I know there are those who see the library only as a place where books are stored and that the librarian’s job is to see that all of the books are shelved correctly. And so, if “everything is online” there is nothing left for the librarian to do.
In his keynote address, “Take a Right at the Obelisk,” David Lankes stated that the future of librarianship is bright and that it is the librarian that makes the library. He stated that “the best days of librarianship are ahead of us.”
Lankes puts the emphasis on the librarian rather than the library and the books contained there. He speaks of the mission of librarians which is “to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.” Knowledge creation does not lie in books and materials or online resources in the library. As information professionals, librarians must be active in the communities that they serve. Librarians must know what its community is doing and how we can facilitate that endeavor. Librarians cannot just sit at the information desk and wait for the next question to be asked. Librarians must take an active role in their community and become a vital part of that community.
Lankes speaks of knowledge creation through conversation where we seek agreements as to facts or opinions. Memory of these conversations allow us to not repeat the process in the future. It is the librarian’s value and ability to create this knowledge that will allow more information to make their communities better.
I highly recommend taking advantage of the link to David Lankes’ presentation to hear the entire address. I found it energizing and challenging and of course, hopeful for the future of librarianship.