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Bleak future for Librarians?

The New York Times, Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, Published: April 29, 2004

The Wired Library?

To the Editor:

Re"Libraries Wired, and Reborn'' (April 22), on Internet connectivity as a boon to public libraries:

The shift of focus in today's public libraries from books to computers and the Internet is a disaster for those of us holding the master of library and information science degree. Because most patrons now use libraries primarily for computer access, the librarian's profession has disintegrated into little more than computer kiosk sign-in clerk.

Because you don't need an expert to help you log into your e-mail or assist you with online dating service searches (these are all examples of common "reference'' requests), librarianship is no longer seen as a real profession by the public. The resulting lack of status is reflected in pay cuts and a lack of truly professional jobs for those of us who hold the degree.

I happily left the profession to work in the corporate world, where my job consists of more than keeping track of the computer sign-in sheets. Over the next few years, I expect colleagues to follow suit.

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