Thursday, November 17, 2011
I've been told for years that if you've nothing nice to say, you should keep your peace, but that strategy's not working for me anymore. In the last week, no fewer than three of the people I respect as leaders in my areas of interest have dismissed libraries, and by extension, librarians.
I've had it.
I am new to the field, but hardly new to careful choice. I picked library and information science deliberately, as the best possible course of study for myself and my interests
Libraries are changing. Exactly how may be unknown, though certainly there have been guesses, but gone are the days when libraries are on the fast track to obsolescence.
I'm stunned with the attitude I've encountered lately, namely "Why would you study libraries instead of something useful?" THERE IS NOTHING MORE USEFUL THAN INFORMATION SCIENCE, DAMNIT.
We live in an information-driven world, and the rise of social media and collaborative content ensures that we'll need professionals trained to handle the flood of information most of us can access without a second thought.
People ask bad questions. The "digital natives" that are supposed to effortlessly find, synthesize, and output information simply aren't very good at it. People don't know what information might actually help them. People don't understand that Google hasn't indexed everything--in fact, no search engine can!
Enter the new librarians. Practicing information scientists. Shock troops for the information age, we fling open the gates and help EVERYONE access, curate, and create information, regardless of who's asking. Staying as neutral as possible doesn't mean we can't take a stand, and I've finally hit the point where I'm ready to launch.
Who's coming with me?