Moving from Guardian to Guide

A recent Tweet from a librarian acquaintance came off sounding and feeling surprisingly old fashioned as it passed along my screen. Her 140-character message in effect asserted that “all librarians want to get folks into the library.” Well, no, not so much. Times and technology have changed. The presentation to prospective users of Library as Destination may have suited a community when communication media were limited, dependence on expertise included leaving typing to a stenographer and content evaluation to a librarian, and the ability to decode written language was the sum of “literacy.”

When the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Metro New York chapter (ACRL/NY) held its annual symposium earlier this month, the focus was information without borders, a topic that has been receiving attention from all types of library folk beyond the academic.  Lane Wilkinson’s presentation at the symposium, while aimed at a regional academic audience, has a lot of worth for all of us.

Skills That Transfer: Transliteracy and the Global Librarian (ACRL/NY 2011 Symposium) is an excellent introduction to our changing responsibilities in a multi-channel world, where the need to know is not just how to be effective in using those multiple channels, but also how to make effective use of the content they can provide.  Wilkinson offers three specific principles with which we all need to spend time:

  • If we are to be effective in our information use, we must consult multiple sources.
  • These information sources aren’t silos, but necessarily interact with each other.
  • The cognitive skill building we do should transfer across platforms.
Check out the slide show. Check out the bibliography. Oh, and check that presumption that a librarian’s job is to guard the goods.