“Today’s librarians are using the lessons learned over that nearly 3,000-year history to forge a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and community. They are taking advantage of the technological leaps of today to empower our communities to improve. The librarians of today are radical positive change agents in our classrooms, boardrooms, and legislative chambers. They built the web before we called it the web. They were crowdsourcing knowledge and searching through mountains of information before Google, before Facebook, and even before indoor plumbing. Today’s new librarians are not threatened or made obsolete by the Net. They are pushing the Net forward and shaping the world around you—often without your notice. The field of librarianship represents an investment of nearly $7 billion in the U.S. and $31 billion worldwide. In an age when traditional institutions are declining, library usage has grown steadily over the past twenty years. Did you know that there are more public libraries than McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and that Americans go to libraries nearly three times more often than they go to the movies? By understanding librarians and libraries we can understand how to build credibility and trust in a community overwhelmed with change and choices. We can discover how to create an environment to disagree and maintain a civil discourse. Ultimately, by understanding new librarianship, we can even understand something as grand as the role of a citizen in society.”
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