There are lots of books about the future. From classics like Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to modern books like Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Lois Lowry’s The Giver, authors have spent years imagining the world that awaits us. Needless to say, most of these portrayals are downright dystopic.
So it was with some trepidation that we announced the topic for this year’s essay contest—“My Future Library Will Look Like. . ..” Sponsored by the Andrew and Ernest J. Boch Memorial Fund, our essay contest had become quite the hit around town. Still we wondered if we were opening up a can of worms with this year’s prompt.
According to an article by Daniel W. Rasmus entitled Uncertainty and the Future of Libraries [Information Today, 2013 December], public libraries have changed tremendously since our childhood. Today we must consider “important issues that are likely to reshape our libraries.” As Rasmus states, some relevant questions for libraries are “How will we access information?,” “How will we represent books?” and “How do we find stuff?”
With the launch of our essay contest, we anticipated revelations into the world of our future library from Norwood residents as well. The participants didn’t let us down. As with any contest, it’s not an easy task to critique another’s work. We had over 15 judges who carefully read all of the submissions. While winners were selected from each group, winning ideas emerged from numerous entries.
Below you will find a sampling of the many voices who submitted, not just the winners. Their ideas were amazing, as you will see:
- Another helpful resource in my library is a wall of book reviews! People can look at this wall and read what other people thought about different books! ~Jessica Delli Carpini
- The first part of my library. . . has a gumball machine with tearjerkers and fiery red balls. It only costs $.25 and we have a bowl of quarters for you. ~Joey Demarais
- My future library looks like…kids enjoying their nearby library and kids looking forward to going every day. They would be excited and tempted to go all the time. ~Precious Nibigigwe
- While your kids are in the kids section you can get a free gourmet meal while getting a free massage. ~ Rosemarie Donovan
- My future library has many jobs available for young people who want to work at the library. These jobs are librarian, assistant librarian, mechanic, food court employee, and a cleaning maid. ~Abigail Menice
- Every corner would show a surprise. In my library I would have 50,000,000,000,000 to 100,000,000,000,000 books from all countries and continents also islands. ~Tiana Taylor
- In my future library, there will be books that are able to flip by themselves! ~Jake Francis
- My library is going to be a place of education but a place to have fun. Books can take you to journeys right at home or at the library. ~Sarah DaSilva
- There will be a nap time area where you can relax and take a nap on a comfortable queen bed. There will be a nurse station so if one of the old people are feeling sick they can go to the nurse’s station for help where you can be treated with pain relief medicines. ~Jasmine Samulonis
- My future library will look like a baseball diamond. ~Christopher DeAngelis
- My future library will have every book in the world! The books are built so when you open it up the words pop out so it’s kind of like a 3D book but it is still very easy to read. ~Jared Shea
- All the books will have holographic pictures that look real and will have speakers for the words. And will have robot and cyborg assistants at each desk. ~Thomas Harder
- …in the center of the room would be an elevator surrounded by a beautiful fish tank filled with bright colored fish. ~Aidan Murray
- My future library will have floating books….There’s a restaurant called “The Librarian” that I’m sure you will like. ~Carlos Pereyra
- My future library’s entrance looks like a lame broken down library but it’s really a top secret facility filled with tons of information that only the greatest spies can use. ~Dante Zaldivar
- You probably are asking “What is a reading hole?!” A reading hole is a large or small hole with a light that you read in. Only mine has an automatic coffee and hot chocolate maker, a book locator and auto books. This is what my future library would look like and I wish I could build it!” ~Maya Foley
- There is a teleporter to get any author (even dead) to sign your books. ~Christian Sales
- At my library people can donate books that I give away to the needy. ~Alyssa Lahaise
- When you go into the children’s area you can get on a roller coaster that goes through the whole library. ~Cecilia Venditti
- In my future library I would have a pool. I could make a waterproof book and read it in a raft and relax in it and read your book. ~Michael Koutrouba
- Also it has an arts and crafts room with piped in music, where you can decorate your library card with stickers. ~Lily King
- My library will have a section where kids can make their own book. ~Matthew Bolduc
- And bring your pets! It will also have a pet playhouse. There are dog toys and cat toys and play structures. ~Sydney McCue
- There will be a spa for the adults when their kids go and look for books. ~Erin Reen
- For both kids and adults, there will be a bunch of GPS devices to help find books. ~Daniel Sorensen
- The library will not be normal, it will be amazing. ~Ryan Fitzsimmons
- My Future Library will be called The Reef because it will be built in the ocean. ~Annie Sisk
- I think the library of the future would look like a rocket ship. The door would look like a giant book but it’s not a real book. The inside would have books on one side, Nooks, and Kindle Fires on another side. ~Thomas Frawley
- In the future when people go to the library they just have to scan your index finger and your act to make sure if you. ~Brooke Hartman
Which descriptions do you like best? Believe it or not, our library will be implementing a few of these ideas. Well, not the free slushies or roller coaster rides. Those are a stretch. However, we started our Staff Picks page on the library website http://norwoodlibrary.org/readers-page/new-and-not-so-new-books-recommended-by-staff/ There will also be an area devoted to reviews and comments on book titles by librarians. In addition the Children’s Department will host a “decorate your library card” event.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the winners names. Be sure to celebrate their inspiring essays on September 8th from 7-9 pm in the Simoni Room at our library:
- The winners from Group 1 (Grade 3-4) were Ellie Gregory (First Place), Ally Steeves (Second Place), Ethan Barrows (Third Place), Cameron Badger (Honorable Mention), Caroline Curran (Honorable Mention), and Sameera Kunaparaju (Honorable Mention).
- The winners from Group 2 (Grade 5-8) were Alyssa Lahaise (First Place), Jessica Delli Carpini (Second Place), Joseph Spadorcia (Third Place), Abigail Menice (Honorable Mention), Dante Zaldivar (Honorable Mention), and Erin Ryan (Honorable Mention).
- Finally, Group 3 (Grade 9-Adult) winners were Aryn Forman (First Place), Joseph Gallant (Second Place), Brian Mich (Third Place), and Jed Hickson (Honorable Mention).