ABSTRACT

Digital communications have now settled with a degree of familiarity in school libraries, but the location and arrangement of computers in library spaces often appear as a new communications “overlay,” subject to the same long-standing, print-based assumptions that have governed traditional library spaces. I make this observation because I believe it is important to note how established cultural assumptions continue to regulate both professional and spatial conventions in the school library, despite more than a decade of integrating digital communications technologies and online information services. Note, for example, how the propensity for locating computers in “information” areas rather than “reading” areas mirrors persistent, 19th-century patterns for organizing knowledge and texts (e.g., “fact” and “fi ction” bays). Recall, as well, how the spatial confi guration of computers in school libraries satisfi es the supervisory desire for unobstructed observation of monitor screens, realizing long-standing school library preoccupations with discipline and surveillance. These examples show the ongoing infl uence of print literate values and judgments on professional library practice. They confi rm the enduring agency

of established cultural assumptions, whose strength continues to mediate professional perceptions about spatial relations and literacy experiences, and to overshadow recognition of new patterns for communications sociality.