A recent op-ed article from The New York Times gave me some pause. “Reinventing the Library,” although well-intentioned, leaves me feeling like I can’t help but go on the defense. Bear with me, here.
The article argues that librarians today wear more hats than they previously did. Which is true! I have played the role of social worker, travel agent, and babysitter more times than I can count during my five years serving the public. And while our library staff does our best to help patrons, we always remind them that they would be better off consulting a professional to solve the aforementioned types of issues. (Unless they’re leaving their kids in the library for hours on end, then we give them a stern talking to. Pro tip: Please don’t do that.)
What sparked this post was one comment in the article: “[T]he role of librarians could be drafted by diversifying their mandate, but such restructuring must also ensure that the librarians’ primary purpose is not forgotten: to guide readers to their books.”
Bone, let me pick you for a bit.