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Monday, May 18, 2009

Old Vs. New

Funny story passed along on the SLIS listserv recently...

Someone asked my staff member Stephen that question always dreaded by today’s librarians, “Since so much information is on the Internet now, why do we need libraries?”This person was a doctor, so Stephen answered, “Well, I have a question for you – since there is so much medical and health information available on the Web these days – I suppose we really don’t need doctors any more do we?”The doctor sputtered and turned red in the face as he tried to explain how people couldn’t interpret all the raw data available out there & that so much of the information out there was not accurate & that doctors did much more that just compile information, etc. Stephen replied, “Exactly.”
This debate has grown along with the explosion of the Internet. Don't get me wrong, I *heart* the Net--Google and Wikipedia are fabulous. But they're not all-inclusive, and, I know I'm prejudiced, but they don't replace libraries or librarians. Not yet anyway.

So many students and people today seem to think that "everything" is on the Internet. Two problems: obviously, "everything" is not. Also, just because something is on the Internet doesn't mean it's easily found. Again, our profession is still needed!

And that's partly because many consider the library to be a sacred place on campuses.

I love that article. Brought back sweet memories of Gorgas Library on campus at the University of Alabama. I loved my 4th floor nook, the couches on the 5th floor (where the library school was housed) and, of course, the 1st floor coffee bar. (The above are pictures of the library where I'm now creating sacred memories.)

What about you? What are some of your sacred libraries? Or just sacred places?


  1. I agree with your statement about being "Computer literate" and "research literate". There is a huge difference and students have to learn that not all websites are credible sources.

    I work with Technology integration in the classroom here in Florida and one of our assessment tools teaches students to check their internet sources when researching. Ex. the Worldbook encyclopedia will have more credible info on Tigers than someone's blog about the Auburn game. Yet, these are both things you're going to find when you type "Tigers" into google.

    I do wish Dr.'s would give the internet a little more credit sometimes. My Dr. rolled her eyes when I asked her about something I read on the internet and I'm considering changing Dr's because of that. I'm no fool, the internet does not hold all the answers but it can give you a starting point to discuss with professionals.

  2. Why do we need libraries?! Gasp... As much as I love the internet and all that I can't ever give up a library. It's a place to relax, to discover and to feel at home.

    I loved the library I used to go to when I lived in the Dallas area. Comfy couches, great selection of new books, cafe. Bliss.


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