Stacks Up

When I went to library school in 2001 I think we all believed that librarians needed to morph into some sort of computer geek. We would be studying new systems and functioning as fleshy index operators. It was a good 5 years since the Net was settling into it’s then publicly accessible.. INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY. La. La. Laaa! La. La. La. Laaa! then 2002 came and all that went on hold for 10 years.

Librarians were trying to be happy. Not at all muttering behind their hands… “Oh man. The internet! Why didn’t we think of that!” Subscription databases you’re in charge, wha’. the. heck?


CGI rendering of coming renovation Stockholm public library

In 10 years since my degree and 20 years since I started in libraries I do get bemused when I think we have come full circle. After the 90’s obsession with getting out of closed bookstacks and getting people into the physical materials we are right back to locking knowledge away. This picture above has been my lens for library service for that past year and a half. Closed or open? Connected people? Or information zoo?

I am looking for the direction in library work. What are we supposed to do?

If you were cursed enough to have me assigned as your prof in library school you would have to endure this rant on what makes a real librarian already, here goes again….

We are NOT at large computer geeks (tho’ those who are I value most highly) we are more often instead… some intangible somethings else. We’re information tasters… I like to say.. curators, servants. Don’t cringe.. Many library workers are more like Casanova, than any geek. If you did not know that Casanova was a librarian. Well he was.

Casanova a personal librarian for a frustrating, uninspiring Bohemian Duke. A cautionary tale for librarianship indeed. Solo librarian largely unconnected toiling away in the employ of the privileged; meting out a sense of value to the wise or ill publications to meet Dukes developing mind, rank, etc. The ages old story of life in a time of information onslaught.

An odd fate. I do cringe, I’m honest, at the options in front of libraries right now. The rather baroque faux luxury of choice. Is it a luxury? Is there choice? I am sure I do want to avoid being some bitter servant worker in a library. I think there is still plenty to love about the job. And feel that when I don’t love it I know its because its the servitude that need be shoved off.

who are you geek or casanova?

whacha think?

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