|Reading Room of the Library of Congress|
|New York Public Library|
It didn't take long for some disagreements to arise over just what stories should be shared. While the great works of Western civilization certainly had merit, what many people actually wanted to read was more popular fiction. By collecting and sharing these stories, were libraries abdicating their responsibility toward improving society by educating citizens? Or were they meeting the needs of their public by providing stories that entertained and resonated with their lives?
In recent years, the debate over the role of libraries has intensified. It's all too common to hear people say libraries just aren't necessary any more as people can get their information and entertainment from the Internet. I would argue that libraries are still performing their role of collecting and sharing stories and are perhaps serving an even more important role.
|West Chester Public Library|
|Multnomah County Library|
Montana State Library and other libraries are working with pilot programs such as Makerspaces and Share Your Story as part of a continuing effort to move from a strictly expert - learner model to one of more collaborative and cooperative sharing. This move along with providing access to user generated content is producing some controversy in the library world from those who see the key role of librarians as gatekeepers of quality. And it also differs somewhat from the original role as keepers of the dominant culture's history and civilization. But it might encourage a resurgence of an even older tradition of story telling.
|Billings Public Library|
These works may not all join the ranks of great literature but they may be invaluable to future historians or descendants. Libraries are providing a service by enabling people to connect and create within their communities today by linking them with stories from the past. Hopefully, by helping people share their stories and collecting these, we will be facilitating the collecting and sharing of stories into the future as well.