Are you ready to change?

It’s not a trick question.  You don’t have to drive the change, just be a part.  Sometimes, it’s hard to see what we need to change until someone points it out anyway.

All statements are prefaced by “Within the next five years…”

#3…the majority of reference questions will be answered through Google Answer or something
like it. There will no longer be reference desks or reference offices in the library. Instead,
public services staff offices will be located outside the physical library. Metasearching will
render reference librarians obsolete.

What provocative statement would you add?

Thanks Chuck T. for the link.

Contributor: Lee

4 thoughts on “Are you ready to change?”

  1. Poor guys, they wrote those statements in 2006 probably amidst a serious bout of self doubt. I think that their provocative statements assume that the megainfocorporations will just abandon their copyrights or copyright will resolve itself. These companies are consolidated enough that they can dictate prices and practices to the market, and their shareholders would not have them change that at all. Also am I the only one who has found most metasearch utilities to be dreadfully inaccurate? Google abandoned answers and Yahoo answers is a glorified forum with no real attempt at expertise. Their staffing crack is laughable. If more library workers had programming abilities,either more in-house developed products and open source resources would be used or they would flee the profession for greener pa$tures.

  2. Interesting insight about library staff -I wonder what systems we can put in place to better answer the questions/queries we get? Surely we can improve tremendously on the success rate we get through traditional reference channels. Good stuff -thanks for thinking through their statements to challenge traditional ideas.

  3. The Taiga Steering Committee is working on an update to these provocative statements for 2008-2009. We’ll have some new and/or revised ones later in the year.

    While Google Answer may be gone, it’s interesting to note the number of reference and instruction librarians setting up shop in student unions, academic buildings on campus — taking their skills out to where users are. Some directors are talking about closing reference desks. There seems to be much thinking about effectively tying library resources into Blackboard and other course management systems. I even heard about one initiative where the library aligned itself with other “information providers” on campus, including Health Services, Bursar, etc.

    So while metasearching may be a red herring, the idea of the “separateness” of the reference desk — or even the library itself–may be diminishing — in favor of the library “embedded” in the teaching and learning mission?

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