Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Other Shoe is Dropping

Here's my response to nice a blog post at Agnostic Maybe . Then there's his response back, and response to his response. It's all very dizzy.

Because a lot of librarians feel like they’ve been getting away with something for a very long time. They feel like the other shoe is bound to drop. I mean, how much should they get paid for showing someone where to type in the address bar? Or for writing a schedule for their clerks?

No, the believe because they know they have been getting paid for not doing a whole lot of work. They feel guilty for this and realize that someone else must figure this out one day- and that will be the end of the public library.

on May 17, 2011 at 1:52 AM | Reply Andy
Interesting comment. So, what do you do at your library, if I might ask?

Based on the feedback from my basic computer classes, that kind of information (showing them where to type in the address bar) is rather valuable. While it may be easy to me, it’s not to other people; they talk about it as it will give them confidence to go online, email, and be more active online with their kids and grandkids. But I guess that’s basically stealing from taxpayers, right?

on May 17, 2011 at 10:40 AM | Reply stuartspencersmith
I am a public service and reference librarian. I was a corporate librarian before. I understand the benefits of adult technology education, but I also see- every single day, all day long- the same people with the same problems that don’t learn- because they don’t want to. I see people demanding that I dial the phone number for them. I see a babysitting service provided by employees with Master’s Degrees. I see employees steadfastly holding on to the past instead of realizing that THEY must change for the institution to still have meaning.

I’m on the front lines of the digital divide. It’s not ebooks here, it’s DVDs, Plenty of Fish and free online MMORPGs. We are not providing education, but entertainment. We are already a community center/homeless shelter/daycare.

NONE of these things require a librarian- or at least a librarian’s education and training. So, old guard wait to retire while bitching and putting their heads in the sand. The young turks are worn down under the weight of the institution. We are left with the ones who are happy with things the way they are- and what does that say about any profession when you’re left with the ones who are happy with things the way they are?

The old guard KNOWS what they used to do and how much work it was. The young turks LONG for more work. The rest treat the patrons like they’ve interrupted an important task. The rest have convinced themselves (and maybe they really believe) that what they do is important. They are sure that they are the torchbearers- but the flame has been dying for a long time now. Most of their job duties are JUSTIFYING their job’s existence- and they’re ok with that because they are IMPORTANT.

That is what I meant. Also, I am speaking only to public libraries.

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