Saying Farewell to old ways
Today we’ll be having a farewell party for our Adult Services Coordinator as she enters retirement. This good friend welcomed me to the Library staff when I started my career over 23 years ago – and tomorrow I bid her goodbye professionally. I see her retirement as also an end to a style and model of library service. This is neither a good nor bad thing — just a recognition of the changing face of librarianship. Many (myself included) who received MLS degrees 20 or more years ago didn’t have technology classes as part of our training. We had traditional subject area courses as well as collection development and cataloging. As computers and the Internet emerged on the scene, those of us who naturally gravitated to those areas made it a point to educate ourselves through additional classes or hands on practice. For other librarians, they preferred to stick to the time-honored duties of traditional reference service.
Today’s graduates must find it very frustrating to hear about card catalogs, tickler files, original cataloging and other practices that we still refer to with nostalgia. Older librarians may find social networking applications, video game programming and instant reference chat either confusing or not really library appropriate things. Change is always difficult for us – yet we do it. Our retiring Coordinator worked hard to help bring these changes to our staff, even though it was difficult for her to understand at times. Whoever replaces her will most likely be part of the new generation of librarians who grew up using computers and accepted them as an integral part of library service. I anticipate new practices and innovative ways of helping our patrons being introduced to the staff. While I will dearly miss my friend and mentor, I also look forward to working with whoever replaces her.
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