Stop Stealing Dreams, author, entrepreneur and change agent Seth Godin’s self-proclaimed “manifesto” on education, includes the blog entry on libraries which sparked much debate in the biblioblogosphere last year. Among Godin’s assertions:
The next library is a house for the librarian with the guts to invite kids in to teach them how to get better grades while doing less grunt work. And to teach them how to use a soldering iron or take apart something with no user-serviceable parts inside. And even to challenge them to teach classes on their passions, merely because it’s fun. This librarian takes responsibility or blame for any kid who manages to graduate from school without being a first-rate data shark.The next library is filled with so many Web terminals that there’s always at least one empty. And the people who run this library don’t view the combination of access to data and connections to peers as a sidelight—it’s the entire point.
Wouldn’t you want to live and work and pay taxes in a town that had a library like that? The vibe of the best Brooklyn coffee shop combined with a passionate raconteur of information? There are one thousand things that could be done in a place like this, all built around one mission: take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community, and create value.We need librarians more than we ever did. What we don’t need are mere clerks who guard dead paper. Librarians are too important to be a dwindling voice in our culture. For the right librarian, this is the chance of a lifetime.
Those comments on the future of the library, Godin says, were his most-retweeted blog entry ever.
Stop Stealing Dreams traces many of the hallmarks of our current system of common schooling to an outdated industrial model and also talks about both dwindling and expanding prospects within the field of higher education. He also challenges fear-mongering comparing American schoolchildren with Asian counterparts, asserting that those systems are in fact creating compliant industrial workers of the sort which won’t work well in the knowldge economy.
The text is available online in a number of ebook and electronic formats. It would make a great discussion for a teacher book club or professional learning community.