Monday, February 11, 2008

It's the new millennium. Do you know where your library is?

Yikes! We are living in the midst of a sea change in information services. Libraries are teetering between the print world and the digital future. We scrutinize licenses anxiously and read articles such as The Ownership Delusion in the AALL Spectrum for February, 2008. This article is subtitled "Are Law libraries Really Getting More by Buying Electronic Documents, or Simply Paying More?" Questions like these interfere with the law librarian's sound slumber!

So do questions like:

* Will there be law libraries in 10 years?
* Will there be any librarians left in 20 years?
* Will we be able to access laws more than 2 years old in the future?
* Will anybody care?

I am proud to be part of a profession that at least is trying to tackle these questions and assure the (ungrateful?) future's access to legal information and history. Lawyers don't usually think they will need an out-of-date statute -- right up until it's key to their case. Judges may not think about whether they will be able to read their own decisions -- unless they are grumbling about buying them back from legal publishers and online providers. Librarians are the ones who worry about such access 24/7, and are working to solve the problems. We may not be able to solve all the problems by ourselves, but we know how to tug on sleeves until we put together teams that can fix the problem.

I hope there are librarians in the future. I believe they are going to be needed, even if our patrons and great-grandchildren of patrons don't know it yet!

The image decorating this little rant/celebration is from . I like the ominous look to this celebration, which may be a bonfire or a conflagration. It suits how I feel about my profession and its uncertain future. The site seems to be an image archive for indivuals and I believe the image I chose was actually taken by Tor Amumdson.

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