I’ve seen this bumper sticker while searching online. I love it. I love this sticker as much as I love the “I ❤ Metadata" one I came across (though thanks to Edward Snowden and the NSA I think I'll leave that one off my car for now.) As I journey further into the world of Library and Information Science I frequently come across the idea that the role of the librarian is changing in modern society. But is it really?
Librarians truly were the first search engines, assisting people find their way through the stacks to relevant information. This still happens today, though the stacks now contain far more content: physical books, digital content and online content. While it's true that anyone can plug search terms into Google and find "information," one must ask if that information is even relevant. I don't know how many searches I've begun where the return was no more relevant to my interest than if I'd searched for "can Octopuses knit?" (I don't know if they can, but it would be awesome and I'm sure it wouldn't take me days to get a sweater finished.)
At any rate as I’ve delved into my first major assignment in class, I’ve realized how easy it is to get lost amidst all the information. This is where librarians come in. They are still the first search engines. As I said, you can search Google Scholar, or any of the databases at your disposal in the library, but despite my research expertise I still struggle with searching sometimes. Why? Sometimes it’s choosing the wrong search terms. I’ve done this a lot. I have an idea I run and search for it, and there’s the damn knitting octopus again. Other times I may have great search terms, but I don’t know which database to use to get the best information. Librarians can help you find the right search terms, use the best databases for searching payoff, and help you disseminate the quality results from the not-so-quality ones.
So has the role of librarians really changed? Sure there are new career pathways for librarians that may not have been there before, and the tools and resources may have evolved, but the basic role is still the same: bringing information to the people.