Information changes, so must we.

ImageThe information profession is in a situation where, if it does not adapt to meet the needs of its clients, it will fade away. Thomas Frey points out that “The library was the center of information revered by most because each contained the foundational building blocks of information for all humanity.” Frey was referring to a time around the 15th Century, but if you can try to imagine that today: a single centre that contained building blocks of information, not just of a culture, but all of 21st Century humanity. It is simply, impossible.

Information professionals in general, and school librarians in particular, may have to give up on being a centre for all information and concentrate on the specific needs of their users. Hughes-Hassell and Mancall (2005) suggest a learner centred model where the librarian serves as a guide rather than expert. In the article on how libraries are re-inventing themselves (Berry, 2012. Part 3 of 7), this model is being adapted to serve specific needs or wants of the public.

If libraries are no longer where people seek answers, then we have to diversify to provide them with more. It is no longer possible for libraries to hold the building blocks of humanity, but maybe, if we’re clever, we can hold the building blocks of a community.

-James Thorn, 2042

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