The Library as You Know It is Dead

A touch dramatic, but trust me with the way some of my coworkers are acting it might as well has been true.

So the library system I work for hasn’t had a job descriptions update in at least 12, maybe even 16 years and even then it wasn’t much of one. They added a few details and a couple of new positions for those new fangled computers, but the job descriptions and expectations for most things were still pretty ’80s, maybe early ’90s.

If you’ve been in a library at any point in the past 20 years you’re well aware that public libraries have been changing rapidly. Hell, the idea of the library as a silent hideaway of books wasn’t true even in the ’80s. Libraries have long  been places where important information and entertainment can be obtained, but they’ve also had a history of being a gathering place for the community be it through life skills classes on finance or cooking, child enrichment with early literacy focused story times, or even neutral ground people can come to for certain legal matters.

Libraries aren’t getting rid of books anytime soon, so please ignore any doomsday prophecies there of. Nor are libraries going away. Libraries are community driven centers of entertainment, learning, and life enhancement and offer more than materials like books, DVDs, and CDs. Libraries can introduce you to new technology, offer private meeting places, classes  in a variety of subjects. Hell, my library circulates ukuleles!

My point is library needs have changed and my library decided that they needed to update job descriptions and expectations to meet those needs and changes. This was a mostly behind the scenes kind of thing, though some changes are definitely obvious to the public. It was a system wide, massive overhaul where no one was left untouched so it wasn’t just adding or even subtracting a position. Everyone was given a new job title and job responsibilities (though not really anything outside of what people where capable of and several people, myself included, got a nice raise out of it). There’s been a lot of belly-aching from people who were comfortable in their job and don’t like their new role in the system. People who think helping the public with their resumes, job applications, printing, etc isn’t real “library work”.

Well, I don’t know what to say to those people because while there are definitely some flaws with certain new directives and a number of growing pains, I think the change is positive and will benefit not just the library employees, but more importantly the public we serve. Also as a public library we serve the public in the capacity they need, so if they need help with resumes or job applications it’s definitely real library work.

So yeah, the library you know is dead but odds are it was never really there in the first place.

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One thought on “The Library as You Know It is Dead

  1. Pingback: Budget Woahs: Adjusting the Budget | Square Peg, Round Hole

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