Are we scared of libraries closing?

People seem to think that librarians are scared of technology, especially middle-aged women librarians with their hair in a bun. (Sound like anyone you know?)

The fear is not of technology but technology alone will not keep people coming to the library. People will have the same technology at home that they can get at the library.

The fear we have is that jobs will be lost. E-books don’t need to be processed, repaired, or shelved, and they don’t go overdue because they are automatically returned. When I first started in the library business, there were more jobs, because we typed and filed catalogue cards on top of everything else that needs to be done in a library.

I already have a problem because my avid readers just go out and buy (paper) books before I can get books shipped and processed. If libraries were completely digital, people would join Amazon Unlimited and just stay home, especially in the winter.

Our hours are cut every year, and then the value of what we do doesn’t show because we don’t have time to do what we SHOULD be doing (Reader’s Advisory, programs, staying current of new publications).

In 50 years, the library will be a server at city hall with a part-time person (or even a volunteer) choosing e-books and downloading them from time to time. We will lose the warmth, the human contact, and a chance to talk to someone “whose job is to read” (ha, ha) to get suggestions. I’m glad I won’t be alive to see that day.

I think we have reason to be afraid

About P. Joy Webster

Author of "Don't come here, Julie!" Auteure de « Ne viens pas ici, Julie!» School Library Technician and ESL teacher Technicienne en documentation scolaire et professeure d'anglais langue seconde.
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