Sunday, August 11, 2013

Neil Gaiman is a favorite author, although he writes faster than I can read, so I don't read everything he writes.  Here he addresses the Digital Minds Conference way back in April (I realize that I am way behind!) and talks about the future of books.  Many people have told me that they will never be comfortable with e-books and that curling up with a device doesn't have the same appeal as curling up with a good book.   

He doesn't see e-books "killing" reading any more than home mix-tapes and the internet have killed music.  But the world will change, and yesterday won't return. 

What does this mean for me in my little school library?  Most of my students will never have or value a "home library."  People will only keep a paper book when the object has a special meaning.  Meanwhile, the library will continue to be important, but not every book that I buy will be a paper book.  Already the encyclopedia is a dinosaur.  I can't see teaching students to locate outdated information through an arduous process, when I can teach them more easily to use the online versions of the encyclopedia.  I don't badmouth Wikipedia, but I do teach what it is.  Time moves on.   

Neil also talked about being a "dandelion;"  tossing out millions (or at least thousands) of seeds.  These seeds can be ideas, or trial balloons, and many of them will fail.  Some, however, will take root and surprise you.  So if I try things and they don't work out, I can imagine that I am just showing my students that one has to try many things to find the one that will be amazing.

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