Infomancy n. 1.The field of magic related to the conjuring of information from the chaos of the universe. 2.The collection of terms, queries, and actions related to the retrieval of information from arcane sources.

Omar Wasow – Libraries in the Age of Google

October 27th, 2007 by infomancy

Omar Wasow is closing the AASL 2007 conference with a discussion of what we must do to thrive in the age of Google/Amazon/Whatever. We cannot beat these companies, but we can succeed by remaining focused on our core values. School libraries are about critical thinking and information fluency – these are the critical tools for success. Libraries also provide a space, a place for reflection and a slower pace.

Omar did his homework preparing for this talk, and was able to take us through a quick tour of some of the turmoil and challenges libraries are facing. From the Wyoming Mudflap flap to questions about what libraries do for users, he acknowledged that this is a pivotal time for libraries.

What can libraries do? Become a transformation. Be a transformed place (a place to connect or disconnect) and also be a transformed information experience. Libraries can help. Book: The Experience Economy – B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore.
There are five stages of economy, shown here in terms of coffee:
Commodity – a sack of coffee beans
Product – a can of Folgers
Service – a cup of coffee at a diner
Experience – a custom brewed cup at a local shop
Transformation – a coffee tasting class

So Wasow suggests that libraries can transcend to become a transformational experience for information. [I have been pushing the past two years to create Fish4Info as an experience, now I have a new goal to work towards!!!]

In closing, libraries can be a “public park for your brain.”

2 Responses to “Omar Wasow – Libraries in the Age of Google”

  1. steven bell Says:

    If you like what this speaker had to say check out this post


    at Designing Better Libraries

    I don’t know Wasow but it sounds like he’s doing a presentation similar to ones I’ve been doing for about the last 18 months. I’ll have to find out more about him.

  2. Christopher Harris Says:

    Wow, great posts. Thank you for sharing them. That is very much like what Omar was talking about. I love your discussion of the stages of economy in libraries. I am preparing for a keynote in a bit over a week, and I was just thinking yesterday (on the long flight home) about the whole Google thing.

    The way I see it, the Internet is a commodity, link lists or directories are a product, search engines are a service, but libraries can transcend to fill the gap for an internet experience and transformation. Since we are all teachers (even those public/academic/special librarians who forget) we are best suited for the creation of that transformational experience. The problem we face is making bibliographic instruction transformational instead of deadly boring.