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Have Librarians’ Value Diminished in the New Digital Age?


If you were to take your eyes off of your book for one minute, you’d notice what has happened around you. Technology is advancing at warp speed; it’s everywhere and owned by everyone. But are establishments that provide books to the public able to survive?

The answer is yes. The librarian’s value has not diminished with the forthcoming of the digital age. Libraries are adapting to these changing times, and becoming thought leaders in utilizing technology for research purposes.

Joseph Mills once lovingly wrote, “If librarians were honest, they would say, No one spends time here without being changed.” This remains true.

Times may be changing, but libraries are growing too.

Meghan Keates | Introduction

Around the Web:

Yale libraries adapt in digital age

Ishaan Srivastava | Yale Daily News | Twitter

Just above the entrance to Sterling Memorial Library, a stone engraving tells visitors that the library is “the heart of the University.” But over the last decade, Yale librarians have struggled to keep the libraries relevant in students’ lives given an explosion of Internet resources just a few clicks away.

“Historically, whatever barriers we threw up — the hours we were open, understanding our idiosyncratic language, understanding our catalogue — students would have to find a way to overcome them because we were the only guys in town,” said University Librarian Susan Gibbons. “Now we have to think about ourselves as being in competition with other information sources that we think aren’t always as good as ours.”

Gibbons is responsible for all Yale libraries apart from the Law School and residential college libraries, managing around 15 million electronic and print volumes across 15 separate sites. Gibbons oversees a roughly $70 million budget and 499 professional and support staff, according to the latest data from the 2014–15 academic year available from the Association of Research Libraries’ Library Investment Index.

But Gibbons’ current responsibilities would astonish University librarians who came before her, few of whom could imagine the role would one day include the physical maintenance of library facilities, allocating millions of dollars in library budgets, managing Yale’s roughly 800 separate electronic content licenses and preserving about a petabyte’s worth of data — that is, 1,024 terabytes, or 1 million gigabytes.

To read more visit Yale Daily News

How Libraries Save Lives

Maria Popova | Brain Pickings | Twitter

“Knowledge sets us free; art sets us free. A great library is freedom,” Ursula K. Le Guin wrote in contemplating the sacredness of public libraries. “If librarians were honest, they would say, No one spends time here without being changed,” Joseph Mills wrote in his ode to libraries. “You never know what troubled little girl needs a book,” Nikki Giovanni wrote in one of her poems celebrating libraries and librarians.

A beautiful testament to that emancipating, transformative power of public libraries comes from one such troubled little girl named Storm Reyes, who grew up in an impoverished Native American community, had her life profoundly changed, perhaps even saved, by a library bookmobile, and went on to become a librarian herself. She tells her story in this wonderful oral history animation by StoryCorps:

The piece was adapted from an essay in Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work (public library) — the collection of tender, touching, and deeply humane stories edited by StoryCorps founder Dave Isay that also gave us pioneering astronaut Ronald McNair, who perished in the Challenger disaster, remembered by his brother.

To read more visit Brain Pickings

Librarians check out the latest technology at conference

Baihly Warfield | WDIO Eyewitness News | Twitter

The Minnesota Library Association has been around since 1991, and it’s held an annual conference ever since. So it’s celebrating its 125th anniversary with this week’s conference at the DECC in Duluth.

“It’s interesting that as much as the world has changed, what librarians do – our goals – are essentially the same,” Margaret Stone, president of the Minnesota Library Association, said.

“We serve our communities. We make their lives better.”

Breakout sessions all day covered a wide range of topics like reaching homeless patrons, new fiction books, legislative processes, and data privacy. The latter is a particularly important topic, Stone said, because libraries are working to educate people using their computers about Internet safety.

The biggest change over the past 125 years, however, is technology, according to Stone.

To read more visit WDIO Eyewitness News

For a more in-depth look at topics explored, visit: Will Librarians Be The Overseers Of The Information Age?

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