Are you in a library, or are you in a bookstore?
If you're doing that today, the answer is that you're in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, and you've just paid for a Nook ebook reader. The latest version of the Nook software includes a "Read In Store" feature. And the Nook seem to be selling pretty well. Over at the Thingology Blog, Tim Spalding wonders when the "Read In Store" functionality is going to migrate to libraries (he calls it the "Brigadoon Library", because the books vanish when you leave the building). A while back, I wondered whether something like it would work in a Starbucks.
Which raises a deeper question: what is a library, anyway?
A week or so ago, I was asked what I thought digital libraries would look like in five years. I answered with a question- "what will libraries look like in five years?" and started blabbering about "what is a digital library anyway?" What else could I do?
Here's what I wrote six years ago:
A digital library is "Any collection of digital resources managed with the primary goal of maximizing the collection's utility to a defined user community".Even if you remove the word "digital" from that, I think that still works.
That's not to say that having a Barnes and Noble Nook Cafe doesn't benefit a community, and it doesn't say that a non-profit won't try to maximize revenue in the interests of self preservation. But it does say that the essence of libraryness is rooted in the community that the library-like resource serves, and not in its collection of stuff.
our new Governor will sell off the libraries to Barnes and Noble.
I think I'll go get some carrot cake.