Using flash cards with various nouns presented as metaphors, participants worked in small groups to create an associated description and distinctive attributes of each metaphor, translating that description to the Library as a place, with services, and/or its value. Then, the groups came together and decided upon the attributes they felt built the best hypothetical future Pierce County Library System.
The groups built the following future Libraries: The Bridge, Unlimited Possibilities, Home with a View, “I” Learning, and Electronic Garden of Knowledge. The reoccurring themes in these future libraries included gathering place, learning place, and fun place. Participants also noted that the future library would be a refuge playing a key role for individuals who are isolated from social interactions due to 24/7 online technology.
The Bridge: Using “Facebook” as one of its metaphors this group described a future library that had the ability to connect everyone. It would embrace future technology, but at the same time recognize the value of people as individuals with a need to stay connected in person and online. This library supports the community and is a one-stop shopping, affordable, happening place, which supports the community. This library emphasizes retaining history, while making a library something for everyone from birth to death.
Unlimited Possibilities: Using the metaphor “Puget Sound” for place this group described a future library that is beautiful and intertwined with the community. The library’s services are friendly, interactive, and free. Roving reporters capture what people are reading and they put those clips on YouTube. The library is a learning place and a leader in early learning, equalizer for all people, and works in partnership with many organizations to expand its resources.
Home With a View: This group selected “Mt. Rainier” as their metaphor of place and continued the theme of the future library being beautiful, but also strong; a destination structure and icon; and a treasure of the community. The future library would both be historically significant and sustainable to last the test of generations. The services in this library would include leading technology with customized Google databases. As a gathering place with multiple services, the library’s services would expand to include recreation. People would enjoy coffee in a great atmosphere.
“I” Learning: (Information Learning.) This group selected “Pierce College” and added “Contracting” as its metaphor of place for their future library. This library is also a learning place where people come together, and to fill-in where schools cannot or have a void. The library would tie people globally. This group noted the downside for humans of the isolation of 24/7 online technology and noted the library would be the place where people would gather and do activities together.
Electronic Garden of Knowledge: This group selected “Public Schools” as its metaphor of place, and “Sustainable Farming” as its metaphor of value. It likened sustainable farming to the library being a garden of knowledge: being accessible and sustainable. It called for the library to take a role to eradicate illiteracy; literacy is a basic human need, as is food from a garden. The atmosphere at this future library is engaging, preserving culture and history, and at the same time being a fertile soil bed to grow knowledge.
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