CommComm posted on November 15, 2011 19:43

          Yesterday from 10:00 - 3: 00 pm Victoria Goode and I staffed an information table at the New Clinical Building Expo down at Turner Concourse. The event was packed, especially around lunch time. We provided information about the upcoming changes to Welch and spoke to close to 80 people who had specific inquiries, and many, many more who just wanted to share a moment talking about their own personal relationship to the Welch Library.

 

          We had anticipated a little backlash, but actually received only a half-hearted frown or two. After we presented some patron numbers, and the amount of online journals that are downloaded (about 35,000 a day), everyone just nodded in agreement. As in theatre, the audience is usually smarter than you think. All the attendees seemed very aware of current trends regarding information retrieval, and most everyone mentioned that they didn't really need to come into the building. There was a little nostalgia, (no full-blown kumbaya moments, just a sigh or two) but our situation was largely greeted with mutual understanding.

 

          I mention all this as I've stumbled across yet another libraries-in-transition article, the first sentence really says it all. It seems as though "Libraries and mobility" have become the holy grail of buzzwords. The chief sentiment from yesterday that I heard over and over was that people would miss "browsing".

 

          I have to admit that I love browsing as much as anyone. It's what I associate with a library or a bookstore. You arrive at each destinaton willing to be swayed this way or that way----your interest's have the luxury of deciding which direction to take. You experience the breezy laissez-faire to go here, go there, and you can cruise the boulevard of ideas in no particular hurry. 

 

         Browsing is still possible. But in the realm of medicine, that luxury is now at a premium. Most especially for generation Y,  (or whatever generation comes before yours or mine) browsing now usually pertains to an app, a gadget, a social media platform or involves some sort of sharing. You read it one place, click, there it is at another.  

 

          Just something to consider. Thanks to everyone who stopped by the Welch table. You brought much good cheer. Hope we did the same for you.

 

Alonzo Lamont   

alonzo@jhmi.edu 

 

  


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