Techno Savvy or Not

Two synchronous bits:

From the IM survey, which I guess should have included more open ended questions, as noted in some of the comments I’ve received. This is good to know and maybe the next go round, I’ll have more of that open, qualitative type inquiry. I still have 2000+ qualitative replies from the Blog People survey! Anyway:

It is cool to open up IM and see exactly who among my colleagues is on it at the time. I must confess I notice that a few of my colleagues set up account but never ever use them, which I think is a shame. Perhaps you could say that IM divided the library staff into techno-savvy and techno-not…

Wow, does IM create a divide between the staff that use it and those who don’t? That’s another question for sure! It might in some libraries be the case: staff that actively IM point out to non-IMers just that, they don’t IM!

Then, there’s this post at The Torn Librarian:

Don’t get me wrong, I like technology as much as the next person. Probably more so than the next person. But I am getting pretty tired of witnessing what seems to be a schism within the professional library world. A deepening schism that is showing no signs of relenting:

Savvy vs Un-savvy

What is this you ask? Well, the savvy are the people that are comfortable and/or enthusiastic about technology and its implementation in the library (Wikis, Blogs, RSS feeds, Chat Reference, etc…). The un-savvy are the ones that demand an entire row of shelving so that they can still have physical access to the National Union Catalog, Pre-1956 Imprints. Now, is chat reference bad? Well no, we’d have to say it isn’t. At least, not in any inherent sort of way. Is the NUC a waste of space? Well no, I can’t tell you how many times that blessed catalogue has pulled my bacon out of the fire while answering a reference question for class, or helping a patron at the reference desk.

Absolutely. I’m all about a helpful resource, online or in print. I hope we are working toward a balance, and that will be part of the role of the flexible professional: to use whatever tools (Web 2.0 or the tried and true) to get folks together with the information they seek.


I see people like Michael Stephens, Jenny Levine, and Stephen Abrams making the professional circuit at this conference and that but…what about us? What about your future colleagues? Why aren’t you people talking to LIS students? I mean directly talking to us, not just hoping that we surf by your blog or spend our non-existent dollars to get to some conference or other to hear you speak.

Oh Torn Librarian, I’ve been very lucky in the last year to talk with 40+ LIS students, hopefully openly and as transparently as possible, I wish you could have been there. I’m excited for my future colleagues coming out of Dominican and Indiana University and all the other LIS schools and wish for them the same thing: balance. I actually discussed that with a couple of the Dominican faculty in my interview: teaching the core principles of librarianship is absolutely as important if not more important that teaching Web 2.0. The top of the list: a newly minted librarian eager to roll with waves of constant change! That said, we can’t ignore the reality that more and more job descriptions may read like this in the next few years: Next Generation Librarian:

Creates communication venues and distributes content via digital tools such as blogs and wikis for the library system website; Develops and delivers library instruction through podcasts and multimedia webcasts; promotes community via new technologies within the library and virtually via IM and other emerging communication mechanisms; enhances the WSU Library System web presence with current content and methods for distribution such as RSS; investigates and implements new technologies that may enhance the Library System’s web presence; provides training and support for other librarians on new technologies; maintains currency in information technology, librarianship, and instructional design; collaborates with other librarians to develop shared resources in support of the Libraries’ mission and strategic directions; collaborates with other librarians to perform outreach and communicate information about the Libraries’ online resources and services to clients…

So, cool, let’s talk.