Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Blog reply to Not a Crisis, a Transition

I find this difficult to agree with. When the Google Books-Publishers agreement is eventually approved (and it will be someday if not very soon), I am sure that our patrons will want it. (I for one, will want it very much!) And it will be impossible to hold out against these people because if librarians say anything like, “Subscribing to Google Books is not a good deal. I am doing this to protect YOUR best interests,” nobody will believe it. The result would be merely to confirm the idea that librarians are dinosaurs from an earlier time and risk exposing ourselves to general ridicule.

After all, I think people would be correct to ridicule any librarian who wanted to deny patrons access to the riches of Google books–that is, if the patrons want it. And I can’t imagine any patron saying no.

Scholarly communication is changing in almost every way at a frighteningly fast pace, and it is only logical to assume that it will continue in this way for a long, long time. I have welcomed many of the changes, but many others I find quite negative. I’m sure this love-hate will continue as new changes occur. But if librarians are to survive, I think we will have to represent openness and inclusion much more than closed stacks and some anachronicstic idea that we are there to ensure some level of “quality”.

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