The “Great Librarian Massacre”

There’s been quite a bit of sound and fury over Harvard’s library restructuring plan. Claims of forcing librarians to reapply for their jobs and the lackluster, non-commital responses from the administration have caught the attention of quite a few academic librarians. (Read the Library Journal article here)

One cataloguing librarian writing on Daily Kos put in his two cents on how and why this reorganization scheme will have a disproportionate effect on cataloguers and other tech services personnel. In short, it’s the Internet’s fault. He does raise a lot of interesting points about how the changes to libraries over the past few decades have affected the role of cataloguers, but he comes short of offering much in the way of solutions. He argues that cataloguers in “the role of mediator, who stands between the user and the collection and manages the discovery of its materials (in all formats) remains vital[,]” but fails to elaborate much beyond that.

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One thought on “The “Great Librarian Massacre”

  1. Thanks for this post, Dan. There does seem to be a lot of miscommunication about the situation at Harvard. I agree with your observation that this post does not explain what roles cataloguers could and should play in libraries. How can cataloguers use their knowledge and skills to link data across different collections and libraries, for example? How can cataloguers work with university departments, for example, to create linked metadata, and so forth. In the public library arena, how can cataloguers help leverage the social discovery layers of catalogues to provide reader’s advisory services? Any other ideas?

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