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Library Technology Advocate???

Dec - 1 - 2005
Nicole C. Engard

Are you kidding me? That's how Michael Gorman is introduced in a snippet on the InfoToday Blog (ironic?) entitled Libraries in a Perilous Era. Apparently the ALA president feels that libraries are facing “gigantic issues”:

The emphasis on quick search and the retrieval of nuggets of information defies the thoughtful process of the scholarly tradition and libraries' role in preserving and providing access to the human record of recorded knowledge, he said.

With the emphasis on quick search, Gorman said, “We've gone from cataloging to this sort of reduction of full texts . . . and a new age of amateurism [blogs] . . . and a belief in the great myth that everything is available on the Internet and everyone can find what they want.”

When I read what this man has to say I feel like I'm reading something my grandfather would write … something backwards and the exact opposite of what a “technology advocate” would think.

Times are changing and if libraries don't change with them then there won't be libraries anymore. We can't stay the still while the world around us is changing. Gorman is right about one thing … people want instant results (quick search and nuggets) … and if we as library professionals don't do everything we can to help people find the right information quickly, we're going to lose our patrons.

As far as the comment on amateurism … well I'll redirect you to Bill Drew's post on the subject.


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