Aaron Schmidt at Walking Paper has a thought-provoking post from Idaho's Evolving Library Services for Digital Natives conference. Part of the conference involved a panel of teens interviewed by Stephen Abram.
Their answers to his questions are in some cases what you'd expect. Others, I found surprising. I'd encourage you to read the whole thing, but here are a few tidbits I found particularly interesting. (By the way, Aaron channels e.e.cummings, and so doesn't capitalize. I chose to include the questions and answers in their original format.)
when did you visit a public/school library?
- really really long time/school often
couple months for big projects/constantly!
quite a while/don’t go in there much
couple weeks/not for a while
when i was 9/school year
when i need to get a study book or project, couple days ago/regularly
only been there once, a month in a half ago, didn’t have da vinci/for projects
winter/last day of school
do you have myspace, tell me about it
- 2 accounts, one real, one test, i talk to friends that way
don’t do it too much anymore, switching to facebook
don’t use it too much any more, i got over it
don’t have one, my friends do
trying to get it canceled
don’t have it, don’t get it
don’t have it, don’t get it
my parents hate it, think it is unsafe, won’t get it
don’t have it, made one up for fun
what would make you go the library!?
- group collaboration!
sweet computers, flatscreens - sexy!
plan ahead of time for research
talk and make noise
an area where you can have bigger groups
faster computers, way to find the books easier
easier way to find books
(boy thinks his library doesn’t have internet, window 98 is getting SLOW)
faster computers, easier to find books
would you go to the library if there was gaming?
- of course
my friends would, tons of people would
if it was closer
what would your space in the library be?
- barnes and noble, sit and read
bright colors, contemporary, sunken in floor
more colors, couches
music playing, headphones
What would be in the library?
magazines and books
game rental, play it there and take it home
big TV, game nights like the library
what would you need in a study space?
- 3-5 people, 2 computers or big monitor
2 computers, doing different things (multitasking)
yes (willing to pay!)
easier to drive,
never phoned the ref desk
we have this stuff. how should we let you know?
- something on the internet
how do you FEEL about the library?
- they are not so nice, eagle library is nice tho. depends
the library is a friendly place (the homeless scare me), i’ll get what i need
depends on library and librarian, for the most part, good
always willing to help
i don’t know enough to know
they are nice for the most part
they want to help
it is a friendly place
have a favorite search engine? do you have a strategy?
- dogpile, gives you the least amount to go through
google, spell correction
google, yahoo ads suck
google, the first i used
google, used it first, i’m learning how to use it well
So. They'd like better technology, a more comfortable and colorful space, and a place to work and play together. We can do all that, can't we? Remember, these are the folks who will be voting on that bonding bill in 10 years. Time now to endear the library to them!