To Be, or Not to Be (Quiet)

Upon scanning this week’s assigned readings, several things stood out:

1. The Cluetrain Manifesto speaks in terms that excite my soul, and we’re talking about business here — that’s doubly exciting!  That the human, deep human/soul level could be engaged in conversation about business, well … seems phenomenal.

2. I had read the Unquiet Library article when it came out in the American Libraries ‘zine, and have been talking about it ever since.

3. The Hyperlinked Library continues to emerge in my mind as the natural path to improvement.

What stood out in my mind, though, each time I returned to this week’s readings, was the concept of the Unquiet Library, and its surprising effects upon some people who criticize it.  Having heard the term, the Unquiet Library (in several articles it seems) I had already been talking about it, and dropping its concept in conversations with others.  Within the small circle of people I regularly converse with, the majority of people were more than open to it – even were thankful to hear of it, with an “about time!” attitude.  A bit of shock, or ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look seemed to come over one couple I mentioned it to, they being of a loop not engaged in Web 2.0; but, where I was most shocked to take in the resistance was in the commentary following the American Libraries column referenced below.

Within the commentary, a gentleman named Ryan, who spoke of his view of libraries and his opposition to the Unquiet Library seemed to speak so outlandishly, in my initial opinion – as he spoke in definitive about what a library is “supposed” to be.  It seems that anytime subjects are spoken of in terms of definitives, it can be deemed as closed minded – and that this was!  The shock (pleased shock) I also felt was for the responses of the Unquiet Library advocates; there is nothing I enjoy more than witnessing a respectful, educated debate!  And yet, I am left to wonder how many more hold honest feelings akin to Ryan’s.

Upon rereading Ryan’s comment, and trying to overlook the charge of the definitive statements, I was able to imagine a surface below, wherein Ryan could have also said, “I like libraries just the way they are.  I do not want them to change.”  And so for Ryan, and all of his like-minded friends, I hope the message about the Unquiet Library will become balanced with further discussion of the Hyperlinked Library.

When reading through The Hyperlinked LIbrary White Paper, referenced below, I experienced my usual enthusiasm for this emergence, but this time (as a result of Ryan) had a new thought: there are people who do not want to collaborate.  Further, they just “want to be left alone.”  Or do they?  I’d like to imagine that they really don’t–that no human really wants to be antisocial–but that rather, protective coping mechanisms, and even lacking invitations to be social, are behind anyone being antisocial – and, that related perspectives like Ryan’s can be heard and understood to a certain degree.

Surely there can be a balance; all things are best in balance.  There can be the Quiet Library within the Unquiet Library, and visa versa.  There can be scheduling and there can be creative use of spaces so that there can be both.  What is undeniable, though, is that there is a call for the Unquiet Library, as it is what has already become.  And libraries are here to serve patron needs; it is that simple.  ;-)

Lastly (for now;-), it could very well be that this shift in libraries sets off a shift in humanity – in community and in human perspective.  It could very well be that these new opportunities to engage–to create and to share–could positively change the lives of so many that it becomes a cultural phenomenon.  And that the hearts of those which would have otherwise remained closed could be opened, and connected.


This week’s readings:

The Hyperlinked Library White paper:

Cluetrain Manifesto Chapter 5: The Hyperlinked Organization

Evolving Role of the Library:

Hyperlinked School Library:

The Unquiet Library:

Things to Explore/Skim/Review:

DOK Library Annual Report 2010:

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2 thoughts on “To Be, or Not to Be (Quiet)

  1. I was a bit saddened by Ryan’s comments – especially the inclusion of Microsoft Word…there are so many other tools to create and share learning!

    Your last paragraph is well-written and speaks to the core of the model: the heart.

  2. The conversation with Ryan and those that responded to his claim really struck me as well. I was glad to see the well reasoned responses to his statement, and I hope that maybe they helped to soften his attitude a bit.

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