[Library Media] The Second Age of Reason

Fawn Morgan fawnbmorgan at gmail.com
Wed Oct 1 09:10:53 MDT 2014

Love your ideas, Michelle! Anyone else?

On Wed, Oct 1, 2014 at 8:43 AM, Michelle Melville <
Michelle.Melville at slcschools.org> wrote:

> Thank you for bringing this discussion to the list serve.  I agree that
> serendipity searching can be a victim of online searching.  That being said
> as librarians we should not feel defeated by this obstacle, but challenged
> to create spaces (physical and online) that induce curiosity and surprise
> to a new way of thinking.
> One way is to avoid the "book warehouse" syndrome and be thoughtfully
> selective about collection development and how books are displayed on a
> shelf.  Personally I am looking at having every other shelf be angled for
> display to draw information seekers to areas they wouldn't normally seek
> out.  I am also looking at having my shelves be no more than 75% full for
> easier browsing.  My goal has always been to display as many books possible
> and I am exploring ways to increase that goal.  Also, we can look at
> putting inserts in the inside front cover of books to refer them to other
> books, as well as QR codes to refer them to online resources.
> In addition to improving access to books in the hope of keeping
> serendipity alive is to be cautious of self-censorship.  If the purpose of
> serendipity is that information seekers are going to stumble into ideas
> that challenge and expose them to dew ideas and ways of thinking, then a
> balanced collection free from bias has to be a conscious effort by the
> librarian.  My first introduction to consciously avoiding self-censorship
> came from an 2009 article in SLJ "A Dirty Little Secret: Self-Censorship"
> by Debra Lau Whelan (
> http://www.slj.com/2009/02/censorship/a-dirty-little-secret-self-censorship/#_
> ).
> Michelle Melville
> Library Technology Teacher
> West High School Librarian
> 241 North 300 West
> Salt Lake City, UT 84103
> 801-578-8500 x271
> -----Original Message-----
> From: library-media [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] On
> Behalf Of georgeweight at integrity.com
> Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:03 PM
> To: Fawn Morgan
> Cc: library-media at lists.uen.org
> Subject: Re: [Library Media] The Second Age of Reason
> My response may not have much to do with the ease of information access
> referred to in the quote, but fits one aspect of the "loss of serendipity"
> that technology has brought about.
> Since I retired, I've done a lot of substitute teaching. That gives me a
> lot of exposure to many students in different schools. Once in awhile, I'll
> ask the question: "Do you think there is any danger in us losing face to
> face communication because of cell phones, social media, texting, and the
> like?" Responses are surprising: students will often respond "Yes, there is
> real danger. But I for one still prefer face-to-face talking with my
> friends."
> Anyone see any parallel to the popularity of the published paper book as
> it holds its own to e-books? When I'm filling in for a librarian, hard copy
> is the preference with many students. This in spite of the fact that
> e-books can now be read page-by-page, turning as you go rather than
> scrolling like the earlier ones.
> Students still show up early in the morning to check out a book, and I
> can't leave as soon as I can in some other classes because there's a line
> after school wanting a book.
> I'll read books the e-way if they're public domain, free, and easily
> accessible--but I still pull one off the shelves when a prep period comes
> around and I can relax in a soft chair.
> > The September 8-15 issue of Time Magazine has in it an article, "The
> > Answers Issue," a section of which is titled* The Second Age of Reason:
> > Information Overload Will Improve Our Lives*. It describes our current
> > age as not the Information Age, but the Age of Answers or the Second
> > Age of Reason.
> >
> > Do you agree with the following quote? I have long been a proponent of
> > finding the best information by whatever method or source necessary.
> > Serendipity is a search no one takes the time to do anymore, though.
> > Browsing? Fat chance! Take the first item on the results hit list and
> > move on is more likely.
> >
> > *"If there's a cost to the age of answers, it's probably our loss of
> > serendipity. We've honed our daily news feeds to send us stuff that
> > already interests us, so we're less likely to stumble upon a quirky
> > story on page B-13. We gravitate toward online cocoons of like-minded
> > people who don't challenge our assumptions. Optimizing isn't always
> > optimal. *
> >
> > *"But for the most part, answers are good to know. You just have to
> > ask the right questions." *
> >
> > An argument for our Utah Library Media Core Standards if I've ever
> > heard one...
> >
> > Fawn
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