Writing about my role as a librarian who creates content started me thinking about the larger implications for libraries in general. In one of my first classes in Library School, we discussed the information life cycle and the place libraries play in that cycle. Looking back, my response seems very old-fashioned and short-sighted. I suggested that libraries and librarians do in fact participate in the creation phase because we do things like make signs and generate publicity. But I was more focused on the role of librarian as curator and facilitator helping form the connection between the content creator and the end user who then creates new information, starting the cycle over.
My definition of information was still largely focused on print books. As I recall the discussion, I was relatively liberal in my willingness to ascribe librarians a role in the creation of information compared to some of my classmates. A lot has changed in three years!
When I look at the information, or content, that I have created for the library, I realize it is but a small portion of the information generated and presented by the library. I am fortunate to work at a library that is quite active in this regard. A quick look at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library’s website reveals a dynamic front page with blog posts ranging from book reviews to technology instruction and links to content including book matches and lists of resources on a variety of topics. We create educational materials for parents about early literacy and provide links to quality websites for children. Clearly this library does far more than just curate information and connect patrons with existing content.
It’s easy to see how libraries can be in the forefront of the effort to manage information in all formats. It’s a natural extension of our selection, organization and distribution roles with print information. But as the very definition of publishing is rapidly changing and people seek information in new and unexpected places, libraries have the opportunity to be involved in shaping the new world of content. I, for one, find the idea exciting and am ready to embrace that role.