A while back I heard from my friend Franki at A Year of Reading that she was going to attend the School Library Journal Leadership Summit in Chicago. She thought I should too, so, along with our fellow Dublin librarian, Beth, we flew to Chicago for the two day event. Adventures were had by all, Beth and I hadn't flown in some time and it took all three of us to navigate the train from Midway to downtown, especially since Franki brought along a suitcase full of books for her next stop, a presentation in Hershey on Sunday.
The theme of the conference of this year was The Future of Reading, which is a little confusing since most of what we discussed is already here and we may already be behind. Such is the world of technology, by the time I make a decision on the direction I should take, I'm too late and the moment has passed me by.
The presenters each had between 15 and 20 minutes and a lot of information went into my brain, in fact, I had to get up and walk around several times to try to process some of the ideas that had my head spinning with questions. All in all it was a productive weekend, the second day better than the first, the three of us from Dublin decided we had enough to talk about and keep us busy for a while. What follows is a list of questions and observations from my days in Chicago.
- Should we really be investing much into eReaders like Kindles and Nooks, or are they just a transition that may be obsolete in a few years when something far better comes along?
- Would our students be better served if we went to more up to date data bases and electronic versions of non-fiction books?
- How does Franki keep track of all of that information on her iPad and iPhone and listen to the speakers!?
- It's interesting how defensive advocates of electronic books are when someone mentions that they really enjoy the feel and smell of an "old fashioned" bound paper book.
- It was interesting that the youngest among us, the high school student panel, had not switched over to the eReader yet and weren't sure it would serve their needs. A couple even mentioned that they liked the feel of an "old fashioned" bound paper book.
- I agree with illustrator Paul Zelinsky that there is something about the art of a picture book that will be lost if the whole thing goes electronic. I also agree with Paul Zelinsky when he thinks that physically turning the pages of a picture book is part of the experience that young readers like.
- Finally, being with a bunch of librarians in a room for two days is an interesting experience...'nuff said!