Thursday, February 26, 2009

the truth

Lexington Hacker (the good kind) Workshop

Exciting news!
A group of computer programmers and engineering students are working on starting a hacker workshop in downtown lexington. The sort of spaces exist in a lot of places, and bring together a lot of creative and intelligent people to do cool things with electronics and share them with the world. Stay tuned for more updates!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Patrick, you're what my friend Jim calls an 'early adopter of obsolete technologies.' "

I've always been a fan of tapes. When I was a little kid, I used to take my father's cassette recorder into the basement and make little stories, using sound effects from TV shows and records to complete my imaginary radio plays. And until about 4 years ago (when it seems like all my friend's stereo tape decks disappeared and were replaced by ipods), I was a prolific mixtape maker, filling notebooks with tracklistings and spending hours making cover art for 90-minute packages of sonic love.

In the last year or so, I have discovered that I am not alone in my love of cassettes. In fact, a whole underground culture of musicians exists, and it is growing bigger each day. Which makes sense - cassettes are super cheap, abundant, durable, reusable, and have a unique tonal warmth that digital media will never have. Same goes for tape recorders - try to see how much digital recording equipment you can dig up at any Salvation Army for $10!

So, what does this have to do with libraries? Well, any decently run public or school library probably has about a dozen or so machines like the one pictured above sitting in a storage closet collecting dust. Rather than just burying these useful devices in the analog cemetary, librarians should be finding new uses for them. For example, over the last few months I have been taking a tape deck to concerts and making recordings of all sorts of interesting and creative local bands, which I have been archiving on my music blog. Librarians could be doing the same thing for poetry readings, speeches, and any other sort of event with audio involved.

The point is, librarianship shouldn't just be about shelving books and the newest gadgets. The most important mission for libraries is to archive culture, particularly local cultures. So librarians - grab that dusty radioshack deck and a few Harlequin romance audiobooks that are being thrown out, and start making some tapes!