Following from the assumption that public libraries will not be a main source of information content, and the their social role will be in the limelight in future, i give below some points of views:
The trust people have on the library is a very important component, people trust the library on a number of levels – with their personal information, other privacy issues, with the truthfulness of the information provided, the absence of secondary motives as opposed to the primary motive of social-good.
The library also comes across as a pedagogical institution; where the trends of open source content, creative exchange, collaboration are ushered into a funnel of ‘inter personal benefit”. The library is about the growth of people not books, or twitter or puppet theaters.
– I see the library as a ‘safe zone’, where people can experience and experiment with stuff they like before they are ready to face the ‘harsh world’! outside.
The feeling of “i can do whatever i want here, without getting hurt” seems like the feeling many children have in a library….. Giving rise to library visions like – freedom of expression, conscious evolution and social belongingness.
It brings an element of communal optimism, instilling in everyone the feeling that the future is going to be great.
It also looks at elevating the needy, by supporting them through training, exposure and inter personal exchange.
And the democratic nature of the library is inescapable. If the users decide they want more work spaces and less books – so be it!
There lies a very interesting inter-relationship, between the amount of freedom vs the security that they expect. In traditional society freedom was indirectly proportional to the security that people had, for example if there were security cameras all over your workplace you felt secure yet felt your freedom being curbed. In modern society this relationship is swapped with a set of ‘agreements’ – i will not be run over by a car when i am on the pedestrian side walk (spatial agreements), i will be able to take pictures of an exhibition if i dont use it for commercial purposes (legal agreements), the conversation with a stranger will be reciprocated if i am civil to him/her (social agreements). These agreements are signified by human mannerisms, rituals, dresses we wear, look of our cars, the feel of our buildings. The library has many such silient agreements with its users, most important is safety and freedom of expression as i mention belfore.
Also, interesting to ask is how do these agreements work in an digital domain. An recent example that comes to mind is chatroulette, where the interactions are one on one and there is no restrain to act sociable. And what might these silient mannerisms or platforms be for a prolonged social digital interaction. In this case the library acts as a perfect ‘third thing’ that forges this agreement.
They seem to be saying to the public – ” We are for the people and by the people, so better make it work. And lets have fun on the way!”.