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Friday, September 13, 2013

A Day in the Life*, part 3

(With apologies to Lennon and McCartney)

I read the news today, oh boy
About some libraries that closed in schools...

Today's edition of www.philly.com featured an article lamenting the closing of libraries of two of its flagship schools, Central High School and Masterman High School.

I don't care about the reasons why, but everyone involved should be deeply ashamed of themselves.

The librarians who didn't stay relevant, or market themselves and their services aggressively enough so that hearts and minds were converted;

The teachers and principals who still saw their school librarian as Marian Paroo (The Music Man), not realizing that underneath the prim and proper exterior was the wily, crafty, intelligent woman who was able to help "River City out of the serious trouble that it's in";

The taxpaying citizens of any locality who think that the real work of a librarian can be done by non-degreed customer service associates; who think that reference work begins and ends with Wikipedia;

And don't get me started with elected officials.

There's a fine balance between doing what's expedient and doing what's right.  Right now, the balance is so skewed towards expediency I'm not sure it will ever be right again.  It could be argued that what's right is changing--I know the way in which libraries serve their collective patrons is changing, even if the basic mission remains the same--so we as librarians have to change our approach to marketing and service.  We can do that.  We must.

*--John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967.

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