Discussion #2: Don’t forget about books

There was one quote in particular from our reading for the week that really stuck out to me, taken from Brian Kenney’s article, “Three ways publishers and libraries can work better together” (2016), it reads:


“What today’s library elite seems to forget is that reading is a maker activity–and a profound one. When a reader engages with a text, her own experiences interact with the narrative to create something entirely new. This makes reading so rewarding: we each create our own distinct version of the books we read.”


It was a refreshing step back (but not in the wrong direction!), reading Kenney’s words. I started my graduate classes, this time last year, and I can no longer keep up with the list of changes, ideas, improvements, and discussions that have revolved around the notion that the library is a constantly evolving organism. There are a great many changes happening within and to libraries. Kenney reminds us that, in the midst of new technologies, new services, new formats, new programs, and new collaborative ideas and creations that will get librarians and community members working together, we need to take a moment to appreciate and recognize the library services that are currently practiced. 

For me, personally, Kenney’s article has given me a reason to pause and reflect on the vision I have always associated with the library, as a place to read. My main reason for focusing on this quote was the last sentence, “we each create our own distinct version of the books we read.” The idea that a single book could have an endless amount of interpretation and meaning is completely fascinating. Taken a step further, books dictate the many ways we approach the world around us, the choices we make, the laws and ethics/morals we live by, every aspect of life is based off someone’s interpretation of information. Because of the popularity and longevity of books, can we also take a moment to consider how to get more people interacting with information this way? What are some things librarians can do to make reading more appealing to our community? Does the library provide any outlets for patrons to discuss these books with each other, to interact with the versions that others have created and to share our own insight?

Ever since I sat down in my Info-200 class and focused on information communities and the user experience, along with this new talk about maker spaces, all I have focused on were what new ideas and technologies I could integrate into the library’s services. I have always loved books, loved reading, but this idea of books still being an important part of the library had been pushed to the back burner. Focus must be on computers, databases, electronic resources, software for designing and creation, a louder library, the interactive catalogue, more open collaboration areas. I will stop there and just say how relieving it is for someone to remind us that books haven’t gone anywhere and don’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. 

Reference

Kenney, B. (2014). The user is (still) not broken. Retrieved from https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/libraries/article/60780-the-user-is-still-not-broken.html

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Adam,

    “What today’s library elite seems to forget is that reading is a maker activity–and a profound one. When a reader engages with a text, her own experiences interact with the narrative to create something entirely new. This makes reading so rewarding: we each create our own distinct version of the books we read.”

    This quote made me re-assess my reading experiences. I really never thought so deeply about the rewarding sensation of books. But I guess I did have a maker experience with my favorite books especially the ones from my childhood that I remember so fondly. That does make me appreciate what I read even more.
    I also agree with your sentiment on what sometimes feels like a whirlwind attempt at keeping up to date with all the new changes and advancements in libraries today. I honestly am amazed at how much progress is being made in libaries and library services world wide. We always think that we need to move on to the next best thing but perhaps there were some nice things about the services/programming content that we had before. I really liked reading this because it allows us to really think about how we progressed and what we did that worked.

    I think despite all of the changes going around, libraries will always remain that place of refuge where we can sit down and enjoy our favorite stories.

    It’s quite beautiful to see all the meanings we can pull out of the same work. I really enjoyed how reflective your blog posting was on this topic. I think this can inspire librarians to find new ways to promote books that can help bring people closer to developing their own stories and experiences.

    I too really appreciate that we have been discussing the importance of the user experience and it’s quite interesting indeed to see the focus of all of the innovations we have done so far. But, I’m still a softie for a paper copy book and also as a person who isn’t the best with technology so it’s good to know that books will always have a place both in the present and the future.

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