Far too often, the thought of a librarian is a blurry one. Blotted out by spider webs, dust and those classic fictional scrolls that contain timeless knowledge of middle earth, housed in magnificent architectural wonders. Besides these retro-wonders that make for brilliant stories, librarians are often misrepresented by their historical significance – before the digi-kids from the 90’s started visiting libraries less.
The month of June aims to highlight growth, change and progress in the professional information industry, and unites many different industry leaders at the South African Online User Group’s (SAOUG) and the Organisation of South African Law Libraries (OSALL) combined annual conference.
The out-dated mindset applied to librarians, emanates from the concept of a library back when it was just a building of books. According to the VP of content support and training at Thomson-Gale Publishers George R. Plosker, the word “library” may no longer adequately represent what either libraries or librarians actually accomplish. Furthermore this reflects aptly a profession in transition – no longer do we have the librarian whose ears ache on a whisper.
The 13th International South African Online Information Meeting (SAOIM 2016) took place in the capital city and saw invaluable presentations from industry leaders, most notably the keynote speaker from Australia. Kathryn Greenhill is an information professional – or librarian – that believes connection, freedom, recreation and wisdom are the defining aspects of any library.
Kathryn Greenhill encouraged her peers and delivered a brilliant presentation on how to cope with new technologies constantly changing in the information industry. As an author, presenter and facilitator for 20 years, Greenhill’s experience is impeccable. She currently holds a Clinical Professional Fellowship at the Department of Information Studies at Curtin University, in Perth, Australia. She has presented globally on over 50 occasions across four continents.
South Africa’s leader in the professional information industry – Sabinet – sponsored Greenhill for SAOIM 2016, dusting off the old idea of what a library was, to establish that the power of information never ceases to sustain and nurture a better future filled with wisdom, freedom and recreation, connecting us to the very information that brought humanity to where it stands today.
“Libraries can remain relevant if we keep our connection with our communities and work out how to serve them best,” Greenhill concluded at the conference. To find out more about Greenhill, visit her blog Librarians Matter and add your own voice.