It is most odd that some believe that since the magical World Wide Web seems to, but really does not, contain all knowledge, librarians are of decreasing importance and their aid is less significant.
As the mass of data on the web increases, it becomes increasingly important to evaluate web-surfing approaches. This is because not only has the mass of valuable information increased, so has the volume of false data including misinformation, outright disinformation, ideological propaganda and distorted commercial promotion of products.
When researching any particular topic, it is necessary to learn how to winnow out false data. Even with honest data and conclusions drawn from such data, it is necessary to be able to compensate for the inherent bias of each source. To do this unaided is a skill that may take a lifetime to learn.
Librarians are not all-knowing beings, but relative to the naiveite of fresh youthful minds they certainly can offer essential guidance and to help the young develop critical skills in this regard. The 20th century has left us horrendous examples of what can happen when a majority, or an influential minority, promotes views and thus, actions that have destroyed millions of lives and have left whole countries suffering for many decades to recover.
Thus, librarians‘ guidance is necessary to provide the critical skills on which the survival of our civilization depends. It is literally a matter of life and death.
Corvallis (Aug. 18)
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