Sunday, October 16, 2011
Shannon O'Neill: "Libraries are always in a state of transformation"
Op-Art: Checking Out, by Shannon O'Neill, Archivists and Reference Librarian at the Atlantic City Free Public Library. (The New York Times, 10/15/2011)
Excerpt: Libraries are always in a state of transformation: as the means of information production and consumption change, so do libraries. We exist to help you navigate complex systems of information, whether it’s the bureaucracy of the welfare system or a pile of dusty boxes filled with archival documents. This is an increasingly necessary service in a society that is ever more reliant upon data.
What has changed, and will continue to change, is the library’s appearance. The way the library looks today is drastically different from the way it did 50 years ago. Many of the visual cues of library-ness are vanishing. When we moved to automated and integrated library systems, we no longer had a need for iconic items like card catalogs or stamps for due dates.