When I went to library school in 2001 I think we all believed librarians needed to morph into some sort of computer geek. We would be studying new systems and functioning as fleshy index operators. It was a good 5 years since the Net was settling into it’s then publicly accessible.. INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY. La. La. Laaa! La. La. La. Laaa!
Librarians were trying to be happy. Not at all muttering behind their hands… “Oh man. The internet! Why didn’t we think of that!”
In 10 years since my degree and 20 years since I started in libraries I do get bemused we have come full circle. After the 90’s obsession with getting out of closed bookstacks and getting people into the physical materials we are right back to locking knowledge away. The picture above has been my lens for library service for that past year and a half. Closed or open? Connected people? Or information zoo? Are we working with objects or are we working on access?
I again am looking for the direction of library work. What are we ‘supposed’ to do?
If you were cursed enough to have me assigned as your prof in library school you would have to endure this rant on what makes a real librarian. We are NOT computer geeks (tho’ those who are I value most highly) we are instead more often in the role of information tasters… I like to say.. like Casanova. If you did not know that Casanova was a librarian, well, he was. As youth passed him by the man ended his years as a personal librarian. Casanova worked for a frustrating, uninspiring Bohemian Duke; cautionary tale for librarianship right now. Who do we serve? People who know what they want? Casanova worked as a solo librarian, largely unconnected, toiling away in the employ of the privileged, meting out a sense of value to the wise or ill publications that drain us in an environment on information onslaught.