30th May 2014 at 01:00
Every week, we bring you the most interesting discussion, debate and issues from around the web and around the world by focusing on the most popular educational hashtags on Twitter

Despite being a full 14 years into this century, the obsession with what "21st-century learners" want and need still permeates discussion at all levels - despite the fact that some 21st-century learners will be in their twenties by now and out of education altogether.

On a similar theme, a recent Twitter chat by librarians, held weekly under the hashtag #libchat, focused on the question "What does a 21st-century library look like?", which was presumably asked by someone who hasn't had time to visit one in the past decade and a half.

Librarians of all stripes took part in the chat, but many of the themes and issues that emerged will be familiar to school librarians everywhere. As you may have expected, technology dominated the discussion. @keribrary responded simply: "Power outlets. Lots of power outlets."

The changing nature of what libraries now offer was also under discussion. @lizgotauco suggested "open space, community gathering spots, accessibility to technology (and everything), engaging staff, excited patrons". @patoney echoed that sentiment, adding "crafts for all ages [and] a cafe".

The need for libraries to be flexible spaces was also highlighted by @nataliebinder, who said that they should ideally have "modular stuff. Furniture, shelves, tables that you can move."

Old notions of libraries as silent havens were dashed by @efontno, who asked for "space for noise and space for quiet". But there was also evidence that some traditional expectations of libraries were still in place, with @bildungsromans archly suggesting "perhaps we keep a few books around?"

And while the internet may be having an impact on how people browse for books - @bookletting suggested making displays "even more browser-friendly [with] lots of face-out books in the stacks" - @theleastshrew made the point that, even in this futuristic, 21st-century landscape, a personal touch is still needed: "The human element is more important than ever now that we have the internet in our pockets."

Sarah Cunnane

Keep up to date with the latest education chat online by following @tes on Twitter


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