Reading the Librairan 2.0 Manifesto was both an inspiring and frustrating read. Inspiring because it iterates goals that make me love my profession. I love outreach, I love working online and I love sharing new web 2.0 finds with peers and patrons. But frustating too because I was left wondering how we got to a point in our profession where some of the goals needed to be written. Take the following examples:
- I will not fear Google or related services, but rather will take advantage of these services to benefit users while also providing excellent library services that users need.
- I will let go of previous practices if there is a better way to do things now, even if these practices once seemed so great.
- I will recognize that the universe of information culture is changing fast and that libraries need to respond positively to these changes to provide resources and services that users need and want.
These are new goals for our profession!? We actually had to put in goals that state we need to be open to efficiency, convenience and we need to provide resources our patrons need and want? As public servants in information resources, it would almost seem as if these goals were a mandatory. And yet, I can also see why we needed to specify these goals; there are quite a few among our profession that need to be reminded.
But how did we get to this stage? Why do we have professional librarians who refuse to keep up with the professional and technological requirements? How did we reach a point where the patrons’ needs were less important than the traditional way of doing things? All along, the job of a reference librarian has been to find the information patrons need. We are in the business of connecting people to the information they require… so why care about the format that information is found in?
Although traditionalists’ argue the Internet is 90% junk, it was originally built as a means to convey information and expedite the communication process between people. Even among the copious amounts of junk found on the web, legitimate information has rooted itself firmly in cyberspace as well. For some reason or another some in our profession dismissed this technology as non-important, despite the visibly growing applications and use among our patrons. And because of this lackadaisical and rejective approach we are left with professionals so far behind the curve that waiting for retirement is as an easier path than training.
And so I grow frustrated when I read the goals and responsibilities of the 2.0 Librarian, it should’ve been part of our profession all along.