library as conversation and other metaphors

So I see a lot of people these days using the metaphor of library-as-conversation (most recently Dave Lankes, but seriously: librarian blogosphere, passim).

And let me be straightforward: I love this metaphor. I love it a lot. I love how it’s flexible enough to encompass all sorts of media types (most notably print and digital) without breaking. I love how it includes the human element which is one of libraries’ strongest selling points. I love how it positions libraries to engage with content in all phases of its lifecycle, not just consumption, and hence to engage with people who engage with content at all phases of that lifecycle.

But I’m also basically a curmudgeon, and when I feel too comfortable with something, or see an idea gaining widespread traction, my knee-jerk instinct is to question it. So I’d like to hear — what are your other favorite metaphors for libraries?

Or, heck, your least favorite. I’m flexible. Metaphors you hate are good here too. Or tell me why you hate library-as-conversation! I’m looking for other lenses, any other lenses, so as not to get stuck in this one.

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