Bunny Watson is my hero!

Continuing on a similar vein to the last two posts, I would like to recommend another movie. If you have not ever seen it, do rent/buy/borrow/steal a 1957 film called "Desk Set" starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.

From the Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/

"Desk Set, directed by Walter Lang, evokes those bygone years before automation and the arrival of the computers into one's life. The time is the late 50s in Manhattan. The cost controlling expert, Richard Sumner, Spencer Tracy, is hired to make changes in the way the New York firm can cut costs in all areas of business. Mr. Sumner's solution is to start automation in several areas, such as in the payroll department. He faces a formidable task when he takes to task making the research department (Let's call it the library or information centre just for fun!) more efficient, in the days before Google. Mr. Sumner has to deal with the smart Bunny Watson, Katherine Hepburn, who has more facts and figures at her fingertips than any contraption could find at any given moment. Thus begins a tug of war between the man who is perceived as the "terminator of jobs" and the four women in research. They'll teach him a thing, or two."
And isn't that what we need to be doing? Teaching our *them* a thing or two? Now I am not saying any of us are going to also fall in love and live happily ever after with the efficiency expert touting the "everything's on the desk top philosophy" either. Let's get to work and figure out how we must show value for the work we do so that some efficiency expert doesn't put us out of work! because there is PLENTY for us to do- we have not been communicating it in a way that the holders of the purse strings understand!
I have heard through the grapevine that the Council of Federal Libraries is going on to the next phase of its strategic planning for libraries. This can only be a good thing! The sooner the better. The first phase was launched by Don Bidd and Rita Bolar at least two years ago. If you've been invited to participate in the planning and/or if you care about the state of libraries and information centres in government then I urge you to please take part. Next week is an important week for government libraries!
The thing is - the people making decisions on behalf of libraries and information centres don't realize what a deal they have until after we're disbanded and those who are left can't research their way out of their cubicles! Okay... that might be a little harsh. They know what they know but if they are moved into a new field of research or need information outside their special areas the searching becomes a bit more challenging for the uninformed. (and I use the term uninformed not in a pejorative sense... they just don't know!)
So like Bunny Watson, who ended up besting the computer EMMERAC which burnt its circuits trying to answer research questions, we have to continually demonstrate our skills, abilities and capacity in adding value to our departments. Now is not the time to lie low and hope they don't see you and leave you alone. All around us we have clients burning out their circuits! We know they're out there! Now is the time to pull in your champions, work them, get the spin spinning and be in the faces of all who matter proving that: (thank you Stephen Abram for this) our clients are not speeding down an information highway... they're either drowning in or navigatingwithout charts in an information ocean! And we the information credentialed MLIS professionals are the ones who hold the rescue lines!

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