Blog Post

Physical Space and Digital Space at the Library

From realspace, a tumblr blog, comes a "rough conceptual idea for combining digital and physical space in a library":

A lot of my research—and thus a lot of what I spend so much of my time thinking about—has to do with the inescapable but frequently awkward ways that the seemingly material (books, bookmobiles, roads, library buildings, people, physical geography) and the seemingly immaterial (ideas, stories, shared culture, political geography, emotions) are in inextricable but not always identical.

So this concept, by Jessica Herron, is striking to me. It seems to insist, in a way I find incredibly valuable, on the importance of physical space to libraries (and to public culture in general), but it also offers new ideas for bringing digital information into that physical space—and letting the building itself communicate it.

Despite what the digital utopians of the past few decades would have us believe, all information, if humans interact with it, is in some way material; it travels and takes shape through physical infrastructures in physical space. Ignoring that, as a lot of dreamy writing about libraries has for quite a while, undermines important claims for the special role libraries can play in our lives.

Ideas like Herron’s, then, are very valuable—I hope to see more soon.

[from bookmobility]


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