Why do you need the library?
Why does anyone need the library?
Why do we need anything?
If we, librarians, could define the role of the library, then we, library users, could decide if we really need them. As it is, we are letting technology define the role of the library. Whereas I think that our service to people should define it.
I think it's a matter of ego. And Homo NOVUS, the superior iPhone-clutching human, can be a huge ahole. Whatever he needs, he gets, with a simple tap of his as-yet-to-be-determined-rightful-ownership-through-patent-litigation futuristic touch-screen. He (and She, the ladies can be aholes, too) is multi-tooled, unlike his club-wielding and single-minded predecessors.
It truly is ego. The new library is about who owns the authority. In the old library, the librarian was the authority. But things change.
(there should be a table here, but I don't think we can use tables)
ANTIQUUS (old library) --- NOVUS (new library)
Librarian-centric --- User-centric
Fixed Authority --- Dynamic Authority
Repeated shushing --- Constant bleeping
So clearly there's a power struggle. But it's not between librarians and library patrons, but between librarians and inanimate devices. NOVUS totes the device around, searching for signals, or wireless connectivity, and follows. So who is the master? the human or the device?