Librarians proudly going down with the ship

How long can libraries—repositories for the print pages that become more outdated every day—last in the age of instant information? They're probably already as marginalized as the morning newspaper in terms of usefulness and functionality. Allen & Gerritsen does a good job of putting human faces on the brick-and-mortar neighborhood knowledge banks in a campaign touting the historic Boston Public Library system. The ads star real librarians as "heroes" willing to share what they know with smiles and good humor. (No stereotypical stern-faced patron-shushers here.) The effort subtly celebrates libraries' heritage as a vibrant part of the communities they serve and focuses on the dedication, knowledge and courtesy of the BPL staff. People sharing what they know, rather than Googling until their fingers go numb, is what this campaign is about. Still, I can't help feeling a bit sorry for learned folks whose value to society is cloesly tied to their performances at the local bar's trivia night. The ads ask, almost wistfully, "What do you want to know?" There's no need to inquire about the future of libraries. We already have the answer.

—Posted by David Gianatasio