I think Huey Lewis did a song about this

Geek culture, on and off, has been not just big, but cool.

Nikolai Tesla was head honcho with the ladies, as evidenced by this Kate Beaton cartoon.

Dorothy Parker, book geek, was as influential on her time’s culture as The Simpsons (itself a geeky homage to The Flinstones) has been for the last… how many years?

And so, here we are again. We, as old-timey geeks might have reserved views on them, but Jobs and Gates are megastars. The level of personal computation deemed necessary for day-to-day social functioning is on the rise, and we, the old timey geeks, who long ago sought libraries as a sometime refuge from the world, are suddenly finding to our suprise that at last we are the people to be, and are lucky enough to be working in the place to be.

Have you ever seen a relatively new library professional, who is creative, excited, extremely able… and at the same time rather buttoned down? That was me at one point, and I have seen others in the same boat. What’s going on there?

Chances are… they’re hiding their geekdom. And, even though I did the same, I’m here to ask: why?

Why, when the very reason we are good at what we do is because of our strange passions and enthusiasms? Hasn’t the soul that impulse buys that latest edition of Trivial Pursuit the right to be proud of her ability as a reference librarian? Hasn’t the soul that learnt HTML to make his Livejournal presentable earned the right to be proud of his work as a systems librarian? Hasn’t the soul who still reads Beatrix Potter a right to be proud of that one moment when a group of 40 children sit nestled in the palm of her hand?

Now, I’m not saying come to work dressed as Hermione… but why not, whilst you’re there, discuss some of your interests with those around you, even those you might think a dash outré. You learn more off others if you show them the generosity of letting them learn off you.

Up there, I mentioned the growth of personal computational capacity. If libraries 1.0 were about provision of public data storage, library 2.0 could perhaps be about the provision of public computational access. How can we translate that into practice? You tell me your ideas and I’ll tell you mine. But let’s start by celebrating who we are, and what we are bringing to the party – for it really is our party.

Here’s a geek song, that was number 1 in 1979.


About seanmurgatroyd
Library (Shared blog): http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Personal including infoculture, book reviews: http://diligentroom.wordpress.com/ Music: http://seanfishmusic.wordpress.com/ Last.fm band page: http://www.last.fm/music/Seanfish @seanfish

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