Seth Godin on Librarians
Preaching the value of Librarians, not libraries. Or at least not libraries as archival repositories. And while I admit my personal frustration at this idea: that it overlooks some of the underlying core value of information collections, I've also long felt that great collections aren't a marketable mandate for any library.
Well arranged collections are rarely valued by their intended user community; and moreover, it's a non-starter until you get people through the door. Seth Godin gets this, as do most non-librarians. But Librarians? Oh, we have a lot more to say on the topic. And that's unfortunate, because it's a message that needs simplifying.
As a profession, I think we need to accept that simplified messages surrounding 'public services' librarianship are going to be more palatable. And if we're to resurrect public opinion on topics such as "Libraries as a publicly funded place", or a greater understanding of "Librarianship as a profession" ... it's going to be a necessity.
One other tidbit... I really liked was Seth had to say about how Libraries help people in communities improve:
"We all love the vision of the underprivileged kid bootstrapping himself out of poverty with books, but now (most of the time), the insight and leverage is going to come from being fast and smart with online resources, not from hiding in the stacks.This is a role that never dies - offline or digital. The delivery, however, is in dire need of an overhaul.
The next library is a place, still. A place where people come together to do co-working and coordinate and invent projects worth working on together."
Finally, let me end with my one negative. Godin's statement that "clever ebook lending solutions are completely missing the point."; followed by his recommendation that we fight for our futures as "producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario."
Sound great? You bet. But it's a glib response to the digital divide. Librarians who can't facilitate e-lending will only serve the roles of "producer, concierge, connector, teacher and impresario" with a certain class of patron. And frankly... those guys already have Kindles and iPads.
Go read the post. It's thought provoking.