Thursday, February 9, 2012

Your Librarian Is Not Extinct

A friend posted the sign above on her facebook page this week. She is, in fact, an ex-librarian, so I'm sure she was delighted when she found it. 

Cute but also quite true. Think back to the days when your school or local public library was your main resource. The technical world has changed that dramatically. Think of all the resources we now have to find information via the internet. Search engines, the wikipedia site (which comes with mixed reviews)), content sites and more have horned in on the librarians' territory. Even so, the librarian has not become extinct. 

Before the techie age, we asked the librarian for help in finding information. I don't ever remember one of these patient people saying "I don't know."  Most of the time they did know where to look, and on the slim chance that they didn't, they soon found out. Yes, it is their job to help patrons, but most of them like being able to help others.

Even with all the technological advances, we still have libraries who still employ librarians. Their job is not quite the same as it was a hundred years ago. The tiny file drawers in the card catalog are gone. There was no Technology Room or computer stations in the childrens reading room in 1912. You didn't have a section for DVDs or music CDs or large print books. There was no such thing as inter-library loans. Most tasks were done by hand in the library of a century ago. 

We still need librarians to help us in finding information and using the equipment to find it. I like having a smiling face to turn to in my library when I am not sure where to look for something. 

Your librarian is not extinct. She/he is a twenty-first century personal search engine who serves patrons with a touch of human warmth that google will never be able to match. 

Maybe we should consider thanking our local librarians. It's easy to take a service for granted. We all like to be shown a bit of appreciation now and then. So,next time you go to your library, stop and say thanks. 

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