The future of libraries — the subject of my latest column — has been on the minds of a few writers around the country lately. And no wonder: Last week was the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association, held right here in Seattle.
Seattle tends to turn up in the conversation.
The Atlantic zeroed in on grants the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced last week to libraries in the Northwest. The foundation is awarding several tech-based grants, but recognizing that the librarian could be the heart of the future library, many encourage good old-fashioned relationship building:
…One of the major investments the foundation is making this year is in a readers’ advisory program that will pair library patrons in Multnomah, Oregon, with librarians who will personally assist them with reading choices, building long-term relationships that will ideally transcend any technological innovations. It builds on a program at the Seattle Public Library in which readers submit answers to a short questionnaire to get advice from individual librarians on what they might want to read next. The new Oregon program will be designed as a model that librarians around the country can look to.
And here’s an idea I know some green thumbed Seattleites can get behind — a library that loans seeds as well as books. They’re trying it in Colorado. From NPR:
Here’s how it works: A library card gets you a packet of seeds. You then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds from the biggest and best, and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.
Thanks to Laurel Preston and Bill Schrier for the links!