quietly, slowly, tiptoeing–STOMP! (thoughts on PLA)

So it is time for me to expound on all that I’ve learned at the Public Library Association conference–the notes that I write out will go to my colleagues, my bosses, and the library board. I want to be succcinct but deep, witty and worldly, humble and…perfect.

Yes, I am caught in the perfection cycle. So since I can’t have any more coffee today (I’ve had two cups) and I have one more hour on the desk in Children’s, I’ll post some thoughts here, in the hopes that it will help me in finishing my report.

Besides, what is it that I so firmly applauded in the Web 2.0 session? “Throw out the culture of perfect.”

So a few thoughts about PLA. I loved it. From the long walk (with suitcases) from the Light Rail to the hotel, to the early morning breakfasts at the Holiday Inn, getting to hear John Wood (from the front row, thankyouverymuch), getting to hear some Web 2.0 gurus (Michael Stephens, Jan Maney (Pima County Public Library), and Jon Blyberg (Darien Library)), checking my coat (the best $2 I spent every day) and on and on…

I think what I came away with are some dichotomous (is that a word) thoughts: I adored the Web 2.0 session, but it didn’t address the percentage of homes in the U.S. that do not have Internet access (which in 2004 was 8.4, but that’s still a lot of people.) (I am a bad statistician, but here goes: 2007 U.S. population estimated at 3 hundred million. If the 8.4% figure holds, and I have no idea if the digital divide has gone up or down since 2004, that would be 25 million people with no home access to the Internet.) That’s a lot of people. That’s two times the amount of people that live in my state, Pennsylvania (based on 2006 figures.) That’s almost the 2006 population of Texas (23 million.)

So my two favorite sessions (Web 2.0 and John Wood’s opening address) live on the opposite sides of the railroad tracks. On the one side, we have a big house, where one person has a laptop, a cell phone, a PDA (maybe a cell phone that is a PDA), an iPod, and a subscription to NetFlix. They go to the library for tax forms. Then we have a smaller house, with a TV, DVD, radios, a cell phone (maybe a family plan) but no laptops, PDAs or cable. Maybe they have a computer. And maybe that computer has dial-up. But maybe not. They go to the library to print out their taxes.

Technology is great. Books are great. And I can’t put those ideas together without thinking but what about the folks that don’t have technology? What about the people that use technology so much that they don’t read books? In the author/illustrator lunch that I attended with Pat Mora and Raul Colon, Mr. Colon said he is grateful he grew up before X-Box–as an ashmatic child, he spent a lot of time out of school and a lot of time filling notebooks with pictures.

There are too many numbers to play around with. And I really want to be able to hit publish. So I’ll come back to this.


One response to “quietly, slowly, tiptoeing–STOMP! (thoughts on PLA)

  1. I came across your blog on Technorati. Nice site layout. I will stop by and read more soon.

    Mike Harmon

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