Is there a place for librarians in a post-literate world? Yes! Definitely! Well, I hope so! This may be optimistic of me and, yes, I am biased as I am currently working on a graduate degree in this area, but I think that a post-literate world will still need librarians. I make this assertion because, despite popular opinion and stereotypes, librarians do a great deal more than shelve and catalogue books.
As the Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ (CARL) publication, Core Competencies for the 21st Century for CARL Librarians (2010) states: “the librarian’s central mandate continues to be bringing information seekers and information sources together” (p. 4). Making connections and helping others fulfill their information needs is at the heart of librarianship and while books and texts have long been great sources of information, librarians are already moving beyond them to assist their patrons in gaining other forms of literacy. Here are a few examples to think about:
Chicago Public Library’s YOUMedia: Innovate to Education
Toronto Public Library’s Human Library
These examples show librarians doing what they do best – providing opportunities, programs and initiatives that allow their patrons to gain greater knowledge, skills and experiences. Despite the possibility of a world that no longer prioritizes textual information, there will be other forms of literacy (such as gaming, making, or conversing in person!) that individuals will require to live and work in the world. Librarians can play a valuable part in assisting their patrons in obtaining these skills, as this is fundamentally what librarians do.