Sunday, September 06, 2009

The changing library   posted by Razib @ 9/06/2009 01:38:00 AM

The future of libraries, with or without books:
The stereotypical library is dying -- and it's taking its shushing ladies, dank smell and endless shelves of books with it.

Books are being pushed aside for digital learning centers and gaming areas. "Loud rooms" that promote public discourse and group projects are taking over the bookish quiet. Hipster staffers who blog, chat on Twitter and care little about the Dewey Decimal System are edging out old-school librarians.

I like computers, but I have to admit that I really appreciated how underutilized libraries were by the bibliophobic public before circa 1995. With public computer terminals there are many more people who show up at public libraries. I don't have an issue with younger people, but there are always a large number of older creepy dudes who obviously don't have a computer at home and so show up to look at porn. Some libraries have even installed privacy screens. In college I remember there was one guy who would use the university library computers to load up on porn. He'd bring a stack of computer disks and copy images to them for several hours, and then leave. A friend, who had just come fresh off the boat from Singapore, referred to him in Queen's English as "the pornographer" ever after (we'd see him biking around town).