Monday, October 15, 2007

Earth Metaphor is Appropriate

"The tiller of change is advancing on the field, the corn has been harvested, and the stalks will soon return to the soil. We better be thinking about the new crop, or the field will lie fallow."....Univ of California @ Berkeley,Peter Brantley’s post about Libraries Re-shaping

Brantley has a vision for the next generation of libraries. His focus is on Academic Librarianship but could be applied to a wide range of settings. I appreciate its radical nature because the library profession and large institutions such as New Trier and universities are glacially slow at accepting change. Brantley says that it's time to change:
1) most cataloguing(copy cataloguing) is "superfluous"
2) acquisitions (large contracts with vendors) should be negotiated by business people; librarians are not trained in large scale business transactions.
3)overhaul library systems and integrate acquisitions--" a handful of programmers [can]solve [these issues if] they are left sufficiently unencumbered. "
4)downsize print collections; digital collections have huge advantages in "discoverability, access, and consumability".
5)develop a new hybrid of library/IT that genuinely addresses student/patron needs

Why effect these wrenching changes?

Brantley is supportive of change..."Because It's Time. The librarians that I have talked with - admittedly, they self-select, although they represent a cross section of functions - are ready to move forward into the future. We know how much things have changed; we're not kidding ourselves. We know there should be fundamental transformation, even if some of us necessarily and selfishly want its expression to come in just-a-few-more-years. Yet, a bright future beckons. It is exciting, and we can be part of it. We know it - we have a huge range of skills, and we're bursting with new ideas."

As the Earth evolves and adapts to change, so too should libraries. Innovative Web 2.0 technologies are revolutionizing the way the world interacts with information. We need to be dancing just as fast as we can.

Judy Gressel

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