Not Just Hip

When a writer goes looking for young Turks (my words, not Scott’s), you should expect the story to include some brash quotes (writers are supposed to have a chip of ice in their hearts, after all). On the other hand, we’re librarians, so how brash can we be?

Scott Carlson’s Young Librarians, Talkin’ ‘Bout Their Generation in The Chronicle this week did it better than most articles: rather than showing how hip or geeky we are, it asks us about the future. And it asks without overly romanticizing the shelves of paper-bound books that our users so identify with us or presupposing that Google will p0wn us.

The answers are good, definitely worth a look. Though I regret that the selected quote from my long-ish interview with Scott didn’t reflect on more of the good work and great people in libraries. Especially now, as code4lib2008 planning is kicking into gear, and with the number of projects on the table — Evergreen, Koha, Blacklight, and VuFind, just to name a few.

The future of libraries is a big, wide open question, but here are two things I’m certain of: Our very notions of the nature of information need to evolve, and we need to move quickly to build libraries that are as relevant to the next hundred years as our adored Carnegie libraries were to the last.