Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Necessity, the Mother

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Necessity, the Mother

Article excerpt

I thought long and hard about putting the word "innovate" on the cover of this issue. In this world of ours, true innovations are few and far between: the wheel, the printing press, the internet, and the iPad. And I'm not convinced the people who created any of those items set out with a mission to innovate. It's more likely they wanted to solve a problem, answer a need, or do something better.

Still, today, there's no lack of voices suggesting that--as we try to deal with changes in our environment--we should strive to innovate. Or, at least, think outside the box and stop assuming the rules we followed in the past still apply in all cases. Perhaps better descriptive words are "adopt," "adapt," and "apply."

Recently, while moderating a panel discussion about ebooks, I found myself saying two things: first, that the presenters had reminded me how necessity is often the mother of invention and, second, that librarians are no strangers to the process of adjusting to rapidly changing conditions. In fact, I have watched librarians resiliently adapt to countless waves of technology in my 30-some years in the information industry. In my humble opinion, librarians are very familiar with invention and reinvention. …

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