For the longest time, commoners believe that libraries are just storehouses of reading materials. This image was entrenched to most of the people and still perceive libraries are such. Along with it, librarianship is commonly thought as an obsolete profession that is just about physically taking care of the materials found in the library. The idea was justified as the digital era changed the landscape on how the information is created, stored, and accessed. But few may know, information professionals, such as librarians, adapts to the changes taking place around us. As librarians, how do we adapt to the changing social landscape along with librarianship if it is very dynamic? Simple, we deal with it by the roots; exposing the public to ideas, arguments, counterarguments and issues that will inform and educate them when making choices thus improving their discourse. As we practice our profession, our contribution creates a base for progress as it helps people create an informed choice.
Informed choice is a process of making a decision based on accurate information and knowledge about all the exhausted options. According to Lief (annotation), we help them create an informed choice by navigating through the sea of information that is constantly recycled, repackaged, and repurposed by making them aware that information exists for them to use and manage .
As librarians, we need to encourage people to ask questions to themselves. We need to help them find the proper sources for these information and consider other views to develop the right perspectives and gain more knowledge.
How about the preservation aspect of librarianship? State for example the Martial Law in the Philippines, some people may argue that it never happened. Yes, some are not yet living during those trying times. But libraries hold the evidences of the phenomena that happened. If we had not, how would the people know that it happened? Our profession is greater than what we perceive we do inside our offices. Librarianship actively guards information to create knowledge that will help the greater good and is already taking a stand. It is no longer neutral, contrary to popular belief. Neutrality, according to Merriam-Webster, is the quality or state of not supporting either side in an argument, fight, war, etc.; the quality or state of being neutral. Librarianship should never be neutral as it should not help silence the minority struggling for their rights, should not help forget the story of those who fought a dictatorship because neutrality helps preserve the status quo. As Ellie Wiesel said:
“We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”
As information professionals, we should not promote our biases. Instead, we have to give the people the options and allow them to choose because our profession is on a unique position to effect social change. In this case, we are leaders that can help promote change.