Sometimes I wonder if I chose the right profession. I love my job and most of the time I feel like I made the right choice. Luckily, I have amazing collegues who really make coming in for work with while (thanks, guys!). However, when I read library journal, like Bibliotekaren, I get frustrated and annoyed at how many “backwards” thinkers there are. Especially in these times of big changes for the library profession.
There are those who day that we need to stay ahead of change and try to ajust to the new situations of e-books and e-journals. The library at Copenhagen Business School(CBS) is a good example here. They said: OK, our patrons need places to study and our printed materials are no longer as in demand as they used to be. So, they tossed out most of the books and made a well-equipped study hall instead.
And then there are those who take the opposite route to the future. One of them seems to be the library director at Lillehammer University College, Sigbjørn Hernes. Now, I’d like to start off by saying that he is an excellent librarian and he knows more about academic prosesses and publishing than any other librarian I know. But I have to say I was disappointed when I read an interview with him in the latest edition of Bibliotekaren. He asked why librarians seem to be so eager at sawing off the branch that they are sitting on? He is talking about libraries like CBS Library. Hernes visited the CBS library and says in the interview that the CBS library is losing space to other parts of the school. When they no longer have books the manageres of the school want to take the library`s rooms and use them for other purposes. This is Hernes` argument: as long as we have the printed materials we have a mandate. As long as we have books, they (the managers) can`t take away our square meters.
True, when we are no longer dealing with physical objects like printed books and journals in the library, the role of the librarian will change. Already, many cataloguers have experienced this change. The time when a librarian could sit in his/her office every day and just handle the registrations are over. (I`m not sorry:-) It`s difficult to predict the future. But one thing is for sure, the library isn`t here to ensure that I have a job. I work here as a librarian as long as the students and staff need me and as long as my expertise is wanted. That is why it doesn`t help anyone to cling to printed materials if they are no longer wanted. Why would we even want to keep our physical location and our square meters if our patrons need them for something else?
I hope (and trust) that my days as a librarian here are not counted. But if/ when the day comes I will try not to put my head in the sand.