Monday, October 15, 2007

Chronicle | Young Librarians, Talkin' 'Bout Their Generation

The Chronicle has some interviews with the "younger / next / new / what-evah" generation of librarians. No Oklahoma Librarians -- but some names you might recognize none the less.
Most people are familiar with the stereotype of librarians. They are twenty- or thirtysomethings, with tattoos, cat's-eye glasses, and vintage clothes, schmoozing with famous authors, and playing DJ at parties in Brooklyn.

Wait, that's just the stereotype in The New York Times. Last summer the newspaper declared young librarians hip — and, in the minds of some librarians, actually reinforced the other stereotype: that older members of their profession are reclusive bookworms and cranky old ladies.

Whether young librarians are hip or dowdy doesn't matter. What matters is what they think about the future of the library, particularly at academic institutions.

Libraries are facing a series of immense challenges: the explosion of information, a rapidly changing technological environment, shrinking budgets, pitched battles over copyright, a new world of information literacy, and continuing deficiencies in old-fashioned literacy.

On top of it all, academic libraries face a crisis of graying leadership. Young librarians, hip or not, will eventually be the people dealing with these issues.

This month The Chronicle contacted eight librarians under 40 and asked them a series of questions about the future of their profession, including: What will happen to the book? How will battles over copyright play out? What do you love and hate about librarianship? Here is what they said:...

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