File under 'i' for idiotic

March 11, 2005

I read with horror of the cuts facing subject librarians at the University of Wales, Bangor ("Librarians under threat", February 11). It never fails to amaze me how otherwise intelligent individuals can be so ignorant of what librarians do.

Information technology has in almost every respect made librarians busier than they were before. The UK, like New Zealand, has seen more and more youngsters entering tertiary education in the past ten years. They may have IT skills, but it is rare for those skills to translate into information literacy. It's one thing to chuck a few keywords at Google and believe you have found the El Dorado of information, quite another to intelligently and successfully interrogate a library's online databases.

Until university managers get the courage and common sense to find out what their library staff do, they will blunder along ignorantly.

Guy Reynolds
Campus librarian, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand

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