Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Public Libraries As Civic Content Creators

My paper builds on Jeffrey Lyons revelatory article, The Library: A Distinct Local Voice. Well, revelatory to me, at least! Lyons wondered how libraries, in collaboration with their users/communities could use "technology to tap deeper into reservoirs of local knowledge within their communities." Libraries have always played a role in disseminating this kind of local information--whether it be through online community portholes or making traditional print resources readily available. The tapping deeper part comes with having libraries move beyond simply aggregating such locally based content and more aggressively working to create, market, dispense and archive it. And not just any content. My goal is more pedagogic.

1. Capitalizing on the momentum and new thinking paradigms ("radical change") being encouraged by the Library 2.0 movement, libraries have a unique opportunity to use the Internet and Web 2.0 technologies as a tool to produce locally based content.

2. By empowering and facilitating the creation of such community-based content, libraries can and must play a more active pedagogic role in working with Generation Y (or whatever you choose to call them) to teach them how to effectively use information communication technologies to effect positive change. My hope is that such a process would, among other things, nurture media literacy, foster unique collaborative opportunities, encourage lifelong learning and, perhaps most importantly, enhance civic engagement and strengthen democracy by effecting tangible public change.

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