Turn and face the strange ch-ch-changes
Pretty soon now, you're gonna get older
Time may change me, but I can't trace time
I said that time may change me, but I can't trace time. David Bowie
Certainly change is constant. But there are times of minor changes and times of greater ones. For me and for libraries this is a time of great change. On a personal level, I am leaving the California Digital Library for OCLC. This is bittersweet for me, since I dearly loved my time at CDL and continue to be impressed with the caliber of my colleagues there and what they are accomplishing. But for me it is time to move on to new challenges.
With OCLC I have an incredible opportunity to be active on a broader stage. OCLC is big enough to put libraries on the Internet map in a way that none of us could achieve alone. Open WorldCat is but one example of many. I will be working as a Senior Program Manager with the RLG Programs unit of OCLC Research and Programs. I will report to Jim Michalko, who in turn reports to Lorcan Dempsey. I have met virtually all of the top management team at OCLC and I've been very impressed. They know where things are heading and they're determined to position libraries in a way that will do us the most good.
Broad, environmental changes are shaking libraries to the core. Sites like Amazon show just how user hostile our library catalogs are. Thousands of books are beginning to appear free on the web from massive digitization projects. These changes are forcing a critical review of where we spend our money and time.
Any way you look at it, these are amazing times for libraries. In our time we have witnessed a revolution in information access not seen since the invention of the printing press. Thanks to the Internet, the answer to many questions that pop into your head are but a mouse click away. With massive digitization projects now in full swing, books long sequestered in dusty stacks are becoming much more discoverable and reaching much larger audiences. As librarians, we are being called upon to reinvent what it is we do and how we add value to this drastically reformulated equation.
I love it. But then, I thrive on change. Since change is life, shouldn't we all?