Monday, September 2, 2013

The Changing Worldview of Librarianship

As someone who has zero library experience, this weeks reading helped elaborate what the emerging role of new librarianship is and what it hopes to achieve.  The central theme of worldview struck me as odd, not because I don't believe that each profession has a worldview, but because I've never thought about libraries in that capacity.  Prior to entering the iSchool my view of librarianship was primarily a collection space where information was gathered and organized. I had no idea that there was a competing worldview, one that viewed libraries as community spaces and librarians as people who facilitate knowledge creation.

The Atlas of New Librarianship suggests that this is not the first time that libraries have evolved.  The example of libraries changing their role from Alexandria to the first free public library in Philadelphia shows that libraries are not static and either are librarians.  Part of the reason I choose to pursue Library Science was because I've always enjoyed learning and rather than spending seven years in school trying to get a Phd, I could assist others in learning through the library. I didn't realize that librarians had such an active role, I always assumed a librarian took on a much more passive one.  One that helped the individual as needed, but one that did not openly engage the community.  

After doing the reading it became apparent that the ways in which librarians serve the community is a central concept to new librarianship.  That libraries are a place of knowledge creation rather than just a collection space is crucial to the emerging worldview of libraries.  As communities continue to change, it is the libraries responsibility to remain a viable asset to that community.  This can only be achieved if both the community and the library agree to the social compact that exists between them.  

I have only been in the iSchool for a week and already my perviously held views of librarianship have been proven wrong.  The library is many things and has many definitions, but central to the new worldview of libraries and librarians is an active relationship with the community.      

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