In my last post I talked a lot about libraries, but not at all about librarians. That was a mistake. While I vehemently object to Godin’s flippant assertion that we need libraries “not at all,” I agree with him that librarians are more important than ever (though his suggestion that they teach students “how to use a soldering iron or take apart something with no user serviceable parts inside” is almost surreal). We need them to, in his words, “figure out creative ways to find and use data,” especially now that there is so much of it, and so much of it is suspect.
We ARE fighting for the future of the librarian as a producer, concierge, connector, teach[er] and impresario, but we know to do that we need books. We need the information contained in those books…
And she makes a great point about all this “free” information that apparently renders books obsolete. In fact, libraries pay for this information, and “The price of those databases is going up, not down.” I like Wikipedia a lot, but it is not and never will be a library.
The lesson here is that, if you want to know something about the future role of librarians, it’s best to ask librarians. Just be sure to wait until they’re done soldering.