I’ve had some great conversations this week about the role of librarians in the future. Most of these have arisen from the LITA session on libraries in 2023 that I didn’t attend, but I did listen to via the LITA Podcast. These conversations have been really interesting. We’ve talked about reference librarians who don’t necessarily work the reference desk and librarians as content creators. Fascinating stuff for a library geek.
I’ve been going on and on about librarians needing to create content for a while now. One of the particularly interesting conversations I’ve had was about the definition of creation. As one of my colleagues pointed out, if we’re filming a lecture and providing the video online to our community, we’re not actually content creators. We’re video creators. However, if we are creating pathfinders, we’re doing some level of creation, even if it’s just in the collection of specific works. If we’re creating information literacy games, we’re content creating.
Rather than answers, this leaves me thinking about the nature of creation in the culture of the library. I figure it’s pretty easy for us to agree that we should continue along the traditional lines of library work with preservation (through video, etc.), indexing, organizing, etc. of locally important content. But should we extend this further to capture and index as much locally created material as possible? Would this extend to student work on blogs or wikis (as one of my colleagues asked earlier this week)? What about actual creation of information by librarians through blogs or websites or games? Is this very different from bound indexes that librarians used to create before the days of excel files and easy word processing? If it isn’t different, why does it seem that a lot of librarians aren’t interested in contemporary content creation while there are indexes around to prove that this was an interest in creation in the past?
I’m still thinking a lot about this content creation business. It’s still pretty muddled in my mind. If you have any insights, please let me know!