Vast Active Library and Information Science blog. From a recent library science graduate in Wellington, New Zealand. A focus on reference and current awareness tools and issues, especially free, web-based resources.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Libraries in the digital future (LISNews)  
Blake Carver is a convert to the digital future:

" Society in general, and younger people in particular, are moving away from the printed word, our bread and butter for a century or two now, and away from libraries, for a number of reasons. Why should they care about or use print? They can't put it on their iPod. They can't put it on their laptop. And they can't view it on a screen. They get most of the answers they need from Google. This is the essence of my argument. If most people are able to "get served" elsewhere, why do they need a book, a library, or a librarian?

It doesn't matter if you think digital isn't as stable as print. It doesn't matter if you think it's impossible to read for extended periods of time on electronic media. It doesn't matter if you think Google isn't meeting their needs. And it certainly doesn't matter if you think books are more convenient. Some of those things may be true today, but none of them will be true in 10 years."

David Rothman at TeleRead endorses Blake's comments, unsurprisingly: "librarians can thrive–if they can make the transition. In part that means more familiarity with the technology, and in part it means a changing of roles, with less emphasis on the routine aspects of librarianship and more emphasis on librarians as content-creators and -evaluators."

Walt Crawford has seen it all before.