As libraries change from primarily circulating print-based materials to providing information in a variety of formats in both physical and virtual spaces, my quest has been to follow colleagues who strive to balance the rich heritage of the past with the rapidly evolving changes of digital culture.
I have used T. Scott Plutchak’s quote (click on the picture to enlarge) to end many presentations and slideshows on the topic of libraries and the information revolution. T. Scott continues to inspire me with a positive outlook on the future of civilization as we continue to value knowledge and literacy. Be sure to listen to the closing remarks in this video about librarians and publishers sharing common values. T. Scott says’ “This really is our Gutenberg moment.”
Plutchak, T. Scott. 2007. The Librarian: Fantastic Adventures in the Digital World. Serials, 20(2), 87-91. www.bigfoto.com
Where will my eyes stop for a moment to truly focus?
On what do I give my undivided attention?
Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying, “Time is money”; however, I propose a change in the old adage. How about, “Attention is money”?
Attention is valuable in the information age because we are bombarded with information in multiple formats. Instead of seeking out what to see or hear, information is knocking down our front door every day– each time we plug-in. And, today’s youth are always plugged-in. Most people under 30 years of age (and some older- how about you?) reach for a smart phone and access the virtual world before getting out of bed each morning. Or perhaps they put on Google goggles or whatever new app is available by the time I hit the “submit” button for this blog post.
Back in the glory days of the book, some of the quickest learners were admired for their speed reading abilities. Today, after the digital revolution, we scan through Internet pages while multitasking on our digital devices, focusing for only a number of seconds on most pages.
Now, after the Gutenberg parenthesis has closed, the quickest learners may not be those able to speed read, but those able to
s–l–o–w–d–o–w–n and truly focus deeply.
“We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.” ~ John Naisbitt
The quest for knowledge (and ultimately wisdom) requires perseverance, focus, and that now extremely valuable and rare element of attention.