"Young Librarians, Talkin' 'Bout Their Generation," October 19, 2007 issue.
Most people are familiar with the stereotype of librarians. They are twenty- or thirtysomethings, with tattoos, cat's-eye glasses, and vintage clothes, schmoozing with famous authors, and playing DJ at parties in Brooklyn.
Wait, that's just the stereotype in The New York Times. Last summer the newspaper declared young librarians hip — and, in the minds of some librarians, actually reinforced the other stereotype: that older members of their profession are reclusive bookworms and cranky old ladies.
Whether young librarians are hip or dowdy doesn't matter. What matters is what they think about the future of the library, particularly at academic institutions.
Libraries are facing a series of immense challenges: the explosion of information, a rapidly changing technological environment, shrinking budgets, pitched battles over copyright, a new world of information literacy, and continuing deficiencies in old-fashioned literacy.
On top of it all, academic libraries face a crisis of graying leadership. Young librarians, hip or not, will eventually be the people dealing with these issues.
You can watch an interview with one of the interviewed librarians, Jessamyn West, for free! what a concept.