Library 2.0, techie profession
July 7th, 2007

Many lines of work have been changed significantly in digital times. The following is the conclusion of a New York Times story called ‘A Hipper Crowd of Shushers’ about how librarians have been changed by the influx of information technology into their once stogy and silent domains:

Jessamyn West, 38, an editor of ‘Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out’ a book that promotes social responsibility in librarianship, and the librarian behind the Web site (its tagline is ‘putting the rarin’ back in librarian since 1999′) agreed that many new librarians are attracted to what they call the ‘Library 2.0’ phenomenon. ‘It’s become a techie profession,’ she said.

In a typical day, Ms. West might send instant and e-mail messages to patrons, many of who do their research online rather than in the library. She might also check Twitter, MySpace and other social networking sites, post to her various blogs and keep current through MetaFilter and RSS feeds. Some librarians also create Wikis or podcasts.

At the American Librarian Association’s annual conference last month in Washington, there were display tables of graphic novels, manga and comic books. In addition to a panel called ‘No Shushing Required,’ there were sessions on social networking and zines and one called ‘Future Friends: Marketing Reference and User Services to Generation X.’

On a Saturday, after a day of panels, a group of librarians relaxed and danced at Selam Restaurant. Sarah Mercure nursed a blueberry vodka and cranberry juice and talked about deciding on her career after hearing a librarian who curated a zine collection speak. Pete Welsch, a D.J., spun records and talked about how his interest in social activism, film and music led him to library school.

But some librarians have found the job can be at odds with their outside cultural interests.

‘I went to see a band a few weeks ago with old co-workers and turned to one and said ‘Is it just me or is this really, really loud?’ ‘ said Ms. Klein, the former publicist. Her friend, she said, ‘laughed and said, ‘You have librarian ears now.’ ‘

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