Why do we have public libraries? Many of today's librarians like to talk about themselves as "information brokers" or "knowledge facilitators."
We talk about our skill in finding and organizing information. And sure, we’ve got those skills.
But what we really do is support literacy. This is our deeper mission.
Our patrons need help with every level of technology literacy. From those who come in who don’t know how to use a mouse, to those who’re interested in building a computer from scratch, the library could provide a wide range of resources for a wide diversity of people. We can help our community to practice and perfect our skill in understanding, using, and appreciating technology and digital content.
We’re kind-of getting there. We’ve got computers and the free internet for our patrons. We’re doing some classes and programs to help people develop their skills. And then of course we’ve got the maker movement.
It is in this context, of expanded literacy, that the maker fad starts to become something more important. Maker Spaces are totally hot right now. Everybody wants a 3D printer.
We’re in a bubble of bandwagonism. But after this settles down, I think we’ll be in a better place. It will be more accepted to support digital literacy, from helping patrons understand where the url bar is to helping patrons understand how to build an app, wire a circuit, or repair their PC. We won’t be so rabid about it, but we’ll have the foundations in place to really get down to work."