Tuesday, May 22, 2007

UKSG write-up: Fantastic Adventures

T. Scott Plutchak of the University of Alabama at Birmingham diverted us with his presentation, the final one of the morning, "The Librarian: Fantastic Adventures in the Digital World".

Plutchak clearly is an advocate and passionate supporter of both new innovations and the role of the information specialist.

For him, it is the librarian who is important, and not the library. They are not synonyms.

So what does the librarian do in the digital age, and how does this fit in with the dictionary definition of them as 'a specialist in care/management of a library' (Webster's Dictionary)?

Well, argues Plutchak, the librarian connects people to knowledge ... but why keep in the building to do that? Why not take the leap out into the world?

Libraries are not irrelevant or inessential ... but they are becoming less relevant.

Move into technologies, repositories, be the bringers of digital knowledge and be a specialist wherever you go ... MySpace, Facebook, Second Life ... don't just interact and stand still ... make an effort to 'get out there'.

Is, in fact, the great age of librarians just beginning?

An excellent presentation, this gave tremendous food for thought as we headed for the first buffet lunch of the conference.


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