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Sunday, 6. September 2009

Against "Library 2.0"



"I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library", wrote Borges, expressing what is a literal truth for those of us who grew up with minimal access to libraries. During the school years, one of the most awaited period of time for me was the so called "library period" - a forty five to fifty minute gap in reality, where any kind of escape (I usually preferred histories and historical characters) was possible, and available between the covers of a book. And now years later, living in a different country, the first thing I do when visiting new cities is pay a visit to their public libraries - walking the fiction and poetry racks in a sufficient litmus test of whether a city and me will find each other agreeable.

But now we have Cassandra aka CNN singing praises of "Library 2.0", which from my understanding of it not a library at all. Instead it is a "digital learning center", a "community gathering center", a place with "conversational loops" (powered by Twitter and Facebook apparently - are great conversations haikus?), with all this goodness helmed by with-it "information specialists" (who apparently "wear tattoos, piercings and dress like they belong on the streets of Brooklyn instead of behind bookshelves" - oye CNN, why no skinny jeans? why no Converse shoes?)...

All of which just made me puke - so excuse me while I clean the mess.




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