Find the Future (by being trapped in a library all night)

Posted: 12/31/2011 by judgeduke1912 in Thoughts
Tags: , , , ,

How old will you be in 10 years? Mid to late 20s? Early 30s? What will you be doing in the world and, more importantly, what kind of world do you think it will be? What kind of world do you want it to be?

Our counterparts up at the New York Public Library decided that they wanted to know what kind of questions young adults have about the future, and then locked them inside the library all night until they answered those questions.

The result was a feat of collaboration that is both enticing and downright weird. It’s as important as it is pretentious – at the vanguard of both leadership and nerdiness.

On May 20, 2011, 500 teens and young adults flooded into the doors of the iconic New York Public Library to play a game called Find the Future, which you can now play online. The concept began with the identification of 100 objects (also called artifacts) that represent profound change in human culture. Participants searched through the library until they discovered each object, and then the real truth was revealed.

Each object came with its own story.

Each story carried within it a piece of wisdom, a stir of emotion, a question of humanity.

Each question of humanity invited participants to search within themselves for the answer.

More to the point, each of those objects served as inspiration for a new idea for a book – a book which was written and bound that very night. (It would be really great to read through the book, but I’m not sure how to get access to it without planning a road trip to Manhattan.)

For an insider’s viewpoint, give a read to Brian Fiore-Silfvast’s post where he describes what it was like to explore the library in the dead of night. You can also watch the video put together by the NYPL staff for an overview of the event.

I have such a love-hate reaction to this game.

I really love that the library is getting involved in its community and facilitating a way for people to come together and share ideas. I hate that this is such a foreign concept that they had to make it into a game for it to work. I love that the library is sharing its passion for learning from the past as we move into the future. I hate that it looks like no one used library resources to do any research (notice all the smart phones and laptops?). I love that this happened, but I hate that nothing seems to have come from it.

Was the library the best place for this to happen? Could it just as easily taken place in a museum? What did anyone learn from this experience? How will it benefit those who weren’t there?

Perhaps I should lock myself in a library overnight until I answer these questions for myself. 🙂

  1. Stephanie Liu says:

    what? this helps?

  2. emily lin says:

    does not tell us anything! boring!

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