Review of Reference Reborn in Against the Grain

Nice to see this review of reference reborn. I have a chapter in the book on tracking tech trends.
However, like telephone service, reference service has been transformed by the digital age. This work attempts as the subtitle says to bring “new life into public services librarianship.” The world of the Internet has truly transformed the way in which information is delivered to readers. This book refers to the vast forests of unused reference tomes languishing on bookshelves, while lightning fast reference service is delivered via texting on seamless Web connections that never fail. A new generation of Web savvy information providers are springing forth from rejuvenated library schools to serve the twittering masses. Former reference “tools” which were actually removed from shelves, opened, consulted, and analyzed to answer reference questions, are now replaced by comprehensively indexed Web search engines that spew out relevant documents reflecting a variety of viewpoints on any topic. Readers’ Advisory Services of the past have been replaced by the Oprah Winfrey show and other talk shows that help the reader “find themselves through literature.” Why would any information provider actually want to suggest a client read anything beside the latest Lisbeth Salander adventure anyway? Instead of being a reference librarian waiting quietly (it’s a library remember) behind a tall counter for the next patron, the new model “trend tracking, data analyst, IT troubleshooter, staffing and marketing specialist” will blast forth from the library portal seeking new worlds to enlighten.

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