I have expressed in previous posts my opposition to the mentality that libraries are not important in the digital world. Today, I would like to offer a different approach using history as my guide. History is one of my favorite subjects and a source of answers to all problems that humanity has acquired through the centuries.
If you do an online search about the oldest libraries in the world, what you will find is that all legitimate sources mention the libraries of the ancient world. More specifically, you will find information about ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Mesopotamian libraries. These libraries are known and famous. These libraries were organized but they were not the first ones. You may have read my post about the “Stone Library” close to the Peruvian city Ica. We are talking about information carved in stone. This is not an organized library, at least not based on the idea of organization that people have today. It is, however, a library and so are all the caves in prehistoric times with representations of the daily life of humans on their walls. People, from the beginning of their time on earth, were storing information any way they could. Also, in all cases, there were information keepers who would gather, store/carve/write/type (depending on the time period and its technology), protect, maintain, and disseminate the information.
Now, we can return to the digital era. Granted that in the future most if not all works will be digitized and even accepting the sad fact that books will be reduced, still we need libraries and librarians. The role of the library and the librarian will not change at all and their importance will remain the same. The digitized works and information, along with any physical items, will require a home. This home will be the library. Somebody will have to gather, digitize, protect, maintain, and disseminate these works and information. This somebody will be the librarian. The librarian will also continue assisting users with technology, teaching information literacy, and helping educators to create online lessons for their classes. Furthermore, people and especially children will have a place (library) to go where they will be able to find the real treasures of humanity, a person (librarian) to consult about their informational needs, and a place (commons) to sit with classmates and work together on school projects. Concluding, based on the above, I don’t see how it is possible to eliminate libraries and librarians. Do you?