AALL Keynote: Beyond Boundaries, a provocative address

July 14, 2014

AALL14Andrew Keen delivered the opening keynote. Mr. Keen is an internet entrepreneur and host of Techcrunch’s “Keen On” as well as a columnist for CNN and many other sources.

The topic of the keynote built upon the “Beyond Boundaries” theme of #AALL14, and how every time that we overcome a boundary we encounter new ones.  For instance, while the first printing press was a great advance, the full potential was not realized until literacy became widespread and industrial scale printing made books easy accessible for the masses.

Ken compared that to the rise of the Internet, initially it was primarily another publishing platform, a new medium but operating largely in the same way media had done so before.  But with the Web 2.0 revolution, the barrier between author and audience was largely removed, and not only could anyone access content, but they could also create and publish it.

What does this mean for libraries and librarians? Keen suggested that librarians would need to reinvent themselves, move beyond physical libraries and become curators of information and experts in information technology.

The #AALL14 Twitter conversation during the keynote agreed with some parts, disagreed with others, and thought others were old news.  A provocative address, the keynote generated considerable pushback both in the Q&A in the audience and on Twitter.

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