California must value librarians; libraries can’t run themselves
October 26, 2011|By Regina Powers
California does not value librarians.
As of last year, 3,432 full-time librarians served 37,253,956 Californians.... Here, there is one school librarian for every 5,965 students.
On school visits, I ask what students think a librarian does. The response is always the same. "Librarians check out books. They read a lot. They tell people to be quiet." When I told a friend that I was embarking on my graduate degree, he asked, "You need a master's degree in the Dewey Decimal System?"
With that attitude, who cares whether California has any librarians left? Why not replace us with phone trees, self-service checkout machines and volunteers?
But librarians are more than book finders, shelf arrangers, computer technicians and shush-ers. In a society overwhelmed by massive amounts of data, they are the ultimate gatekeepers and organizers of high-quality information... They guard historically relevant materials. They motivate and inspire readers. They add depth to teachers' curricula....Over the last decade, California librarians have adapted to overwhelming changes in the systems and quantities of information they provide. They did so with demoralized staff, dwindling funding and fickle legislative support.
Saving libraries but not librarians [Blowback]
November 3, 2011 By Dan Terzian
The Internet is replacing librarians. Or at least it should be...The digital revolution has made many librarians obsolete.
Historically, librarians exclusively provided many services: They organized information, guided others' research and advised community members. But now, librarians compete with the Internet and Google.
Unlike libraries, the Internet's information is not bound by walls; from blogs and books to journals and laws, the Internet has them all.
Even many college students' first -- and often last -- source for research is Google. Only after Googling fails would the students seek a librarian's guidance.... Libraries should embrace the digital revolution, …even though it entails the loss of librarians. The purpose of libraries -- the purpose of librarians -- is to spread knowledge. The growth of the Internet changes how we pursue this purpose. We no longer need librarians in the same way and in the same number as before. It's understandable why librarians bemoan this; nobody wants to see their profession fade into obscurity. but libraries do not serve the egos of librarians; they serve the people. And in the information age, serving the people requires evolving and innovating.