librarians are doomed (again)

many years ago, librarians existed in droves and a new-fangled invention called the Internet was still in its infancy stages. the MLIS was/still is a respectable degree with several job options. but no one could have predicted that Google and other search engines would wind up besting the librarians at their own game: reference and research assistance. back in the day, students had to spend hours in a large room filled with books and converse with live human beings, often dressed in moth-eaten sweaters and over-sized glasses (yes, i’m exaggerating the librarian stereotype), in order to locate information for that Psych 101 term paper that was left all by its lonesome until 3 days before the due date. now, they can simply sit back in their PJ’s and find exactly what they need after a few clicks of the mouse (if they’re a PC person).

so what does this mean for librarians? are they really doomed to spend their careers locating lost sets of keys rather than teaching patrons how to utilize the computer? this might be typical for public libraries. but in the corporate library where i work, foot traffic isn’t as heavy and we don’t have to kick people out past closing time. here is a list of the top LIS schools as of 2013. they all have their merits and downsides, like any educational institution. but with budget cuts, changing professions, and the Internet takeover occurring simultaneously, are MLIS programs in danger of becoming obsolete? this is not the first time we’ve heard that librarians are a dying breed (thanks, Google!). as long as people show continued interest in libraries and the folks who strive to make them a better place, then perhaps we’re not as doomed as the Internet claims us to be.

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