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I just started reading John Palfrey and Urs Gasser’s Born Digital: Understanding the First Generation of Digital Natives (review to come).
It depresses me that I didn’t have to read any further than page 2 to hear libraries being slammed:
[Digital natives] study, work, write and interact with each other in ways that are very different from the ways you did growing up. They read blogs rather than newspapers. They often meet each other online before they meet in person. they probably don’t even know what a library card looks like; and if they do, they’ve probably never used it.
DAMN! OUCH! BLARG!
That hits right where it hurts. Granted, this book was written in 2008 (that’s TOTALLY ancient), and I don’t remember seeing either of the authors at CLA this year to see all the cool stuff lots of public libraries are doing for these digital natives. We’re working on it, guys!
I held regular teen craft nights in my branch where we made duct tape iPod protectors. We’re acquiring all sorts of eReaders in my current library to train the staff with so they know what to do when someone comes in and says “I can’t get this eBook to work!” We’re working on changing the minds of the more conservative librarians who think that all a library will ever need to provide for young people is books and storytimes. We’re facebooking, tweeting, blogging, chat referencing and tumblring. We’re LMFAOing. We’re pimping our iPhones right along with our bookcarts.
But we can’t compete with Amazon, iTunes, Google, B&N, The Pirate Bay or all sorts of other providers of digital entertainment when it comes to ease and convenience. Not yet. We need some of those digital natives to infiltrate the publishers to make it a little easier to lend digital content.
Page 8 says this:
Librarians, too, are reimagining their role: Instead of primarily organizing book titles in musty card catalogs and shelving the books in the stacks, they serve as guides to an increasingly variegated information environment.
Ok, they get points for the “increasingly variegated information environment” bit, but these dudes must be old. Card catalogues? Librarians shelving books? That’s just crazy talk.
I posted this question on facebook last night:
What kind of eReader does everyone have? do you do any reading on a multi-purpose device like an iPad, smart phone or jo schmo laptop?
In 21 hours I got 31 responses (and counting), all from people telling me how much they love their eReaders. Kindles, iPads, iPhones, Sony eReaders, Android phones, Playbook etc.
A few minutes later I posted this:
Does anyone use an eReader (ipad/pod/phone) with kids?
I got a response that said “I read an article that said parents use real books with kids because of the tactile effect.”
ONE person responded.
When I discussed this with a book-loving friend of mine, she said that eBooks for children sound vaguely unwholesome. Is this true?
We are very willing to consume eBooks ourselves, and play show and tell with our fancy gadgets, but we shut the party down when little Bobby pokes his head around the corner. Why?
eBooks for children: a brave new world. Let’s talk about it!