After reading Dorothea’s posts on the technical skills of public services librarians and the insightful responses of many including Meredith Farkas, and Laura K, just to name a couple. I pondered many things. Many postings included where the blame should go. Is it library schools’ fault for lack of preparation? Is it librarians’ faults for not making it important? Is it the administration’s fault for not letting us explore? Or is it the library students themselves for not trying? These are all important questions to ask, but the real question should be why is there so much hesitation? What is so scary about learning about technology?

The real problem is simple “librarians and library schools  are afraid they will be no more jobs.” In some people’s minds the more digitized libraries get, the less people are needed to do the job. My nonlibrarian friends tell me all the time that my job will be extinct because of the digitial revolution.  This also gives administration a headache because administration people usually like things that are neat and orderly that they can put in a box. Change scares them. Think of it as the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory complex ( the new version with Johnny Depp where Charlie’s dad loses his job at the toothpaste factory because of the new machinery.) I am a recent graduate of library school and in one assignment was to create a landing page for the library of the future. What would be on it? How would the library cope with this new digital world we are in? The assignment thoroughly freaked some people out. The professor started talking about how less people are coming to the library and they are instead accessing it virtually. This really scared people because those who felt they lacked an aptitude for technology saw it as an enemy. In other words they feel it threatens their livelihood.  This fear caused a division amongst graduate students. There were the techies who separated themselves from the “library people”, (like we were a separate species) the ones who were completely against any form of technology, and then there were people like me who are in between. I was even jokingly accused by the non-techies as going to the “dark side.” Dark Side? What like Darth Vadar? Am I the enemy now because I want to know how a webpage is constructed? The fact of the matter is that every generation has changes in the library. Heck, at one point typed catalog cards were revolutionary! Realistically public services librarians knowing more technical services type things should not come as a surprise since technical services librarian are expected (for the most part) to do some public service type duties. The question should not be how are we using these new technologies? Technologies will fade and someday be “so five minutes ago.” Instead we should be asking, “how are we staying relevant? If we are not meeting our patrons’ needs, then will they continue to use our services? I am not saying you have to adapt every technology out there for your library. Every technology does not serve every population and I do not think it is helpful to assume that technology will solve all of our problems. It is a tool that can be used to make a solution happen, but it is not a solution in itself. However, you have to look at what can improve your patrons’ library experiences. Also it is important to note that if we know too much, IT depts may feel that will take their jobs as well.

Going back to library school, the question of the future of the library once again came up. One of my classmates responded, “librarians are like prostitutes we will always be around.” (Side note: I originally started writing this post yesterday and read Jenica Rogers Urbanek’s post about the Spitzer scandal and libraries and laughed out loud when I thought of this comment) Anyway, there will always be a need for people to digest information and trust me students still need our help, yes they do.