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May 17 / Kimberly Silk

The Future of the Academic Librarian – beware the squelchers

Today I’m attending a symposium at McMaster University on The Future of Academic Libraries. Present at the registration desk were bright yellow buttons stating “Academic Librarians ARE the Future!”, a sentiment I whole-heartedly agree with.

I was saddened to learn via the University of Toronto Academic Librarians blog that these buttons came to exist as a reaction to a controversial presentation made by McMasterU head librarian Jeff Trzeciak. Many academic librarians have reacted negatively to Jeff’s presentation — many have interpreted his remarks as being ant-librarian.

I have listened to Jeff’s presentation several times and I encourage everyone to do so. REALLY LISTEN. Because I don’t think he’s anti-librarian -I think he’s pro-librarian because he is promoting the idea that an information environment includes many different disciplines and areas of expertise.

I responded to the post above, but my comments are awaiting moderator approval. In case my comment is not approved, here it is:

Kimberly Silk says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

The future includes many kinds of expertise – librarians, library techs, academics, researchers, IT….. and many more. The buttons are fantastic – but I’m disappointed to learn that they exist as a reaction to Jeff Trzeciak’s ideas regarding our future. I urge everyone in our profession, and everyone who reads this blog, to please LISTEN again to Jeff’s presentation. He is not calling for the end of librarians, but a new beginning.

Anyone who would like to continue this conversation, please contact me. Let’s talk.

Kim
Data Librarian, Martin Prosperity Institute, University of Toronto

I think this is a really important conversation. I value my MLS, but I have other degrees and various areas of expertise, all of which I use every day. I believe professional librarians are crucial to the success to every organization. I have a lot of confidence in my value. My confidence is in myself, a small part of which is my MLS. I believe that the librarians who are afraid they will be unemployed in the future will be, not because the MLS is not valued, but because they do not value themselves.

Bring it on.

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