Thursday, February 02, 2006

Quote of the Day: Steal This One!

Yesterday I gave my first talk that focused heavily on the new Perceptions report. The format was a familiar one for library meetings: I spoke for about 40 minutes, then three panelists responded, and finally, we had questions and answers.

The report was well-received by the audience, the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education's Library Council (SOCHE). The discussion was lively, but Kathleen Webb, the Interim Dean of University Libraries at the University of Dayton, had the quote of the day. As one of the panelists, she discussed the question we all seem to hear so often: "If all of this information is available on the web, why do we still need libraries?" She responded, "I haven't heard anyone talk about outsourcing career counseling on campus to!"

This puts the question in the right context: what value do we (or, for that matter, campus career counselors) add to the infosphere? When we can answer that question in a compelling way, we go a long way to ensuring the future viability of libraries.

Incidentally, SOCHE is planning a conference called "Academic Libraries in a Googlized World" at the Nutter Center at Wright State University in Dayton on May 3. If you're in the neighborhood, this looks like it could be an excellent learning opportunity.

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