Archive for March, 2011

New Posts at the Georgia Library Media Association Blog

I’ve recently contributed a couple of new posts over at the GLMA Blog:

Thinking Ahead to National Poetry Month


Telling Your Library’s Story

I hope you’ll take time to check them out!

On Libraries, Cages, and Containers

When I was stranded in San Diego in January for the ALA Midwinter meeting, I took some time one morning to enjoy the weather and walk next to the bay.  One of the great parts of San Diego is the public art that seems to be everywhere, no doubt because the climate makes the outdoors so enjoyable.

I was walking along, looking touristy, snapping pictures, when I came upon a piece that captured my attention. Even after I walked on, I found myself thinking about it again and again.  In case the image isn’t clear, this piece is a sculpture of a bird cage. There is a tree growing through and outside of the cage, and the birds are all perched outside the cage on the leafy branches.

It seems to me that some of the big questions we have in librarianship are about the containers we’ve always relied upon. Two of these are particularly important: buildings and books.  As we become more mobile and content becomes more available through different means, books and buildings are more cages for the library than just containers.  Some of our work can be done in those cages, but so much of what we have to offer will flourish if we let the content grow beyond what the cages can hold.  We can’t allow the containers to define us anymore. Thinking beyond the container expands to ideas like embedded librarianship, mobile services, and more.

As I argued a while ago in a guest post on Buffy Hamilton’s Unquiet Librarian blog, libraries should be about freedom, not books or buildings or any particular physical container.  What’s caging you? Let’s push outward, grow upward, flourish.


Image:  “Liberation” by Brandon Roth, San Diego Public Art


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