The See Also Literature and technology Book Club discussion

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The Fuzzy and the Techie > Future of Libraries

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message 1: by Eric (new)

Eric | 36 comments Do you agree with the author that the demand for people with softer skills will increase and the demand for people with tech skills will decrease? And in what ways do you think this will shape the library?


message 2: by Nina (new)

Nina | 18 comments I do agree with the idea that automation will not be as big of a threat to jobs as some people think, especially in libraries, where many of us already don’t have enough time or staff to complete all the things that we’d like to get done. The need to do more with less has been the primary motivation behind many of the tasks I’ve automated at work. If we can automate some of the monotonous, repetitive work that eats up too much of our time, it frees us up to complete more things that really do need a human touch.

But I don’t think it’s more important to prioritize either skill set over the other. I already feel like in almost every aspect of my job, I am constantly combining my tech skills with soft skills. The line between “techie" jobs and “fuzzy" jobs will continue to blur into the future, and most jobs will require some aspects of both. This book has made clear that both things are important, and that some of the best ideas come from well-rounded people.


message 3: by Amy (new)

Amy (puzumaki) | 45 comments Technology needs to simply be a tool, and right now it's being held on a pedestal. It is "above the law" because the law doesn't know how to appropriately apply itself, so it's really the Wild West. And for several more years I see people with developer skills being held loftily above the rest of us.

That said, I'm optimistic we'll see a shift, where the access to technology lowers enough that most people can use it without education or years of experience, and at that point, people we start asking "so you can write in Python... what other skills can you offer?" At the pace we're going, if we still have the Internet... I'd say that shift should happen in the next decade. We're starting to see the end of the "tech elites" (that is, those who have specialized only in one language or another), but it's only at the very beginning.

These shifts I would hope would impact libraries more, but I don't see it having as much as it could. In regards to our internal processing, I don't think we'll see much change either. At Hennepin, we automated a lot of manual tasks, building web apps and internal apps to reduce physical labor. I don't think the staff whose time we saved knew or cared after a year and went back to complaining about some other aspect of the work that is annoying. We automated a lot of it, and I frankly didn't see much change (and the change we experienced sucked, us developers got pooped on heavily and were treated terribly so many of us left).

We'll just continue to have tougher questions to answer from patrons, experience a broader range of skills from them, and need more interpersonal skills to understand how to address each situation.

I feel like a party pooper. :P


message 4: by Eric (new)

Eric | 36 comments Amy, I don't think you're a party pooper at all! It sound to me that maybe as more people understand how to automate things, then more things will get automated. Also, the people whose work is automated will appreciate it because they'll know exactly how much time was saved. I completely agree that writing scripts to automate tasks will end up being a skill not unlike knowing how to use Excel or Word and that ultimately is a good thing. Amy, I also really like how you phrased the idea that for too long some aspects of technology were put on pedestal and ultimately that knowledge being accessible is good.


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