Librarians of the Future and the Future of Librarians
25 August 2015
The role of a librarian is generally viewed as someone who oversees and organizes book filing systems in a library and provides assistance to users. In the digital age, their knowledge is greatly expanded into new media forms such as the eBook, audio book, video clip, game, blog, mobile application on social networks, and so on. That requires librarians to adapt to the latest technologies by learning new skills in accordance with new knowledge patterns.
About 20 years a new term came into vogue - “cybrarian”. This was coined to explain the necessary qualifications required by a librarian who is absorbed into the digital age. A cybrarian by definition includes people who specialize in Internet and information technologies. In the future, librarians will add “Digital Media Specialist” to their name as they will need an understanding of digital content and be able to transform and deliver this knowledge to target groups with help from new technologies.
Nevertheless, even as librarians adapt to the fast-moving changes in their working environment, some believe libraries as we know them will vanish and librarians and their infinite wisdom will eventually become redundant, a career no longer needed as we now have the power to seek knowledge and information by ourselves. A contrary view from the people who work in this field, however, highlights the importance of their role – they will not fade away or become extinct because there are aspects of their work that technology and digital knowledge are unable to substitute completely:
Not all information can be found on the Internet. Information in the digital world is only contemporary knowledge. Most of the really specific knowledge, or actual ancient documents, are normally kept in a library situation. Although Google Book is trying to transform millions of print works into digital mode, many copyright holders are not giving it permission to do so.
Digital libraries do not mean the Internet. It is true that we can surf the Internet to seek books, journals, documents, research or reports that we want, but to access insightful information, Internet users can be required to register on a website or visit libraries to search from their databases.
Knowledge on the Internet is not always free. Some information in specific fields is not allowed for free download.Users have to pay academic institutions or organizations who own the information to be allowed to make copies. Therefore, it could be more convenient for users to directly contact libraries.
The Internet is only part of a library. But it is unable to replace libraries in toto. Information in libraries is more reliable, as what is found on the Internet is sometimes just a random sampling of opinion or cursory information gathering.
Libraries and librarians can help develop student potential. A study of the vast and impressive Illinois State library – a repository of more than 5 million items that dates back 150 years - shows it remains well-staffed and well-stocked, indicating such libraries still help students.
Libraries are not just for storing books. The scale of information variants that can be deposited in a library is endless,and it is here that a librarian can provide invaluable advice.
Advent of wireless is not the end of libraries or books. Many people still prefer to read on paper. Holding a book or magazine in the hand feeds the comfort of old habits (and a sense of the physical object), just a cinema’s wide-screen, full technicolor, full surround sound cannot be replicated in the home.
Library users are not decreasing, though they access library services via virtual reality (VR). For example, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration used to serve around 50,000 people a year. However, in 1987, the number decreased by 40%, which might seem a critical amount, but for the fact that more than 85,000 users opted to use its online services instead.
Physical libraries will vary according to the cultural context. Acknowledging modern lifestyles is vital to libraries adapting their services. For example, libraries are no longer places of quiet solitude, where even whispering is prohibited. Many of them now provide space for group work. There are snacks and coffee corners where patrons can talk or hold open discussions.
10. The closure of libraries is ending a vital part of our culture. Libraries are not places of the past, but focal points of accumulated knowledge and critical to any society’s journey into the future. So many well-designed websites today are based on the model of a good library.
Not all information available on the Internet is reliable. Anyone can upload content to the Internet. False information released on social networks could be aimed at deliberate misunderstanding of an issue, especially ones that affect public emotions.
Website administrators cannot replace librarians. Although their roles are relatively similar, librarians are seen as more credible.
Librarians are mediators between libraries and the Internet. It is accepted that the Internet greatly benefits users. Not all information is stored on library bookshelves. Anyone can explore the Internet for information, but it does require a degree of literacy, and that’s where librarians can play a key role, especially in respect of educational situations where teachers and professors pay more heed to detail.
Libraries are reliable reference databases. Printed material in libraries is produced to exacting standards under reliable systems, so proving more reliable for academic reference.
Libraries preserve the experience of reading print. The Internet offers mostly specific information, so users sometimes gain only parts of an overall concept. The specifics of an issue might be far different from that which can be explored on a library shelf.
Libraries can help build new archive management. When searching for specific information, a library system is more accurate than the search engine on a website.
Cybrarian: The Librarian of Future Digital Library by Tulima Dey from www.ijidt.com
From Librarian to Cybrarian: Evolving Role of the Information Professional by Sean Dreilinger from http://durak.org
16 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important จากเว็บไซต์ www.collegeonline.org