Fueled by financial constraint and opportunities for the application of new technologies, a radical restructuring of library work is underway. A recent study by Leckie and Brett (1997) reveals that, of all the work roles performed by librarians, the opportunity to be in direct contact with patrons remains the most highly regarded, yet the work of librarians is rapidly being reorganized in such a way that this opportunity for contact may become increasingly rare. As the data from the present study reveal, when para- and sub-professional staff are "empowered" to assume more front-line tasks formerly carried out by professionals, librarians are leaving behind what, for many, are the most significant roles in their work repertoire, thereby taking a "giant step back from the front."
Source: Library Trends; Winter98, Vol. 46 Issue 3, p564, 17p, 1 chart