Kathy Schrock just sent me a link to a fine piece, Are Librarians Totally Obsolete?
which offers “33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important.” This comes on the heels of David’s recent post, “Who Needs ‘Em?”
And David’s post follows scores of other articles I read these past two years arguing my obsolescence. Somedays my Springfield, which is a very real place, appears a kind of Camelot. People here kinda like libraries and they believe they’ll be around for more than “one brief shining moment.”
I wonder why we aren’t saying the same about history or science or language arts teachers. Should we all be replaced by the Internet? Sure, all content may be available digitally somewhere–for free or for cost–but is that what teaching is about? Is that what learning is about?
On the other hand . . .
We all need to shift.
I regularly come in contact with colleagues who make me cringe. They tell me things like, “I’m not like you; I’m a book person.”
I’d like to think I’ve always been, and always will be, a book person. But a librarian must also lead in the area of information technologies, however chaotic the landscape.
A librarian must be able to craft and customize new landscapes. A librarian must lead in the areas of intellectual freedom and information ethics. In the areas of access to information, both physically and intellectually. A librarian must be able to lead the community in and model best strategies for finding, analyzing, and using the best available information for particular information tasks. A librarian must be able to facilitate and inspire creative communication of information in the most effective formats, and those formats continue to emerge and surprise.
If a librarian cannot lead his or her learning community, perhaps that librarian really is obsolete.