Rita Meade was asked to be a judge for a children’s essay contest on “The Library of the Future.” Children (from elementary to high school) were asked to describe how they envision libraries, changing evolving, and improving in the years to come. On her blog, Screwy Decimal, she described some of what the children said the library of the future would be like.
Many of the kids seem to be thinking along the same lines. According to them there will be lots of computers (one kid said 90,000), things will be flying or floating around and robot librarians will help people find things. One kid, perhaps yearning for space travel, thinks the library will be located in a spaceship. While another child, who has clearly had several overdue books, said “If you have a book that is out of date, it will warp back to the library.”
It appears the children see the library of the future as either a Jetson-esque version of floating/flying desks and people warping around or as a Borg/Skynet place with robot librarians and a “war of good robots vs bad robots” where the “good robots will be teamed up with all of humanity.”
Out of curiosity I asked my 8 year old son what he thought the library of the future would be like. At first he gave me a look that indicated he thought I had fallen off my rocker and asked, “Why, what do you mean?” Once he realized it wasn’t a trick question cleverly designed to get him to clean his room he told me his vision.
He said that there were would be robots helping librarians (whew… my son did not outsource my job to the machines) and that electrical books would hover in the air. Then the discussion and magic of imagining the future was over, cut short by his 4 year old brother seeking attention in the form of a wrestling match.
So often we librarians are always looking at the library of the future in practical terms it is kind of fun to step back and get the perspective of the younger users.