recent comments on: Discussion Forum | Topic 1: The Changing Face of Media Librarianship

Scott Spicer:

I think Gary may be correct IF one chooses to look at the future of academic video librarianship through the lens solely of library video (media) collections-related services, and audiovisual preservation. Specifically, I agree that though multimedia sources represent significant forms of communication in our society and increasingly, the academy, they will never come close to parity with its print counterparts in the library for the reasons Gary cited. That said, I disagree with his outlook regarding the future of professional specialization in the field, related to media or otherwise.

In fact, if anything, I think going forward we will need to be at once even more specialized in a few core domains, while simultaneously taking on additional responsibilities at a more superficial expertise level to compensate for lower head counts. The reason I think more specialization will become increasingly important is because I believe the nature of our work will need to change, and the [perhaps naive] optimist in me believes the outcomes of these new services will garner greater respect by the library administration, campus community, and field of librarianship. So no, we may not see as many specialized video librarians with significant film knowledge acting as the primary selector for their institutions -a tremendous loss to be certain- but instead library supported media programs that require subject librarians to be more media resource aware and inclusive in their selections (I know first hand it is very hard work to build such a culture one librarian at a time, but I do think it is possible).

Beyond facilitating this environment while continuing to provide some greater level of media selection, I believe adding depth of expertise in emerging movements such as media/visual literacy, student media production and the Digital Arts and Humanities for faculty member research, will serve to make the future media librarian more visible in the eyes of core constituencies. Particularly, if these media program leaders are adept at better assessing and communicating LOUDLY their media programs impact on the bottom line (teaching/learning, research, preservation), through the use of more accessible metrics that help people appreciate what it is we do. With this improved respect for media in general, appreciation for audiovisual preservation will hopefully, improve as well (to the extent that preservation investment is respected at any institution). That's my game plan at least.

Adding further expertise to non-media specific, but related areas of teaching/learning, library assessment, and faculty research support should also work to improve the profile of this individual within the organization. Acknowledged, my perspective is progressive, maybe even a little boisterous, but challenging times call for bold measures.

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