Reading the foundational readings over the past couple of weeks, I kept thinking of the book Who Moved My Cheese? that we read in my 204 class. It is obvious and undeniable that libraries are changing, in multiple ways. Especially with the dramatic increase of technology over the past couple of decades (which I am still realizing the extent of, as that is the vast majority of my life), libraries have been fundamentally changed in how they operate. The Automated Library is much more commonplace than a strictly Paper Library; I haven’t seen a library use those cards that are stamped with the due dates that slide into the envelope attached to the first page since elementary school.
Anyway, back to change. Change in all things is inevitable, and like the authors of the foundational readings say, it is something that some people have difficult accepting. The importance of being willing to change, however, is inarguable.
My favorite aspect of the readings though was actually the discussion not in how libraries have already changed, but in how they have the potential to continue changing, and not just in a reactionary way. The focus of changing not just how we as librarians use technology to make the behind-the-scenes work easier and faster and better but how we as librarians serve our patrons by providing different services that either we could not before or there was no demand for before. With changing times comes not only adjustment, but opportunity. Library 2.0, Electronic Libraries… not every library will look the same and incorporate all of the same ideas, but isn’t that the beauty of it? Libraries have the potential to do so much more than they have done in the past. And not as a replacement of their traditional role in society, but in addition to it. No one wants the New York Public Library to remove its beautiful reading rooms and Children’s Center, or for their local library to stop carrying the latest best sellers. But changing times and new technologies should not scare librarians; instead they should enable librarians to better meet the needs of the people who walk through their doors.