Libraries Help People Get Better Questions

Last week, I wrestled a bit with articulating what libraries contribute to the college, school or community to which they belong. As usual, I overgeneralized a bit, ramped up the enthusiasm and tossed in a double dash of hyperbole. That’s just how I roll. I had some really get conversations with people, librarians and not librarians, about those posts.

For me, everything comes back to curiosity. Libraries are places that should promote and reward curiosity. And so, the treat of the library as a knowledge place isn’t only about finding answers, it is about learning to ask the right kinds of questions. John Spencer writes about this in his recent post, “In Defense of Librarians“. He writes about his school age son, but his observations might apply to all librarians, I think. You should take a look.

Here’s the question for conversation: Should librarians be more about the questions or the answers? Which is more important? How does a library that values excellent questions look? What does a question-centered library do differently?

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