Posting to Autocat
There is a recent podcast from Marina Orlova, a young women the New Yorker (apparently) named “The Sexiest Philologist in the World.” I guess she is popular on US television, but I haven’t seen her before. She makes videos about words, and here is one where she predicts the end of libraries http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H77NkVH_Mo8. She follows the popular idea that libraries = physical books (or other physical information sources).
Although I don’t agree with her, it does come back to the point I made earlier about the movie “Night at the Museum” where the fellow goes, instead of to the library, to Barnes & Noble to learn about the items in the museum. All I have noticed that has changed in the popular movies and TV is that if people need some information, they “Google it” *plus* they always find it easily. It seems that only in the Harry Potter films has the library with its incredible books really been seen in the popular eye as a vital place to find information.
So I will agree with Marina Orlova in so far that in the popular mind, people need libraries much less than before and equate them with books, instead of equating libraries with the information they need. (Students writing papers and researchers are a different community, but the focus is still on books) It does seem logical to assume that “libraries as places” may fall apart as the web grows and budgets fall. Librarians must adapt to this environment, in the sense that libraries need to concentrate on supplying people with the information they need and not focus so much on their individual collections. Naturally, the evolution of the library’s catalog to help provide access to this greater information will play a critical role.
From her bio page, her youtube channel is the 57th most popular of all time, http://www.hotforwords.com/bio/, which makes what she says far more influential with the general populace than anything from librarians. Therefore, she has access to lots of people out there. If she says libraries are going away, then there are many in her audience who will probably believe her.