You may be wondering about the meaning behind the tagline for DLTJ:
We’re Disrupted, We’re Librarians, and We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore
If you’ll pardon the crude analogy, I’d like to borrow from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ On Death and Dying — the Five Stages of Grieving: “The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost.”
Without intending disrespect for Dr. Kübler-Ross’ work and the seriousness surrounding the death of loved ones, I offer that the library profession is in mourning — mourning a time when users had to use information our way. A time when they came, seemingly eagerly, to bibliographic instruction sessions to learn about how to use our tools. A time when the library was a place to do serious research and the social hub atmosphere was secondary; not the reverse as is sometimes described today. A time when we were “in the loop” of research because our scholars had no choice but to come to us for some of the raw materials as they build new knowledge.
I still haven’t had a chance to put thoughts to bits-on-disk on why, in Christensen meaning of the term, the library profession is facing time of disruptive technology. But if you take for granted for a moment that you feel disrupted — a kind of loss — where do you fit in these stages?
- Perhaps you don’t think you are being disrupted. Or perhaps you think it is only happening to the institution down the road, or across the state, or to only the public/academic/school librarian (pick one you are not). Yet how do you account for the drop in gate counts? Or the decrease in reference questions, yet the ones you get are of a more sophisticated nature than you used to get (anecdotally, at least)? Or the decline of circulation in the median ARL Library?
- Who created this darn internet thing anyway? Don’t patrons know that we have the best stuff? All of that information out there on that internet thing can’t be trusted. You’ll come back to us soon, and we’ll teach you how to search for information the right way.
- Hmmm — okay, the patrons are out there using Google. Let’s links to all of our content in Google and lead them back to us. They’ll want to stick around when they come through the Google door, then we can teach them how to search for information the right way.
- They didn’t come back. Is there a future for libraries? Will we just become the place for musty old books?
- Now let’s talk. We’re Disrupted, We’re Libraries, and We’re Not Going to Take It Anymore.
What stage are you in?