I really enjoy the RSA Animates series. This one from Sir Ken Robinson about changing education paradigms is particularly relevant to libraries. He speaks in part about divergent or lateral thinking, and of a study that showed that divergent thinking decreases with the level of education.
I wonder if this is in part a sign of the failure of libraries to support divergent thinking…Libraries (and museums for that matter) should provide a complement to formal and structured learning. A place to explore the informal, the unstructured and the lateral. I’ve met dozens of people who have told me that libraries and schools were their primary places for learning because they just couldn’t fit into the structure provided by school.
The downfall, of course, of changing our educational institutions to accommodate lateral thinking is that you loose the people who like and need the structure provided by the Enlightenment-inspired systems. Libraries and schools need to work together more to provide the opportunity for multiple styles of learning and learners.