The Future of Libraries

Warning: Soapbox Speech Follows

If you are a librarian or you like the way good diction flows of its own accord, you should be reading Library Dust by Michael McGrorty. Today, Michael posts about the backwards way that our profession works in terms of who we hire and how we change. He uses Jessamyn’s story as the launching point and then goes on to discuss why we spend more time contemplating if the Internet will make us obsolete without considering ways to harness the incredible power of it. He talks about the strange way the Library (as institution) rewards those who do not think out of the box, who are not creative, and who do not challenge our current way of conducting business. And it is a business. Any librarian that is under the impression that what we do is not business, needs to rethink some things. As a business, we should be looking for the newest ways to present our product, which is the dissemination and mining of good information, to our customers. We have a product that is free and useful. People should be clamoring for our services, but that is not always the case. Why? Because instead of finding new ways to use the newest technology, we spend time arguing about if the Internet makes us obsolete (only if we keep refusing to change) and being shocked when we elect a person, who obviously does not understand how technology can work for us, who then very publicly condemns the way a large portion of information is disseminated and the purveyors of that very valuable knowledge. Step up. Ask the hard questions. Learn about a new technology and then try to apply it to your library and your customers.

–Jane, refuses to lose the stars in her eyes and the fire in her heart