Please get out of the new road If you can’t lend your hand

We all run into them now and again….  Techno-resistant librarians. I used to think such an attitude would cost them their jobs.  No more. Now I think those retro-librarians might cost ALL of us our jobs.

What is the impact of 21st Century Librarians operating under a 20th (19th?) century mind-set?

The Times They are A-Changin’ (Bob Dylan)

Your old road is

Rapidly agin’.

Please get out of the new one

If you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’.

I attended a workshop about integrating Apple technology (ipods etc) into Gananda’s  curriculum. Exciting stuff. I was amazed and humbled, when several of my Gananda colleagues referred to me as the “most creative” member of our team.  The head presenter from the Apple team (a former librarian) was excited to hear that.  She then mentioned a recent workshop she’d done for a neighboring district.  Sadly,one of the librarians there reacted very badly to the presentation.  She said “I did not sign up for all this tech stuff when I became a librarian.  I went into it for books.”

Talk about cringe-worthy!! These workshops are presented to school teams that often include  superintendents and  building principals.  Library jobs are at risk.  How does this kind of attitude play in front of  a group like that?

Now… Think about the legion of us on the cutting edge of technology….how many present in-services to  teachers…how many work with hesitant teachers and give them the courage to try new things.  And on and on and on.  And yet still, we fight that #$&^ stereotype of the “bookish” librarian.  Yes…many of us go into the profession for love of books, reading and research.  But guess what – we STILL get to do that.  We just have more formats at our command.How great is that?!

I suspect these “throw-back” librarians give us all a bad name.

The incident reminded me of  my all-time favorite blog comment:

Librarians WILL care about technological trends and how they affect their jobs in a few years – when the first generation raised on WiFi and high speed internet and web-enabled toilet seats reaches college age.

Guess what. That time has arrived.

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4 Responses to “Please get out of the new road If you can’t lend your hand”


  • To the ones who say “I did not sign up for all this tech stuff,” I say “THEN SIGN OUT!” “Go do something else, PLEASE.” Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving this link!

  • I totally agree and I love the quote!

  • The problem here is that libraries and librarianship is not exclusively about books. So long as we fixate on the book, which is a container that holds information, then we are not going to be focused on the information itself. Like all professions, industries, trades, etc, librarianship cannot shrug its shoulders to technology. That would be like refusing to use tools that help us do our work better.

  • Cathy, Priscilla and Michael,

    This is a post that apparently hit a nerve. Cathy tells me her reflections regarding the issue caused a spike in blog visitors. Same with mine. I think the whole issue is also related to public perception of us as only book people. Many folks think “Librarians are book people. Anyone who can type can find information on the net. Therefore we don’t need librarians anymore.”. So many myths reflected in that statement….. It is hard enough for the techno-savvy librarian to combat those myths. The techno-resistant just reinforce the myth.

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