"Every time I see a glimmer of hope or a flash of something exciting going on in the library world, it usually fast fades into a charades of politics and committee-shuffle. I'm too impatient for this, and I seriously think the world is, too ; it will race past us as we decide on who's going to chair what committee, who'll take notes, and how we're reporting progress to what group. Also since these glimmers of hope usually is attached to specific people more than institutions or organizations, whenever that person goes or moves, so does the glimmer. Again, because we're not traditionally in the business of technical development, we're so fragile..."
It is unfortunate that Mr. Johannesen is so frustrated. Yet, I do think that the perspective he offers as a programmer coming into the library profession is an important one. One could try to argue the culture and problems he encountered are unique to his library, but we all know better.
This quickly brought to mind Stephen Abram's quote:
Just yesterday, I had lunch with a colleague who is not a librarian, but whose current and previous positions have allowed her to work closely with libraries and librarians. Our various discussion topics always seemed to loop back around to the culture of libraries, resistance to change, and the need to process EVERYTHING.
"librarians like to process things to death, and death wasn't the original goal."
Another colleague also told me yesterday that earlier in the day they were in a two hour library meeting to discuss plans for a one hour meeting.
What's the deal with us, folks??!!
What also concerns me is that Mr. Johannesen is a self admitted "mid-life-crisis-aged" individual. What will happen when the younger generation begins to enter the profession? The next generation of library scientists graduating from library schools will be hardwired to naturally accept the technology driven/focused definition of a library. Will this culture embedded in the 'legacy' librarians reaching retirement bubble simply be handed off to the next generation, or, will the next generation finally force a culture shift?
I am fairly confident that Mr. Johannesen is not alone in his frustration about the library culture and maybe even with his unwillingness to wait for that shift to occur. Sphere: Related Content