As a lifelong library user and supporter, I read with pleasure your recent editorial on the value of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. However, I looked in vain for any mention of the library’s greatest resource — the librarians who make it all possible.
Librarians select, acquire, organize and provide access to the library’s electronic and print materials and services. They assist patrons with searching for and locating the specific information they need, and provide information literacy instruction (if you don’t know what that is, ask a librarian.) They teach computer use and other classes in person at the library, so that those who are truly novices do not have to struggle with using a computer in order to learn how to use a computer through an online course. They provide a wide variety of needed services to their communities, such as emergent literacy instruction, preschool storytimes, summer reading programs for children and teens, family programs, adult programs, Talking Books for the blind and visually disabled, and outreach to seniors and the disabled. They keep current on the new technologies and offer the best and most effective to their patrons. Oh, and I heard that when the servers were down due to the recent move to the new Main Library, branch librarians used their personal smartphones (and data plans) to search the Library of Congress catalogs in order to find call numbers for books in the EBR collection — and all as a public service.
Libraries without librarians are just storehouses, whether electronic or print. Neglecting to include the librarians in this story is like leaving reporters and editors and copywriters out of stories about newspapers simply because they now offer electronic editions.