Thursday, March 01, 2007

Power in the 21st Century Library

No, this is not some arcane discussion of Foucault, knowledge, and information services in the post-modern world. I really mean power. Regular readers (in the vain hope that there might be such people) will remember that I wrote some time ago about transforming the experience of entering the library. I am delighted to say that many of these ideas have been taken up by the administration. Facilities installed power outlets on the loggia in anticipation of the imminent arrival of furniture. The idea is that if you put rocking chairs and power in such a delightful location then students will begin to linger there, meet their friends, and use the wireless network. Well it seems two at least can't wait until the furniture arrives, simply adding power is enough.

Thus the issue of power. We used to think that what we needed to do when building a new library was put as many network jacks in as many places as we possibly could. We were wrong. Wireless has become ubiquitous, but battery power is still a precious resource. Have you noticed the cluster of salespeople around power outlets in airport waiting rooms, like zebra mussels around an warm water outlet? Well students exhibit the same behavior in libraries and other academic buildings. So my mantra (at least until someone develops a reasonable wireless power solution) is put power everywhere.

No comments: