January 23, 2022

Houston: "Elegy for Librarians: After All the Budget Cutting's Done, Who'll Be Around to Help Us Ask the Sharper Questions?"

The Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board deserves recognition for this editorial from just about every info pro organization. Read it and make sure to save or bookmark to reread on “rainy days.”

From an Editorial in the Houston Chronicle:

If librarians seem distracted these days, you can’t blame them. They’re worried that they’ll lose jobs. As cities, counties, public schools and universities all grapple with recessionary budget cuts, libraries look like low-hanging fruit. In this iEverything age, the thinking goes, books are musty relics. And without books, who needs librarians?

The truth is that we’ve never needed them more. Every day in this city, librarians do important jobs not strictly related to library science.


Librarians make it possible to navigate wilderness.

They do the brute-force work of organization: bar-coding new acquisitions; putting books back on the right shelves; scanning and digitizing paper holdings; entering items into databases, where a search can reveal them.


Handed a difficult question, a good librarian happily hacks through the data jungle, sorting the good info from the bad, and procuring exactly the answer you wanted.

But great librarians do something even better: They help you ask a sharper question, then find the answer you didn’t know you needed.

Maybe printed books will largely disappear in the next decade. But even so, we’ll still need libraries – because we’ll need librarians.

Read the Full Text Editorial From the Houston Chronicle

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.