Mom, What's a Library?


An article titled "

Search For Tomorrow" in the Washington Post seems to paint a dark future for librarians, while acknowledging how important they "used to be". From the article, "

A generation ago, reference librarians -- flesh-and-blood creatures -- were the most powerful search engines on the planet. But the rise of robotic search engines in the mid-1990s has removed the human mediators between researchers and information."

And more ominously Berkeley professor Peter Lyman states, "There's been a culture war between librarians and computer scientists. Google won." But the article also points out that search engines still have a long way to go. Maybe it's time for librarians to start round two of that culture war...


and pointed out that there is no footnoting re: the "empty libraries" business.

It's a pretty big assertion.

Gary Price Has some interesting comments on the story, and his part in it as well.

Honestly, I've found myself using Google in reference questions. Do I ever actually show the person asking me what I found in Google? Hell no! Why? Google is there to give me a quick background in a subject that the patron already knows at least a little something about... and I don't.(This works best, I've found, with pop stars and obscure sports figures)

People have been predicting the end of libraries since they started publishing books for the masses. It hasn't happened. Things will change with the internet, methinks. And we have to be ready to change with it. But if I've noticed one thing in the past two months in the "real library world", it's most people don't know how to search Google, or the catalog, or even use an index. And guess what? Elementary schools and high schools and colleges aren't teaching them... at least, not where I am. This leaves, if anything, more for librarians to do, more of a need than ever....

Let me add my preliminary Google searches are backed up with real books... That's what the patron gets to cite.

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