[Library Media] The Second Age of Reason

georgeweight at integrity.com georgeweight at integrity.com
Wed Oct 1 14:58:21 MDT 2014

Yes, Michelle has some good ideas. I think I mentioned earlier that when I
was Library Media Specialist at Juab Middle School, I shelved fiction
books intermittently with non-fiction (primarily because of a floor and
shelf space issue). It actually provided an unintended benefit, because
readers who were normally into fiction--while looking for that "good
book"--began checking out some of the non-fiction books that aroused their
curiosity. Michelle's display ideas, I think, would do much the same.

> 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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