Being a librarian at this time, is both exciting and challenging. Despite all the negative that is circulating about demise of the (ink-on-paper) book, I firmly believe that books, as well as libraries and librarians will be around for a long while. All will adapt accordingly to meet the needs of their community.
About the ink-on-paper book: Writers will continue to write creative works that need to be promoted and displayed in windows and shelves. People need to be able to browse through it, pass it over to someone else, leave it behind on vacation.The book is a product, a physical item that represents a creative piece of work, and all formats that follow are means of sharing . A piece of art is an expression of an artists creative thought, and digitizing is a way of sharing that image, A movie is released in theaters, pressed on DVD, and available online. When dealing with a creative piece the best way to be introduced, and promoted is to have a tangible product. After this point, it has a life of its own, and its success or failure is based on public opinion, and a successful promotional campaign.
With the introduction of digital readers, comments that “books are doomed” and libraries are in trouble were heard everywhere. Libraries are hurting, just as many other institutions are hurting during this time of economic hardships, however it is not because e readers entered the picture. Digitization is just another format to share a creative piece. As the movie industry has a set release structure: concept, screenplay, movie, DVD, streaming, so too, the book industry has: concept, hardcover, paperback, digital. In my previous career I ushered in the movie-to-video age, and there was never any talk about the demise of the movie industry, and there hasn’t been, has there?
As far as Librarianship as a career, I would continue with that path, knowing that it is an ever-changing field. Know that it is no different from any other career in that you bring to the table a unique skill that you have, and change is inevitable. Books , electronic devices, internet are all part of the sharing of information. Finding, sorting, navigating and empowering is the larger part of this career.
Libraries are still the beacon for information and education. Without them, there would be no trace in the future as to who we are now or where we came from. How information is formatted and dispersed is not the issue here, rather it is the ability of accessing information in the future. Libraries and Librarians will always be needed, no matter what the shape or form. They are running right along side as we move forward cataloging, labeling and dispersing information making sure we know where we came from, so we have a clear vision as to where we are going.