Thursday, April 14, 2011

Scrappers and hustlers: just what the library needs

This is the fourth post in a series celebrating National Library Week

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of librarianship is looking towards the future. Certainly no small feat, but librarians accomplish it in a manner of ways.

The most concrete example is youth and young adult librarianship. Supporting literacy at an early age is an essential aspect of making sure that we have healthy and successful communities in the future. I tip my hats to young adult librarians - I think the work they do is phenomenal and I don't think they often receive the credit they deserve. There are certainly some great future children librarians in my MLIS cohort, you can check out their blogs here and here and here.

I think librarians also look to the future by being on the pulse of tomorrow's evolution of information technology, understanding the importance of knowing how future patrons are going to consume and disseminate knowledge. It is a messy task, and not always well implemented. In many ways librarians were at first slow to embrace technological changes - but the newest generation of librarians will be sure not to repeat the same mistake.

I think the biggest task librarians have in front of us is making sure there even are libraries in the future. The infographic over at sums up the situation nicely.

I could go off on how we need effective advocacy, marketing, campaigning, blah blah blah blah. But we talk about that enough. While we are in a dire situation in terms of funding and support, I think the industry is going to be just fine: we have a new generation of library student who are already starting things off on the right foot.

Those of us who are a bit younger have been raised with technology that laid the ground work for the changes we are seeing today (The first time I went online was the third grade). We are used to change to the point that we embrace it. I've been using my google reader for a few years now, and it is starting to feel outdated. I'm ready for whatever is next.

And we are enrolled in Library and Information Science programs now, when things seem pretty bleak. We are graduating as scrappers. Knowing that we have to fight for the services, resources and money we want in our libraries. We're even fighting pretty hard just for jobs. We know how to hustle and we'll put these skills to use as we take over the industry.

To give it a really bad and cheesy science fiction analogy - we are the Fremen of Library Science. Raised in the harsh conditions of the desert planet Arakkis, we will be the ultimate fighters. Instead of fighting for control of the spice and thus control of the universe, we'll be figthing for universal access to information. Which is kind of the same thing, now that I think about it....

...bringing this blog back to reality, here are some of the library student's blogs that have raised my hope for the future:

...I know there are many more out there - what are the blogs/librarians you follow that are giving you hope for the future??

photo credit: New York Public Library, 1938, via The Commons

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