Saturday, March 31, 2007

ACRL 2 -- librarians and technology

A recent theme in librarianship (recent as in 3 maybe 4 years) is this idea that everything is now different. A combination of digital technology and the so called Net Generation has changed our tradition role. At this point one is usually subjected to a hectoring tirade about how we have to keep up or die. It gets a bit exhausting after a while.

I was subjected to it today at a session called "Keeping Libraries in the Flow: Being Relevant in the World of Amazoogle." The trouble with this is that, like every other generation, this on is not monolithic. Rather than being all digital all the time I find that they are very selective about what technology they use and when. The other problem is the idea that librarians are not adapting to change and seeking new ways of doing things. Obviously this is not true. There are certainly Luddites and curmudgeons in the field but there are also quite forward thinking people and most -- of course -- are like the Net Generation: selective about what technology they use and when.

There were some interesting things that also seemed to be consensus positions:

  • The current model of the "just in case" reference desk is doomed.
  • As is the locally maintained catalog
  • Librarians must integrate themselves and their services and resources into the educational process.
  • Planning needs to speed up and improve.
It will be interesting to see if these come to pass.

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