The trouble with technology?

Firstly, a bit about me.  I’ve a job of two halves.  I’m part of our busy enquiries team, and when I’m on the enquiries rota I get to answer the more complex enquiries that requires a librarian’s eye, and conduct research (literature searches) on behalf of Scottish Government staff.  But I’m also interested in information literacy – teaching Scottish Government staff to do it for themselves.  So I work with Jenny Foreman and the rest of the library team on developing information skills courses and training, which all the librarians in our enquiries team deliver on a training rota.  You’ll find links to these course materials on the right of this page or via the menu at the top of this page.

Therefore my job is less about issuing books and more about using technologies to deliver services to our users.  In fact, I haven’t issued a book in years and there’s very little I can do in my job that doesn’t involve technology.  That’s been a huge shift for me over the last 10 years.

I’d like to talk about that for a bit.  ‘Librarian needs technology to do job!’.  OK.  So far, so what?  But what if I tell you I don’t like technology.  It’s true.  OK.  Let me qualify that.  I don’t like technology – I like what it can do.

My jobs in libraryland have always been about purpose.  I’ve just used the tools available to achieve the purpose as efficiently as possible.  As my jobs have changed so have the tools.  As I’ve been required to learn the job, I’ve had to discover and learn the right tools to do the job well.

It just so happens that now almost all of these tools are technologies, and increasingly, social media technologies.  Nothing I can do about that – they just are.  So, I’ve had to find them, learn them, and yes – it’s been in turns easy, difficult, enabling, frustrating, wonderful, time consuming and time saving.

They’ve made it possible for our Library to launch whole new services (check out some at Library on the Web) and they’ve also led me down dead-ends as I hit various workplace IT problems. 

The trouble with technology?  Technology isn’t always easy.  I’ve had to spend time finding and learning every tool I use.  But I tell you, we couldn’t have done what we have for our users without it.

Paul Gray
August 13, 2012

One response to “The trouble with technology?

  1. Pingback: The trouble with technology? | Scottish Government Library | Special Libraries | Scoop.it

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