Very Special Librarian

As both a librarian and a teacher I'm upset and dismayed that USC has decided to close its graduate School of Library Science, one of the better ones in the country. This move seems to be part of a nationwide trend based on the assumption that with the development of computers to retrieve information, librarians will become increasingly less necessary. I believe this assumption is wrong, and detrimental to education and the business of information retrieval.

Key words in education are "equal access to information." This isn't done by machines--even the most user-friendly--that respond with succinct lists of call numbers and titles, but by trained librarians who can think imaginatively about ways of tracking down information. Furthermore, as computers become more entrenched in libraries, reference librarians will become even more essential to negotiate the complicated systems, such as the law libraries' lexis.

Without new, well-trained and well-paid librarians, libraries will turn into huge warehouses, offering the same non-service as a discount book store. You'll come in and take what you can get, never aware of what is available in the dark back corners.

Libraries must be not only information retrieval centers, but archives that in their very being reveal our heritage. Just as a dig requires expert archeologists, a library needs expert librarians.


Beverly Hills

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World