Technological advances have continued to change the way we live and the way we work for centuries. Due to the exponential growth of technology, this pattern not only continues today, but it happens even faster and faster. In this article, we will focus on how technological advances have impacted one specific profession: librarianship.
Technology has changed the way in which people communicate, and has created new possibilities for transmitting culture, information, education, and knowledge. Pedagogy, with its teaching, learning and research methods, has evolved due to technology, up to the point that these methods are now more varied and dynamic.
The new information and communication technologies are not only part of huge transformations in the economic aspect of the world, but they also have direct consequences in communication, culture, society, and politics, among others. The information and communication technologies have huge consequences in almost every aspect of life. The fast progress of these technologies brings unprecedented opportunities for reaching the highest levels of progress. This is why the capability of information and communication technologies to reduce lots of traditional obstacles, especially time and distance, make it possible, for the first time in history, to use this benefit for millions of people all over the world.
In the use of technology, the library must be the first to embrace these changes in order to help and support the growth of communities. Since the library is a symbol of progress anywhere in the world, a library with technology must develop information skills and competences in its users. Current users are not the same ones as last century’s users. Now, every kid is a native of this technological era, while adults are migrants to it. Kids nowadays see it as something completely normal. For example, if you offer a young child a smartphone, tablet or laptop, without giving any instructions on how to use it, it will only take a matter of minutes for them to understand the device. In this way, we can see the influence of technology on children. It’s clear that technology captivates their minds, as well as everyone’s with access to these tools. So, are the librarians prepared for being mediators and guides in the access to information that is necessary for this “technological” society?
Reality tells us that there is a lot of work to do on the technological side of many libraries. There are basically two reasons for this: one is the economic aspect, which applies to certain areas and certain libraries, and there is not much we can do about that. But the second aspect lies with the personal knowledge or capacity of each librarian, and this is somewhere we can act.
Librarianship & Technology
The modern librarian needs to be a permanent researcher, able to create knowledge in order to share it. Nowadays, blogs, social network, and virtual rooms are used for facilitating the discussion of projects or literature as a new way of learning. Libraries have also taken advantage of these tools to promote themselves and their services. Likewise, an informative bulletin can be created and published on the internet for making the library’s services and activities known to the public. In this way, the user is updated with information of interest.
These days, it is a priority for a librarian to develop their skills in the usage of technology to keep up with the technological advances of these times. A modern librarian should not see how technology keeps growing without doing anything about it. It is completely necessary for them to have good informatics knowledge; which can be achieved with extra courses or a career that specifically prepares librarians for current technology, such as this one.
In this way, the participation of Librarians’ Associations and Librarianship Schools are very important. They should offer courses and training, not only in librarianship, but also in informatics. And they need to be at a very low cost, so that everyone involved in librarianship can afford it.
The amount of electronic resources available to manipulate, produce, store, and move information will continue to grow, up to the point of substituting paper-based resources in the future. If the vertiginous current growth rate of technology is maintained, professionals who graduate in librarianship will soon become obsolete, unless they are thoroughly trained in informatics and technological tools.