The Fall Symposium this year was a great success. Large alumni attendance coupled with eager students and excited staff participated in three informative sessions on a wide variety of topics largely discussed in the LIS community today including 21st Century Literacy, Sandy: The Aftermath, Internet Security and Privacy, and Archives.
Keynote: Lee Rainie
Director of the Pew Research Center’s Internet Project: examining people’s online activities and the role of the Internet in daily life; co-author of multiple books about the future of the Internet and the social impact of technology; previous managing editor of US News & World Report
Lee Rainie’s presentation on the new library patron addressed five key points: 1. Libraries are appreciated 2. Libraries have a PR problem 3. Patrons are diverse 4. Patrons want new services 5. Libraries exist to play a role in community. Raine’s research showed 61% of Americans have a library card. However, he noted although this is a good sign for libraries, there is “more palpable stupidity today than ever before.” There is a detached population that librarians can serve to reattach.
Rainie suggested that the library is a platform in the digital age. Librarians have the knowledge structure and libraries have the ability to adapt to digital means. As such, we should “be not afraid,” Rainie said, of the dimensions of life being impacted by technological changes. Government agencies, media companies, and technology companies are all facing the same issues, “what do I do with my dollar.” There is a “big cultural transition and struggle and nobody has the playbook.” From this, Rainie stated that now there is a space for libraries to play a pivotal and leading role in navigating today’s technological changes, to set examples, and to prove relevancy.