Lorcan posted a video from JISC regarding the library of the future (a nice video – worth 9 minutes of your day, IMHO). One of the interviewees in the video mentions that she goes to the library to do research and to study because it is a more conducive environment for work than her room. This brought to mind again the idea of how our digital services can work coherently with our physical environment; in this case, I wonder if there is an opportunity for libraries to provide specific work areas where internet access is purposely restricted, the intent being that this would help a researcher, student, learner, etc. cut down on the opportunities for distraction and therefore provide a more supporting working environment. I am not suggesting that libraries restrict internet access as a whole; I am proposing that it would be interesting to see what sort of uptake rooms or areas set aside for ‘distraction-reduced’ internet access might have. I am also not talking about terminals that are used only for catalog access or the like – many libraries already have these. I am talking about setting up wireless (or wired) access so that in those pre-defined areas, only access to library-provisioned resources are available. Obviously, this would restrict internet search engine queries, which would work against research, but depending on where someone is in the research process, this might not be such a big issue.
I’d be interested in hearing what others might think of this concept – I should note that there are tools available for writers that already have a ‘reduced-distraction’ feature, such as WriteRoom.