At the Ref Desk (5/12/20): We have entered the Age of Lookups. [more...]

USA Today Predicts: No Future for Librarians or Communicators; We Predict: No Future for USA Today Predictions

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 10/21/17 (11:38am)

[Update: Opps, after a little consideration, original authors decide "Libraries and Librarians Aren't About to Disappear"]

The library ed group ALISE* sent out a rather indignant response to a recent article in USA Today. The article's title was, "Careers: 8 Jobs That Won’t Exist in 2030" and it listed a number of professions whose days were counted. First on the list was "Librarian". Librarian, you might ask, why librarian? Well, because, according to the article, books are dead, and so are libraries.

(Read more...)

But wait a minute, ALISE counters in its response, "librarians do more than simply check out books". Of course anyone who has stepped into a library in the past 10-20 years would know this.

But rather than rush to judgement based on this first point, it might be helpful to have a look at one or two of the other supposed dead-end careers. For example, last on the list is, "8. Social media manager". That's doomed as well? Why of course, the article responds cheerily: "who needs these experts when we’re all becoming experts?"

Okay, wait a second. We're all becoming experts? Nice to know but even if we ignore the technical side of things (and that's being really generous), there's still the social and communication parts. What about them? Has their evolution down through the ages ever given the impression that they'll someday somehow become the equivalent of child's play? Good news if true!

Since that doesn't seem likely, someone should tell the USA Today author that communication will always require skill, that it is too important to leave to just anyone who walks through the door, that it remains a difficult task, no matter what our level of technology, because either people don't know or don't wish to know and in a world with less than perfect agreement, we are about as likely to say bye-bye to our media managers as we are to our librarians. They both continue to perform essential tasks.
*Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE)