[After almost 7 years, my previous Executive Assistant, Patti Owen-DeLay moved on and up to another job. I'm very pleased to introduce my new assistant, Aspen Walker. As you'll see, she brings a lot to the job. - Jamie LaRue]
by Aspen Walker
In 1997, I graduated with a Bachelor of University Studies. This degree path allowed me to peruse and pursue many a passion, including literature, writing, painting, and philosophy. I had diploma in hand, but nary an idea about what to do with the rest of my life.
Some of today's reference librarians are worried. You can see it in a recent editorial in Library Journal, by editor emeritus John Berry. I've heard it from my own staff in a recent round of talks with them.
They see a profound shift in the way we do business. To some, it looks like a de-skilling of the profession (without the hyphen, that looks like "desk-killing" to me, which might be accurate): doing away with circulation desks, putting more people "on the floor," shifting to paraprofessionals tasks that were once reserved for those with advanced degrees.
Together, it seems to add up to a more retail orientation, and a de-valuing of the education librarians worked so hard to achieve.
I understand the anxiety: when people's jobs change, they get nervous. They want to do well, and sometimes, the new "frame" isn't clear.
I'm one of those directors who wholeheartedly supports moving to what I think is a 21st century model of library services. But I absolutely reject the notion that the intent is to devalue my own profession. To the contrary.
Every other year, the Public Library Association has an annual conference. This year it will be held in Minneapolis, at the end of March.
It happens that several of our staff will be presenting at the conference this year, evidence that Douglas County Libraries is well-regarded across the nation.
I believe I know what most red-blooded American men want. It's not what you think.
And it isn't easy. There are many obstacles to be overcome to achieve the ultimate aim of maximum gadgetude.
First came my need for a computer. My first PC (a Kaypro II) was called "portable," in exactly the same way a sewing machine is portable. It folded up to a compact package weighing about 30 pounds.