[Libs-Or] Fwd: [alacoun] A busy week: Libraries as lockers?
diedre08 at gmail.com
Tue Nov 2 11:08:22 PDT 2010
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Keith Michael Fiels <kfiels at ala.org>
Date: Tue, Nov 2, 2010 at 8:57 AM
Subject: [alacoun] A busy week: Libraries as lockers?
To: alacoun at ala.org
Many of you may be following this, but last week was a busy week for those
On Sunday, October 24th the Wall Street Journal ran an article entitled “New
Library Technologies Dispense With Librarians”
the article was more balanced than the headline, and actually stressed the
role and value of librarians, ALA President Roberta Stevens responded to
the article with a letter that the WSJ ran that week:
According to your October 25 article, “New Library Technologies Dispense
With Librarians,” replacing librarians with book lockers and vending
machines is a cost-effective alternative to paying for buildings and staff.
A community may save money taking this approach, but in the long run, it
will find itself at a significant educational and economic disadvantage.
Good decisions depend on good information. Machines can never replace the
expertise of library staff. Anyone who has received an overwhelming number
of hits searching the Web understands what it means to have a
highly-qualified information navigator. Why weed through hundreds, if not
thousands, of possible resources when a librarian can connect you quickly
with the most valuable information to meet your needs?
Libraries and their staffs don’t just provide free access to books. They are
part of the solution when a community is struggling economically. Across the
nation, libraries continue to design and offer programs customized for their
local community’s needs, providing residents with guidance (including
sessions with career advisers), workshops in resume writing and
interviewing, job-search resources, and connections with outside agencies
that offer training and job placement. I recognize that the current fiscal
environment continues to force some communities to make difficult decisions.
However, at a time of uncertainty and many Americans dealing with job
losses, gaining new skills and seeking key assistance in an increasingly
digital world is more important than ever. U.S. public libraries are our
first responders. We need them. Americans everywhere can’t close the books
on libraries. Roberta Stevens President American Library Association
On October 25th, Fareed Zakaria made an offhand statement on the Charlie
Rose show regarding the replacement of librarians by lockers - based on the
article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal. Again, Roberta challenged
that totally incorrect statement:
Dear Mr. Rose:
Libraries and librarians help support the American dream and are vital
during this time of economic uncertainty. I found the comments made by Time
Editor at Large Fareed Zakaria, during your October 25 broadcast revealed a
complete unawareness of the role libraries and library staff play in our
digital and globally competitive world.
There are thousands of librarians serving more than 1.5 billion visitors a
year. Libraries and their employees serve as a lifeline for millions of
Americans. They are part of the solution when a community is struggling
economically. Across the nation, libraries continue to design and offer
programs customized for their local community’s needs, providing residents
with guidance (including sessions with career advisers), workshops in resume
writing and interviewing, job-search resources, and connections with outside
agencies that offer training and job placement.
>From free access to books and online resources to library business centers
that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries with top-notch
staff are needed now more than ever in an economy that demands the ability
to obtain and critically analyze information.
Replacing librarians with book lockers and vending machines is a poor
alternative to having library facilities with staff who are trained
information navigators. In fact, the complex environment of advanced and
ever-changing technology and the wealth of information available, some of
which can only be obtained from databases at a fee, have meant that
libraries are busier than ever. Any community that thinks the scenario
described by Mr. Zakaria in his interview with you is placing itself at a
significant educational and economic disadvantage.
I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue further with you or with you
and Mr. Zakaria during a future broadcast of your program.
I look forward to hearing from you.
American Library Association
To view the Zakaria segment, visit
http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11261 . The library discussion
appears from about 3:20 to about 4:20 in the 16 minute segment.
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
**Work email: **diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org*<diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
Home email: **diedre08 at gmail.com* <diedre08 at gmail.com>
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