What are the THREE BIGGEST THINGS facing librarianship?

We're having a good discussion over on Daniel's Journal about our little world.
1) What are the three biggest problems facing librarianship today?
2) In a perfect world, how would these issues get resolved?
3) Is there anything we as individual librarians and/or library associations can do in the real world to fix the Big Three problems?

Several good answers already, I'd love to read more.


1) What are the three biggest problems facing librarianship today?Two of three are the same as they have always been; archiving and funding. The third is the same as it has been since the idiot box began to dominate the American culture, and that is keeping patrons interested.2) In a perfect world, how would these issues get resolved?1. Archival: Simple, we etch binary into man made diamond surfaces! Of course that would require a good deal more cash which leads us to...2. Funding: Instead of sales tax on the internet which is a bad idea in millions of ways, lets make it a flat 4% (locked in by law with no allowable changes) VAT that is split out to schools and libraries. But we would have to make it a very strict law set otherwise the money would be general fund diverted just as all the state lotteries have done.3. It is going to take take librarians and assistants with exceptional technological skills, but the good news is that with the H1B visa's bringing in foreign tech workers by the hundreds of thousands, and the Comp Sci major numbers dropping like the weight of a meth addict I am willing to bet many tech people will consider library careers. Perhaps using some grant programs to aid the transition as we fall further behind the rest of the world technologically. Only in America could I pay 70 bucks a month for a 94% uptime cable line that delivers barely better than ISDN speed, while in Tokyo you can get 400MBS for 40 bucks a month.3) Is there anything we as individual librarians and/or library associations can do in the real world to fix the Big Three problems?1. Research and pay attention to new methods of archiving, make it part of your wider knowledge base.2. Write letters, support library friendly candidates, and do your job to the best of your ability.3. Librarian, educate yourself!

1. Money
2. Adjustment to and acceptance of technology
3. Acceptance of change

I know "money" may be too broad for many of you, but money is how everything else in this world is judged and operated. For many years, the general public assumed libraries would always exist. Now the reality is starting to reach the normal citizen that libraries in their communities and schools are not just a guarantee anymore. I think some libraries are starting to already to find the solutions to money by developing creative collaboration opportunities and reaching out to PR & marketing experts for advice. Library boards, administrators, etc. are starting to realize that library success cannot just depend on librarians, support staff, or volunteers for success. Professionals in business, amrketing, etc. are starting to infiltrate libraries in order to develop more money streams.

Technology has greatly helped libraries and also put members of the profession in conflict with each other. While technology has greatly improved access, material processing, and our patron's expectiations, it has also created what most feel is "competition" to the library. I myself feel technologies, such as Google, have only provided more opportunities for libraries. As patron's have increased access to information, their questions increase thus they will need to find experts to help. The one question that libraries are struggling with are digitization and its role in the overall picture. I hate to say it but others have made up their mind (...Google) so libraries better not fight it but rather join in.

I still see many that refuse to change. Our users are changing so we better be prepared to change. If we do not change as instituions and people, our users will find an alternative that meets their expectations. I think we should remember our history and learn from it, but not changing just becuase "it has always been done this way" dooms us in the future.

I think, besides technology, the most important issue facing us, is patron interest. We are doing a good job getting the word out, but can always do more.
Its amazing to me that as much time as I spent in libraries, as a child, it took me this long to realize that being a librarian was actually a career choice. When I was in school, my "guidance" counselor, never once mentioned to me that this was an option...
I think we could do a little more to promote the profession to high schoolers and undergrads, let them know there is more to life than just becoming a doctor or lawyer..
Just a thought...

I could not agree with you more about people understanding the profession better.

I personally worked in an academic library as a student worker while working on my undergraduate degree. When I neared completion of my degree, I was unhappy with my career choice and was struggling with what to do next. Even though I worked in a library, I still had not considered librarianship as a career choice because I spent all that time on an engineering degree. It took two different librarians pulling my aside and pointing out to me my options in science librarianship.

The three main problems facing libraries are the three main problems facing libraries yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They are: 1)Budget; 2) Staff and 3) Space.
      Without adequate budget, the library will not thrive.
      Without enough staff, the library will not succeed.
      Without enough space, the library wil not be able to accomplish the mission.
        Various attempts have been made to change these truisms by using other things instead: computers instead of staff; microfilm instead of space; volunteer work instead of budget. However, no matter how new ideas are strung on to these old problems, the problems remain, even as the solutions wither on the vine. The good library administrator knows to keep their eye on the three problems: the technology will take care of itself.
      Another problem- never confuse the library with the library staff. Libraries that boast about their collections without emphasizing how valuable their staff is, end up with apile of books on the floor and a closed library building. Promote the profession, not the tools!

Internal censoring by our North American cities' public libraries of their very own public reports on their long range planning and development from interested, concerned, affected public library users/customers/clientele , public library workers and public library unions labor relations advocates.

Reference desk departments censoring at our North American cities' public libraries of the same public reports. Misguided reference desk departments go along with improper instruction from public library leadership to censor information in response to public enquiries. For example, a reference desk department receives a public report but does not disclose it to an enquirer instead sending the library user to an officer of the public institution who then delays or denies access to the information on hand for librarians at the reference desk department.

Grey literature of our North American cities' public libraries, that is their own respective public documents of the public institution are not acquisitioned, accessioned and cataloged for the collections.

How ironical that intellectual freedom advocate librarians censor in their own practices while enunciating the freedom to read principles among colleagues.

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