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An Urban Librarian's Manifesto to SXSW Interactive

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2014-02-20-VectorSilhouette_Cowboy.jpg Hello from the quiet profession. Hello to all you beautiful dreamers, you benders of time and space, you visionaries of the bright technological future. We love your leaps forward, we love the things you have made possible and we love you for the barriers you will lift away in the days to come.

We welcome you to our journey, the great shift of information and entertainment to people, every people, all the people, everywhere, for free. You create games, design communications interfaces, make work go faster and smarter. You find ways to parse data for the next generation. You make information and entertainment accessible for people.

Librarians have been doing these same tasks for years. We give people knowledge, entertainment, skills, inspiration. We are both outlet and portal. We are the human interface on the great sum total of (wo)mankind's knowledge and sometimes we can offer that little bit of knowledge that will save your life. If not your life than that of someone you know or someone they know or somebody nobody knows but they still found their way through our doors.

While our image may often be dusty and bespectacled there is an innate trust in our brand. If a librarian told it to you then it is probably true. That trust can extend to your idea if you convince us that it works. Everyone can access us and most everyone trusts us. It is an amazing network to use to get the word out, your word, any word whatever word that may be.

Libraries have always been tech friendly. We created MARC and OPAC and we did it 50 years ago. In the new paradigm, libraries are increasingly active in knowledge acquisition using direct training and resources to grow job readiness, small business growth, and personal development. We don't just sit there and wait for people to come and pull down the knowledge to their best abilities. No, in the modern library we take an active part in training and the intellectual development of our users.

Find a librarian at SXSW Interactive -- there are going to be a lot us there. Your perceptions and expectations of the profession will be challenged. There is a good chance that the librarian you meet will be much cooler than you expect. Think about how you are going to deal with that. Open your perceptions. Show us your library card and impress us with just how wonderfully beautifully fantastically brilliant you are then let's use that to make something and to impact our communities for the better.

This post was originally featured on urbanlibrariansunite.org.

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Urban Librarians Unite will be presenting at SXSW. They will also be out on the streets doing mobile reference and adult storytime, find us, ask us questions, talk to us. You may be surprised by what modern librarianship is like.

 
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