Monday, March 9, 2009

Next-Gen Librarians

I had the tremendous good fortune to get an invite from Dr. Katherine Shelfer to come to St. John's University in New York to speak to a group of graduate students studying to become the next generation of librarians.

I know, I know. That sounds weird, but apparently these librarians "get it" and are moving fairly decisively to re-vamp their discipline for the 21st Century and beyond.

I am not sure how effective my speech was but I was massively impressed with the students in this program and the philosophy behind it. With substantial help from a variety of government agencies, the program has gone out of its way to recruit people from all walks of life -- people who are looking to change carreers.

I spoke with lawyers and stock brokers and editors. All were information junkies (obviously) and all were seriously considering the transformation of the "library" as we know it.

Many (if not all) of the students I spoke with are attending St. John's on a full ride scholarship. The program also provides free laptops and other assistance with regards to conference fees and what have you.

One of the most interesting things was to have a chance to compare notes with what amounted to some really great OSINT collectors. Not sure if you could hire any of these people (there is a job, apparently, waiting for most if not all of them when they are done -- the average age of a librarian is close to 50 and some enormous number of them are retiring in the next 36 months) but, boy, if you did, you would acquire some unique and very impressive talent.

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