Funny how all the teens that Stephen Abram interviews seem to love books as much as computers.
"I shouldn't go to bookstores. Everything looks good. Even the one's with hardcovers still look good."
"A book only lasts me a day. I use the school library, but I can't remember when I last went to the public library."
"I can't pass up a bookstore."
"I use Amazon.com, check out the back and front of the cover and read a chapter."
"My public library is very organized: They separate the romance from the other books."
"I go to the library because its quiet, to get a encyclopedia, "
"In the school library at my senior high, everything is new, lots of computers, but the books are old, paperbacks that are yellowing. People don't go there for the books"
"I don't go very much to the public library because I go "overdue" way too often."
"The last time I went to the library, my mother made me go."
Listening to the babel about how these teens use technology and do research surpasses most of the workshops at library conferences in the early years. Let's face it. We can't teach this generation much about doing research on the Internet.
These teens are actively learning, actively playing everyday. Actively looking toward the future.
Talking about playing games and researching on the Internet, the conversation was really lively and interactive...the conversations about using the library seemed a bit patronizing. One of the participants even stumbled over the word: "microfiche" She was a library employee.
Perhaps the attendees of this panel aren't the ones we need to serve. Those that have to compete with this group might be our target audience.
Yet, despite their prowess in finding information and using it, they are still concerned about their future. They are not sure whether things will be better for them than their parents.
"The world may be getting worse."
How do they get their political information: Utube, comedy shows, etc. Dinner conversation usually isn't: "How about that Bush Mom?"
Among some of these best and the brightest from seemingly typical American families, who seem to embrace their computers, Amazon.com, bookstores, and gaming more than their libraries at this stage of their lives, there was a haunting statement: "I will vote when I'm older."
Librarian: And if there were no overdues? "We just won't return them. But they do like the idea of the "return one, then get one" policy of video stores.