Monday, December 17, 2007

Group Project Rehash

For our group presentation we explored the idea of Library as place. I've been interested for a while now in how place effects our mental and physical well-being. Even more so in how little thought we often give to these effects, how unconscious we are of them. One of the best definitions of place we ran across came from the book, Library As Place, where Kathleen McCook defined what she called "Sense-of-Place" as "the sum total of all perceptions-aesthetic,emotional, historical,supernal--that a physical location, and the activities and emotional responses associated with that location, invoke in people."

Such subjective, highly emotional attachments to place fascinate me. Our group had originally flirted with the idea of making a video documentary exploring this in relation to libraries. I've long wanted somebody to more fully unpack that gem from the OCLC's "Perceptions of Libraries and Information Resources" report noting the intense nostalgia people feel for libraries, a nostalgia often associated with childhood. I wonder sometimes if the good-will most folks harbor for libraries draws from this deep well of nostalgia.

Making such a documentary, however, proved logistically difficult given our groups personal geography. Nicole and I lived on the North Side of Chicago, so we decided to team up and explore Harold Washington Library, the mothership of Chicago libraries and a building I've long had an adversarial relationship with. Nicole and I used PBwiki to brainstorm what we wanted to do.

The resulting video was perhaps a bit more freewheeling then I would have liked--but we had a lot of fun doing it and lot's of good discussion, some of which we were able to distill into the documentary.

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