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Does The Future of Libraries – or Narrative Itself – Include Books?

Grier Carson

Monroe County Public Library director Grier Carson (Courtesy of the Monroe County Public Library)

A while back, I went to our local public library to learn about the teen space. It’s this section of the library where teens can check out books, sure, but they can also play video games, do crafts, and hang out. I met with Grier Carson, the director of the library, and while we talked, I realized he had quite a vision for the future of public libraries. According to Carson, public libraries are for bringing people in a community together in a free and open space. They’re also places that uphold the community’s free and open access to information. The mission means public library services are increasingly about access to digital resources, whether through computers at the library itself, or online services. It also means the library space is about far more than reading. It’s not just teens who can do more there. It’s a space for public meetings, performances, book clubs, cooking demonstrations, and more.

The question of whether libraries will have physical books in the future turns out to be a lot more complex than the rise of Google.

But I wanted to talk with Carson not just for his vision of libraries themselves. He also has big ideas about the future of narrative itself. We might not need books – or even movies – for that down the road either.

This conversation blew my mind a little. I hope it does the same for you.


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