A couple weeks ago when I was down in our stacks I noticed that someone had written the above message on one of the signs telling you which call numbered books are where. Apart from it being a cute little saying I read more into it. I took it as meaning that the real answers are not simply out there in a book or on the web. To get to the real answers you need to sink deep into your mind and reflect.
These real answers come when you actually reflect and think more deeply on bits of information you’ve found. How does this information connect to me personally and what I already know? What is the significance of this information? Does this look like anything else I’ve seen and can I connect it to another piece of information?
The web is great for getting answers. Who wrote Jenny (867-5309)? You can settle a bet at a bar. You can get information from the web, libraries, TV, friends, anywhere. But libraries in specific are good environments to get to those real answers, those deeper answers.
I was helping a student last week come up with a topic for how she could connect her major (business) to the constitution. We did a little searching online, but then we decided to go down to the stacks to the section on business ethics. There we thumbed through a few books. I asked some questions and suggested a number of different things topics or ideas that I found. We eventually hit on social responsibility and business and the student seemed pretty excited about it as a topic.
Librarians are good at connecting people not just to information, but information that has meaning to them. We provide guidance and another perspective. Going to the business ethics section was simply another approach to the problem. In addition, the library purposely creates a space where people can “seek deep into their mind” and be reflective.
Google is good at getting us facts. Libraries and librarians assist people in creating answers from those facts that have personal meaning to them.