Monday, February 08, 2010

Librarians in Society

Those of you tracking the image of librarians in society will want to read Marilyn Johnson, This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All (New York: HarperCollins, 2010). Johnson, the author of a book about writing obituaries (a great read, by the way), tackles how librarians are making a transition into cyberspace. “In a world where information is a free-for-all, with traditional news sources going bankrupts and publishers in trouble,” Johnson writes, “we need librarians more than ever” (p. 7). As you can tell by this quotation, this is a positive description of what librarians do (and there is a little also about archivists). She describes the efforts by librarians to go online, library blogs, and examines in detail the changes going on at the New York Public Library (and in doing the latter she provides a glimpse of David Ferriero, then the head of the library and now the new Archivist of the U.S.). This is a popular book for a popular audience, and, in my estimation she both confronts and falls prey to stereotypes of librarians. But many of our future students may have read this (I am sure the bookstores will put it in the career sections), so get a leg up on them.

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