For many months now one of my primary objectives has been to convince librarians (and anyone else reading this Blog) that technology advancements, education reform, and societal changes are impacting the librarian profession, and that change and innovation are imperative if libraries are to survive. There is hardly a day that goes by that the news doesn’t report some changes in one of those three factors that reinforces those assertions.
Yesterday there were two (that I saw) on Fox News. Doctors Testing Warm, Beating Hearts in Transplant reported that doctors have developed a machine that will transport a donor heart at body temperature, with blood circulating and the heart muscle beating. If that’s not amazing, I’m not sure what is (at least for my generation). But the interesting part is that society is at the point where we’re saying, “Well, of course. DUH!” and thinking “That makes perfect sense. It’s about time.” That is a definitive indication that society has changed because now we expect innovation!
The second story dealt with the US military testing smartphones, including “tablets, e-readers and even portable projectors”, on the battlefield. Smartphones Going Into Battle, Army Says reported that the military intends to give soldiers the strategic advantage, “What we’re doing is fundamentally changing how soldiers access knowledge, information, training content and operational data.” Again, this is a “no brainer” today, but it really is revolutionary in terms of real-time information on the battlefield.
The implications of “changing how soldiers access knowledge, information, training content and operational data” are profound. Profound, not only in the benefits to soldiers in harms way, but because the military used to be one of the last sectors of our society to adopt change and new technology. In the 21st Century the military is much more innovative. There has always been an adage that the military is a reflection of society. If there is any truth to that, then society has changed the way it accesses and uses information!
If the military can figure out ways to apply new technology to its mission, are libraries going to lag behind even the military in adopting technology? Isn’t it obvious that society has changed dramatically, and that those changes dramatically affect the librarian profession in the way we provide access to information and services? LIBRARY CHANGE IS IMPERATIVE!