On January 17 I took part in the Reading Agency/Publishers Association conference at the rather lovely Canada Water Library in Southwark, where we discussed ways for libraries to embrace new technologies in order to take their support for readers online.
It was the final event of a project around digital skills sharing, and you can find more details at the Reading Agency website. I took part in a panel session, which was lots of fun.
I also gave the keynote talk at the start of the afternoon, which you can read here.
The Age of Electronics
We live in a society that is as dependent on access to and engagement with computers, digital data and fast networks as the one I grew up in was on electricity and the one before it on oil – although of course we still depend on both of them, and seem have added computers to the mix rather than replaced what went before.
I once got told off by the manager of the BBC’s Heritage Collections for publishing a photograph of Alistair Cooke’s typewriter in its display case on the second floor lobby of Bush House, home of the World Service.
It seemed that photography on BBC premises was not approved of, so I removed the image from Flickr as I didn’t want the people in charge of such things to stop exhibiting interesting artefacts because they were scared we might take photographs of them.
Fortunately things seem to have got a lot more relaxed since 2006, as the stream of BBC-related photos and videos on the world’s many social networks demonstrates.
Cooke’s typewriter fascinated me because it seemed to bring me close to the journalist himself, whose work I had long admired. It’s long gone from the lobby, but I was reminded of it earlier this month when I saw another important typewriter, one owned and used by T S Eliot during his years working at Faber & Faber.