It seems I’m not the only one concerned that news librarians are a dying breed – the Columbia Journalism Review just posted an article on library closures at US newspapers.
Now that every reporter and editor has access to Google and a wide range of search technologies and online databases, the thinking is that they don’t need to call upon the Boolean expertise of librarians. You can see how it makes sense—except then the facts start to get in the way. In fact, the modern news librarian seems in many ways more important than ever. Even those old clipping files still come in handy…
In addition to providing research services to support reporters, the library runs a newsroom intranet and wiki, provides data analysis for investigations, and offers a range of other useful services. Then there’s the reality that just because reporters can access Google or search Nexis and other databases, it doesn’t mean they know how to use them properly.
It’s to be hoped the management realise quite how much we do, too.