Thursday, January 15, 2015

The library: just how obsolete?

If you are a reader of this blog, you probably like libraries and maybe even (gasp) use a library yourself. You might not be aware that many, many people, hearing the response "I'm a librarian" to "What do you do?" blurt out, "Really? I thought libraries were kind of obsolete now!"

For a bunch of obvious reasons (well, again, obvious to readers of this blog, anyway), that is not the case. However, I do admit that sometimes, sometimes, we might project an image that would encourage people to think so. Cases in point:

  • I had to tell someone that I might not be able to make her a 'book a librarian' appointment for help with Windows 8, as not a single machine at the library has that operating system on it yet.
  • At the college, I was cataloging a new book that had been published in Frankfurt. What I do there isn't real cataloging, it's called copy cataloging. That is, someone has already made an electronic record with information about the book--when it was published, its title, its author, etc.--and I just take that record and adapt it for our library. I noticed that the premade record for this book had the 'country' field set to "West Germany." I looked through the list of preset options--I could alter this to "East Germany," but not simply to "Germany." Okay, I thought, this can't possibly be happening, so I checked with my boss. Her response? "I know, just pick one. That system is not exactly up-to-date."
  • We just got a new phone at one of the information desks at the public library. It has been blinking as though it has a voicemail for two weeks, but it doesn't. Not a single person on staff can make it stop, despite many of us trying.
  • At the college library, someone brought me an 'atlas of wildlife' from 1973--"No record upon check-in." How many species have gone extinct since then!?

1 comment:

  1. not obsolete, just under-funded!