Can volunteers do it ?


Benton Foundation, at the request of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, published Buildings, books, and bytes in November 1996. The report reveals what library leaders and the public have to say about the future of libraries in the digital age. Follow this link to read the HTML version of the report. A PDF version will be available soon for downloading.

writes \"It jumps out from the recent
publication, Buildings, Books, and Bytes,Libraries and
Communities in the Digital Age by the Benton Foundation,
urgent, demanding a response. From one focus group which
made up much of this report
the statement
\"They..sanctioned the notion that trained professional
librarians could be replaced with community volunteers, such
as retirees.\"

As we try to push our \"information literacy\" services on our
publics they also said
\"they preered to acquire new computer skills from \'somebody
they know\', not from their local librarians.\"

Retirees as volunteers.....Coming perhaps, when a library job
bulletin board, is currently running along side ads for
library webmasters and managers, job descriptions that look
very much lik \"real\" jobs for library volunteers. What
occupation runs classified ads for volunteers in the same
space as ads for employees ?

I will be retiring soon,and it has occurred to me that I
might well volunteer at my local public libraries if I could
do something other than just shelve books. I am rethinking
this option now. I can see how volunteering, however well
meant might well further cut into the professionalization of
library work that must continue if libraries are to continue
to be important forces.

Libraries are more important than ever as they are the only
agency that really stands for the democratization of
knowledge. As more and more agencies and companies retreat
behind their \"itranets\"..all this information so available
in t this window of time may in fact be privitized again. No
one is there to speak out