Looking Ahead to 2009

By Daniel A. Freeman |

It seems like 2008 was a hectic year for everyone, librarians included. After going through the most media-saturated election in history and a late-year financial collapse, I think we were all ready for 2009 to get here.

We begin the new year in tough times--there's no question about that. The economic challenges we face are a genuine threat to our ability to do, or in some cases keep our jobs. Funding is falling short across the board. Libraries are closing or cutting back hours. Librarians are struggling to fund adequate technology for their patrons while demand for services going up.

But with all that's happening, its encouraging and heartening to know that people in our profession are pushing forward, as determined as ever to blaze new trails despite whatever temporary obstacles may be present.

Norman Oder at Library Journal found some New Year's encouragement in President-elect Obama's first weekly radio address of 2009, which included this sentence:

To make America, and our children, a success in this new global economy, we will build 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries.

Stephen Abram has wasted no time getting down to business, and has provided outstanding coverage of what technology experts are saying will happen in 2009. Check out his entries here, here and here.

The economy may be rough, but social networking is still free. Trendspotting created this outstanding slide show, "Influencers on Social Media; 2009 Predictions."

Jessamyn West pointed us to this article from U.S. News and World Report, which listed Librarian as one of 2009's best careers.

Forget about that image of librarians as a mousy bookworms. More and more of today's librarians must be clever interrogators, helping the patron to reframe their question more usefully. Librarians then become high-tech information sleuths, helping patrons plumb the oceans of information available in books and digital records, often starting with a clever Google search but frequently going well beyond.

That effort to land a job will be well worth it if you're well suited to the profession: love the idea of helping people dig up information, are committed to being objective—helping people gain multiple perspectives on issues—and will remain inspired by the awareness that librarians are among our society's most empowering people. 

Whatever difficulties our profession will face in 2009, I'm glad to be part of an optimistic blogosphere that is focused on the future. We aren't going to face our challenges by staying stuck in the past.