Tag Archives: future

Pam Sandlian Smith on What to Expect from Libraries in the 21st Century

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Author’s Impassioned Plea for Citizen Action on Libraries & Reading

The following are exerpts from an edited version of Neil Gaiman‘s lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14 at the Barbican in London. “Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming: A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens.”

Read the full text at The Guardian.

Neil Gaiman

“Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive…

“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant…

“And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed…

“…our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are. They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable…

“We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine….”

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Filed under Books, Authors & Illustrators, Education, Reading

The Book of the Future

By Grant Snider, Via: Tattered Cover

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The Resurgence of the Dystopian Novel: But Now it is for Teens

This infographic from Goodreads explores the resurgence of dystopian fiction and its shift to teen audiences. (Click twice for a good look.) Is this shift because George Orwell and Aldus Huxley weren’t really writing for teens? Or is there something particular about today’s teens’ future-vision that the dystopian novel has particular current appeal?

Eighty years ago, when Aldus Huxley wrote Brave New World, teenagers probably assumed their adult lives would be fairly similar to that of their parents, if they thought of the future in those terms at all. Teenagers now know that change comes so quickly that their future is unpredictable. Dystopian fiction explores possibilities often with a warning to citizens who blithely allow corruption to spread and eventually destroy.

Are teens learning? Are they motivated and empowered to prevent Orwellian or Westerfieldian societies from developing? Or are they fatalistic, with a live-for-today, live-it-up-cuz-the-future-will-suck attitudes. I hope it’s the former.

In the SLJ post,  Adventures in Dystopia, Marc Aronson observes, “The new has changed from a dream to a product — a product who [sic] shelf life is only as long as the next production cycle.” From the perspective of learning from the past, even the recent past, he writes,

” In some way we are so disconnected from history that the action, however reflective of our present, must be cast ahead. We don’t expect the past to tell us anything. The real is the imagined…”

Ted Alverez from Grist braved The Hunger Games premier to find out if, “…the dystopian appeal of the books and now movies draws strength from the young’uns’ acceptance of the climate-disaster-addled hellhole they are destined to inherit.” His results were interesting and entertaining, but inconclusive.

What are you seeing? Are the teens at your school or in your family thinking ahead with a global perspective?

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Ludite or Sage? Jonathan Franzen warns ebooks are corroding values

Jonathan Franzen at the Cartagena festival: 'All the real things are dying off.' Photograph: Stringer/Colombia/Reuters

For serious readers, Franzen said, “a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience”. “Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change,” he continued. “Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball. But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that. That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government.”

Read the rest of the article at The Guardian

Via Library Link of the Day

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Filed under eReaders in the School Library, Technology

Envisioning the Future of Technology

Domestic robots by 2026, (just in time for me to really need them), and skin-embedded computer screens by 2030. Michell Zappa of  Envisioning Technology has created this visualization to show his predictions of technological milestones through the next 28 years.

Click the image and then click it again to explore the future.

Via The Long Now Foundation blog

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Powering Down to Future Shock?

Paradise-Wireless illustration

Image Credit: the generous HikingArtist.com

In ” The Future of Books: A Dystopian Timeline”, John Biggs claims that by “2025…The book is, at best, an artifact and at worst a nuisance. Book collections won’t disappear – hold-outs will exist and a subset of readers will still print books – but generally all publishing will exist digitally.”

He writes “a little bit sci-fi” chronologizing the demise of the printed word. It’s a little bit scary and a large bit fascinating. I am no ludite: the cash flow challenge is the only thing that keeps me (and my library) from all the latest technology, but perhaps it was that Mr. Biggs used the terms dystopian and sci-fi that reading his list immediately made me think about possible futures.

I’m not expecting any apocalypse, but I am wondering why I am busting my butt restructuring my library when it will be completely passé before the new shelving wears out. And I have to ask the question: what if, in 2125 the lights go out? Current resources generating all the power we use to fuel the big techno machine are finite. Will we find a sustainable way to keep the servers humming and the batteries charged? Or will one hundred years of recorded history, thoughts and feelings simply disappear into the ether?

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