I'd really start to be bored by this argument, if it weren't for the fact that its persistence among librarians bodes poorly for the future of libraries.
Toward the end of her piece, the Annoyed Librarian writes:
We need libraries because we need an educated citizenry. We need libraries because there are people who can't afford books and magazines and computers, and they need help, too. We need libraries because children need to learn the joys of reading.On these points, we are in complete agreement. However, she loses me in her unfocused search for straw men to knock down.
As the rest of her post—and much of her blog in general—attests, she has some sort of fixation on gaming librarians and something called "twopointopians." Granted, twopointopians is a clever construction. But it's about as empty as the phrase "library 2.0." Web 2.0 is nothing more than another information distribution system. Sure, there's a lot of crap out there in its midst, but it's also done some good by placing some control over content back in the hands of the non-programming public. Is that the issue, control? We all know some librarians have control issues. In any case, it's every librarian's job to understand as much as they can about every form of information distribution.
Besides, does anyone else find it curious that AL vents her spleen and hides behind the anonymity of the flagship 2.0 app, Blogger?
Her concurrent fetish with gaming librarians leaves me with one question: Where in the hell did she get her MLS? Mind you, my program is not housed at Harvard. Then again, no LIS program is. Regardless, I've gone to library school with a couple hundred people, some of whom were gamers, yet none of them were able to get credits for playing Myst. We actually had papers and presentations and other assignments, some of which were hard and made me learn things.
The fact remains that public libraries are underfunded. And they likely will continue to be unless librarians learn to capture the imagination of politicians and taxpayers. The educative mission of libraries is paramount, but let's face it, it's not sexy and it's not as self-evident to others as it is to us. It's like spinach: sometimes you have to saute it in a little butter and nutmeg to make it seem more than simply good for you.
Furthermore, society is changing rapidly, and some of that change is due to digital media. That means that the book-and-periodical model of library service is going to get crowded out, at least a little. One need only look to the NEA's latest research for evidence. As a book person, this saddens me. But as an information person—a librarian—I need to adapt. No one makes this point better than Catch and Release:
I’m not sure that I look at the circulation desk as the service point at which the core competencies of librarianship are being or should be practiced, and because of that I really have no problem with self check machines augmenting and *not replacing* that part of library operations. Further, I think it is important to recognize that the “classic” public library is based on an archaic definition of literacy. Literacy is no longer about just reading text in books. We live in the “information age”, a time defined by complex cultural and media literacies. We need new buildings and new service models to address the new literacy needs of our patronage and our potential, unrealized patronage.As I see it, it's either evolve or die. And if we do our jobs mindfully, we might just help guide the public through the changing reality. If we don't, then we'll prove right those predicting the death of libraries in 2019.