Wednesday, September 2, 2009

250 Words: The Internet Changed Every Thing

Blame it on the Internet. I mean, with FREE access to everything on-line (almost), a philosophy which demands everything in any form of 0's and 1's is information, available to everyone without restriction, Libraries have changed. People want stuff. We want to give it to them.

We're a library. Every thing's on-line, right? So what if we have no control. We used to have control over materials purchased, carefully selected for our public. Now, many come into the Library and don't even look at the shelves, their full attention upon securing the next available computer. It's the Internet. It's the way it is.

There is a curious statement at the top of every SPL job description:
Customers: enjoy a seamless and successful library experience as defined by their own expectations; choose their own method of interaction – staff assisted, self-directed or virtual.

Anyone who comes into the Library has an expectation about what they will receive once inside. They do not have to communicated their expectation to us. If all they want is computer time then that's why we're here. Notice the word "virtual" at the end of the sentence above. Post-modern thinking takes over. They may have to use a computer in a library, but within that computer, and their own little self-contained universe, there are no boundaries. No boundaries is dangerous.

Our philosophy has changed, but not by because of the Internet. I'm not convinced it's a positive change.

Gerald F. Ward

No comments:

Post a Comment