This morning, I had the privilege to be interviewed by a college student for a project. After asking all of the typical questions about libraries and my field, he asked me if the role of a librarian has changed because of technology. Of course, you know the answer to that. It's not about books anymore....
But it was the next question that made me really think. He then asked, "Which do you feel is more important, books or technology?" My immediate reply was both. I was split between both because of the integration and integral pieces of both.
It was after he left that I really REALLY started to think about it. Books.....or technology? Where does my heart truly lie? It's like asking which came first, the chicken or the hen. Back in 1996 when I was a teacher, I got my first taste of educational technology, but it was the books that sustained me. Three years later and a full-fledged librarian, I became intrigued with technology, even creating my first ever blog (which I thought was a place to store bookmarks) with books surrounding me, still part of my landscape. It was like having an older child and its youngest sibling, being able to predict one, still grappling with the behavior of the other.
But I digress. My love has always been books, from the first one I've read to the latest one I'm reading now. It's the foundation, information and story they have that makes them individually valuable or worthless; time well spent or time spent on. It was around during King Solomon's reign is still exists thousands of years later. Books fill a need for me as a librarian. It showcases my talents, my relationships with them and an individual or groups or readers, my abilities as that traditional librarian who knows her books.
But then there's the technology. A sweeping change across the face of our field, transforming what people see everyday into something far more grand and beautiful. It's transformed my booktalks and is meeting the needs of today's teens, who are all bound up in video and instantaneous virtual gratification. It makes those paper projects dull in comparison to the shiny LCD screened in project only technology is capable of. It puts books in the hands of those technophiles. It's not about old school, it's about trending.
So, without a list and with still a lot of thinking, I still don't know which would outway the other. I still have a lot of thinking to do. And the interviewer, a former student who graduated from my school 2007? He told me he was NEVER a reader until his senior year. It was during a booktalk I did where I captured him with the trailer for Frank Beddor's The Looking Glass Wars that he flipped and become a true reader. I made a difference using books and technology. I wonder.... would it have been the same without technology?