing existing services.” For instance, AMH (automated materials handling) machines can be quite useful, but only to an extent. Most of this sort machines help check in and place items in correct bins for quicker sorting, the Seattle Public Library has a machine that actually puts the books directly onto the shelving carts.
While this is cool concept, when I spoke with one of the library staff, they explained that they don’t use that feature very much anymore, because the process took too long and it often broke down. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
I also enjoyed Aaron Schmidt’s Exploring Context, and his realization that he was the guy bathing in the library bathroom. He ponders the possibility of showers in the library for the group of people who would benefit from this, the homeless. While showers and libraries aren’t typically thought together to most people, he welcomes the challenged assumption and even mentions that a library in Helsinki has saunas. I thought this was interesting because in a previous project in another class, someone pitched the idea of showers in some of the San Jose libraries for these very reasons.