Future of news libraries
Liz Donovan, the Infomaniac, has some thoughts on what newsroom libraries must do if they are to survive and thrive, especially at these times of cuts.
She notes that in these days when much of the research once done by librarians can be done by reporters, it's important for the research department/library/info center to show they can do it better, faster, and more efficiently, and/or be the providers of that information.
That reporters can do it, however, doesn't mean they should do it. Lost in some of these cutbacks and the idea that all this technology has moved to the desktop is that every minute a reporter spends doing the research it probably takes a special librarian 30 seconds to do is a minute that reporter isn't on the street or on the phone. Pushing such research to the desktop is empowering. It also can create false economies, just as pagination did (just ask many copy editors how much less time they have to devote to the words if the also have layout duties).
There is a zen to be achieved here, a balance. Let's hope we don't get so short-sighted as to lose such valuable expertise in our newrooms.