Are we still relevant?

Friday I attended a keynote address by Michael Stephens at the New Mexico Library Association Annual Conference.  The presentation was chock full of information regarding Web 2.0 technologies.  He is a very charismatic speaker, and if you ever have the chance to hear him present, I highly recommed it.

The thing that struck me the most was his opening sally: “The war is over.  Google won.”  Honestly, I couldn’t agree more.  As I have heard from several sources in the last two weeks, less than 1% of all information searches begin in the library.  Whenever I hear this statistic, I always experience a moment of panic, “The end of libraries!”  Breathe, breathe.  Take solace from the thought that it is not the end of libraries, but perhaps a time of redefinition of the function of libraries.  Can there be a more exciting time to be a librarian?

The question remains though if we are no longer the primary source for answering questions and the starting point for information, then what is our function?  Oh, isn’t that a lovely word, function. ack.  I really don’t have a good answer to that question, nor have I heard a good answer despite the numerous presentations that I have attended by futurists and library innovators.  The answer is perhaps still evolving.

However, I am confident that librarians have a place in the future.  Granted we lost the war to Google, but we are movers and shakers in the world of Web 2.0 and virtual environments such as Second Life.  Who knows what the future will bring?  I do know that I am fortunate enough to be a librarian in today’s changing world.


~ by jenymn on April 25, 2009.

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