Where are the Libraries of Tomorrow Going to be?

More Updating. Walter McGinnis doing a very nice job (i.e. much better) of keeping up with links to tributes:

Updates. More tributes to PR from people with far more insight than I have:

My first action on hearing about Paul’s death was to check his twitter account. Surely this was simply some social experiment he was conducting, extreme maybe, but probably with a profound point. Sadly, as the morning passes it seems that Paul Reynolds has indeed died.

Unlike many mourning his death today, I did not know Paul very well. We had crossed paths on occasion giving presentations. What always impressed was the depth of his thinking and the amount of work and research he put into forming his views and informing others. This effort seems to me to be a lost art in today’s world of easy find, easy flip on. He backed this up with passion in a time when passion is seen as a character flaw.

Recently I had hoped that we might see more of each other. We were both involved in Creative Commons Aotearoa New Zealand and I had seen him give yet another thoughtful, inspirational and uncompromising talk to educators at the 2010 Te Papa Ed Talks (sadly, Paul’s is not online).

One of the points he made in this talk was about how libraries were not just places where knowledge was shared, they were quiet spaces. Spaces without clutter and distraction in which it was possible to think and study deeply. He was making this point at a conference which was busy celebrating the impact of technology on education. Paul’s question for the audience was, “Where are the libraries of tomorrow going to be?”. Where will the thinkers and studiers find the quiet spaces they undoubtedly need?

I had chat with him a week or so after that talk. The place was the bridge that connects Wellington Civic Square to the waterfront. It was a beautiful evening but Paul had a cold, was tired and heading back to Auckland after giving his all once again. I stopped him to tell him how much I had enjoyed his talk at Ed Talks and we chatted about Creative Commons, ACTA, travelling between Auckland and Wellington and then said goodbye. It was a start.

I do not know whether Paul believes in an afterlife but I hope if he has found one it contains lots of quiet spaces, with books. As for his legacy, I think most of us have a lot of re-reading and catching up to do, his ideas and observations need time and space.