Monday, March 24, 2008

Project Play: monkeys with typewriters

Our final assignment in our Library 2.0 curriculum is to watch and comment on a video of Seth Godin discussing curiosity. This one is easy, because I watched the video and posted it in this blog two months ago. But this assignment calls for a few more comments.

Godin lifts up: "a desire to understand, a desire to try, a desire to push whatever envelope you're interested in" and this is very much to the point of Project Play, to the point of why we need to keep pushing our own envelopes, and being curious about our users and ways to deliver our services.

The final point of the videographer is that curiosity is not something we can do, but something that comes from beyond our cleverness. I'd agree, curiosity is inherent: cats have it and so do us apes. Those of us who work in public libraries rely on curiosity to bring people into our doors. I think most children tend to have a natural curiosity -- if it's not trained out of them -- and that's part of the joy of working in library children's services.

Some people come to us merely for comfort and entertainment; there's nothing wrong with that. But some walk in the door wanting to learn, to understand, with a desire to make something better. We try to give them tools, such as literacy and access to information and ideas. We want to encourage curiosity; it behooves us to be curious as well, to keep trying to understand our users' changing needs and our own options to meet those needs.

What I love about Project Play is that it encourages us to develop our own natural curiosity and mess around with some technological toys and tools to think up -- and discuss -- new ways to deliver services. The world keeps changing: we need all our curiosity to keep learning and all the worthwhile tools we can find to keep our libraries changing with community needs.

Or in the words of Bob Dylan:
He not busy being born is busy dying
Even monkeys using typewriters might write the works of Shakespeare . . . library folk with 2.0 tools ought to be able to do some worthwhile things.

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