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Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The library is dead! Long live the library!
At degreetutor.com, apparently an aggregation of sites for online schools, there's a thoughtful article about the future of libraries, an important topic, called "Are Librarians Totally Obsolete?" Those with bibliophile tendencies (and perhaps even some Luddite sympathies) will be happy to know that the piece's answer is in the negative: "Despite their perceived obsoleteness [sic)] in the digital age both libraries -- and librarians -- are irreplaceable for many reasons. 33, in fact."
The number one reason, that "not everything is available on the Internet," is the best one of all. As I noted in an earlier post, Google's man in charge of Google Book Search argues that most of the world's knowledge -- that is, the stuff in books -- is undigitized.
Also pointed out is that a "2005 study of the Illinois School Libraries shows that students who frequently visit well-stocked and well-staffed school libraries end up with higher ACT scores and perform better on reading and writing exams." That makes sense, but it should be added that schools with better Internet access perform better, too, although both may simply reflect the overall quality and wealth of the schools.
The best thinking in the piece goes into reason number thirty-two:
[T]he alluring immediacy of the internet can lead to the false impression that only immediate, interactive and on-the-spot online discussion is of value. Dusty books on tall shelves then seem to represent stagnant knowledge, and their curators (librarians), behind the times. Books and reading easily gets regarded as elitist and inactive, while blogging becomes the here-and-now....
Takes Brainiac down a notch, but I can only approve.