Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Librarian: Trust in Technology

In the rush to embrace new technologies, are we losing our identity as librarians? This is not a question aimed at luddite tendencies which abound in almost all of the professions. Rather, the question is targeted toward tendencies within the profession to place trust in technology as a panacea in all situations, or a misplaced trust in “cutting edge” technologies.

It is a danger to mentally substitute a means for an end in itself. If we do so, we could be doing the patron, the library, and society a disservice. Technology is a means, and a powerful one, and as librarians we have a responsibility to our constituencies to use technology in appropriate ways, to be educated concerning the consequences of inappropriate use, and to imbue our use of technology with the perennial values of librarianship. There will always be “dragons”, but we need to beware of mirages, or the dragon that destroys us could be one of our own design.

Using technology in an appropriate and responsible way, keeping the many needs of our patrons in mind, is not an act of blind faith.

Robert Fox

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