WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE CHANGING INFORMATION AND LIBRARY LANDSCAPE FOR THE BROADER INFORMATION PROFESSION?

As put forward by Frey, (Frey), the role of the library to archive information or to serve as a ‘store house’ for books and other materials has fundamentally changed. We are no longer dependent on libraries to act as a protector of scarce and expensive information as today, through the internet and other technologies, information is is all around us, cheap or free, controlled by consumers and as stated by Purcell, ‘designed for sharing and embedded into our lives’. (Purcell, 2012)

The vast majority of people who before were required to visit a library to source information can now find whatever they need online. In addition to this, with the advent of e-books and the like, the simple pleasure of reading a print book is now slowly being replaced by digital versions, with the wide selection of e-books and ease of using them while traveling or commuting and availability the main reasons why people are preferring them. (Purcell, 2012)

It is clear that the role of the librarian to navigate this new information age is an important one. With technology changing rapidly and with new innovations appearing all the time, people will not have the skills or time to keep up and will need a professional to assist them.

As stated by Purcell, (Purcell, 2012), ‘The role of the librarian is to help people with the volume, relevance and velocity of information available’. In particular for teacher-librarians it is important to remember that the role of the librarian is to help students critique and evaluate information readily available to them effectively. Many students are simply unaware the information may be biased and inaccurate, even though published on the net. Teacher-librarians must be up to date with current technology, embrace it and be able to instruct students to use it productively while critically analysing it for its authenticity and relevance. While retrieving information may be easy for students, what information is relevant and accurate and how to use it is not.

Personally I find the challenges of a new library landscape and adaption of new technologies very exciting. Perhaps technology is a way forward to make access to information more equitable and available to a broader range of students who otherwise would miss out due to their location or socio-economic status. It is clear that libraries of the future will need to be at the forefront of new innovations, flexible in delivery and spaces that accommodate a wide range of needs.

References
Frey, T. The future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation. Retrieved 12 March, 2013, from http://www.davinciinstitute.com/papers/the-future-of-libraries/
Purcell, K. (2012). Libraries 2020: Imagining the library of the (not too distant) future.

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