Tuesday, April 12, 2011

National Library Week - Reading 2.0: Reading in the 21st Century

Today, I have another great librarian who is all about learning and sharing technology. Give a warm welcome to Anita!

Reading 2.0: Reading in the 21st Century

Librarians love books. It’s probably in our DNA; it’s why most of us became librarians. And, as book lovers, some of us have been a little nervous for the past few years. See, we don’t like anything that threatens our sacred book. And we’ve definitely noticed a threat. A Godzilla-like one. It’s called the Internet. Maybe you’ve heard of it?

Some of us have responded by sticking our noses even further into our books, pretending nothing is wrong. Others live in fear of change. For years librarians have worried that, in a competition between books & technology, books will lose. See, if technology kind of seems like Godzilla, our books seem more like the little GEICO Gecko: witty, intellectual, but not much to worry about in a fight. But some of us aren’t quite so short sighted (maybe our eyesight hasn’t been quite so damaged by all that reading). We realized that technology, when used correctly, can expand the reading experience beyond the pages of a book. We began to ask ourselves: why does it have to be a competition? Why can’t Godzilla and the Gecko just be friends?

My colleague Amy Oberts and I have dubbed this a Reading 2.0 philosophy: using technology to enhance books, not eliminate them. Authors and publishers are starting to make this easy. Author blogs, book trailers, character tweets: they all use technology as a tool to get kids to read. And librarians are starting to get on board. We’re the ones who can take it one step further and use technology to promote books and libraries. When we use technology to appeal to young readers, we’re speaking their language. Librarians can create their own book trailers, tweets, playlists and QR codes to promote books. And, even more importantly, librarians can encourage readers to use those same tools to personalize their Reading 2.0 experiences.

With this in mind, Amy and I created the Reading 2.0 Wiki and the Reading 2.0 Blog to share our ideas with others. Some of our librarian friends were amazed: Godzilla and the Gecko holding hands? Could it really come to pass?

Not only is it possible, but the possibilities seem endless. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Happy National Library Week!

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  1. I love the idea of using technology to spread reading. Have subscribed to your blog through google reader to hopefully find out more

  2. I've never quite understood why people seemed bent on even trying to use advancing technology to eliminate books. For one thing, it certainly wasn't going to happen nearly as quickly as a lot of people thought. You can't just digitize all the world's libraries in a matter of years and then store all that information on a few servers. Even if that was the ultimate plan, it wouldn't go smoothly, lots of people would protest, and it would serve no purpose because on top of all the time, effort, and money you'd have to spend doing that, then you'd have to worry about how to destroy all the hardcopies you just digitized!

    Ebooks have done wonders to make reading a bit more accessible to many, and I agree with the idea of enhancing rather than eliminating. Honestly, I'm sure some people had the same knee-jerk reaction to audiobooks. "If we keep making audiobooks, then nobody will actually read anymore!" Except that people do, and audiobooks make it far easier for visually-impaired people to get access to literature without carting around gigantic tomes of Braille.

  3. very possitive take on the situation. I like all the extra interaction that technology adds to books, especially playlist. Nice guest post!


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