The last decade has witnessed dramatic upheaval in the creation, publication, and dissemination of information. These changes have occurred during a particularly difficult fiscal climate for libraries of every size and type. The escalated need to keep up to date and the reductions in available resources have collided with the library’s natural resistance to change. As a result libraries today face increasing difficulty providing patrons with the content they want in the form that they desire. The path forward for libraries is via professional training, addressing fiscal problems, and opening ourselves to a culture of change.
up with changes to existing systems can be difficult enough, then add
widely accepted advances in consumer technology and libraries find
patrons asking questions about devices, operating systems, and
applications that may be only hours old. On top of recent changes in
patron attitudes and expectations, add vendor mergers that have resulted
in changes to widely used products such as NetLibrary, and libraries
are constantly reacting to forces outside the library. Continual
training is a concern.
decade has also seen near-universal cuts to library funding as new
technologies and products have become widely available and accessible.
These new technologies are altering business models for content
creators, who are increasingly finding that their best option is to
charge libraries exponentially higher fees to access content in new
formats. Budget cuts and price increases have forced libraries to make
tough choices about providing content. The answer for libraries is often
providing content in fewer available formats for the first time. Fiscal
issues caused by reduced income and new needs are a concern.
years ago I attended a small conference on change in a specialized
field of librarianship. I was very surprised that the conference drew
attendees from all over the country. When I said this to a small group,
they mentioned that there were many more potential participants but
those who did not want to accept the coming changes simply did not show
up. I was shocked that professionals would not attend a conference
directly related to important changes in their daily work simply because
it meant accepting that change was coming. Addressing change is a
libraries know these issues all too well, but are positioned to made
great advances on the path forward. I am honored to be nominated for TLA
Recording Secretary and, if elected, I look forward to working with the
Executive Committee and the membership for Tennessee libraries.