Librarians are amazing! What a profession! To think that librarians have evolved from reading advisers to the multi-tasking, technologically savvy, information gurus of today. One thing is certain, librarians have learned to change with the times-we will never be an endangered species. Of course this is not surprising considering the fact that librarians enjoy knowledge. We enjoy the pursuit and sharing of knowledge and information. Since there is an unending supply of knowledge and an unending supply of those who need help locating knowledge and information our labors will never cease.
The reference librarian has evolved from a provider of ready reference to a tour guide into the wonderful worlds of electronic access. Along with technology skills we have also honed our people skills in an effort to help the patron verbalize their information needs. Our people skills and general knowledge base allow us to serve patrons and people groups of all race, color, creed and levels of education or personal hygiene. We help patrons without regard to their abilities or disabilities. We are paragons of virtue, never shirking our duty to appear neutral no matter the nature of the subject matter under discussion. It is not surprising we strive to clothe ourselves in neutrality. We endeavor not to regulate or restrict access to books and information but to be impartial guides to the wonderful world of information in all formats.
Librarians are also psychic. We strive to build a collection that meets the needs of our patrons long before the needs manifest themselves. We must decide which formats are enduring and which should be abandoned. What happened to vertical files and CD-ROMs? So armed with review sources, professional recommendations, and guides we strive to predict the information needs of the future-today.
Librarians have embraced technology and the myriad ways it impacts our profession and information needs of our patrons. We embrace coding and web design to provide our patrons with appropriate interfaces for library websites and information. We investigate database design to facilitate information access. We explore digitization to help preserve the past and prepare for the future. When a librarian asks, “How may I help you?” This simple question is an open door to the world of information, with a librarian as your personal guide.
I work in a modern library. We offer books in print and in electronic format and have for years. And if it were a perfect world we could just circulate a variety of e-readers and every student could have access to textbooks, fun reads and research materials at the touch of an icon but… We live in a world of license and copyright issues. And let’s not forget economics. Many of our students do not even have the financial resources to own a computer with Internet access. Consider yourself blessed if you can afford electronic gadgets. Librarians have evolved; in fact we have stayed ahead of the curve by planning for future technologies. While you enjoy your eReader, librarians are discussing ways to preserve electronic information for the future and working to make sure we make new technologies accessible to our patrons. We also work to make sure we don’t lose access to the knowledge of our past found in print and earlier technologies. So go ahead and enjoy your Kindle, Ipad, Nook or other gadget and remember as far as future technologies and information needs go-librarians have your back. Librarians are indeed amazing!