Reading Between the Bots

Where librarianship is headed in the age of AI

March 1, 2024

Reading Between the Bots
Illustration: Drew Bardana

What is artificial intelligence (AI)? What do library workers think of it? How are they using it? And what ethical concerns or issues of privacy have developed as AI becomes increasingly commonplace?

According to a May 2023 survey of academic librarians by Leo S. Lo, professor and dean of the College of University Libraries and Learning Sciences at University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, about 45% of respondents said they have a moderate understanding of AI concepts and principles. Seventy-four percent underscored the urgent need to address potential ethical and privacy issues related to this emerging technology.

Nearly a year since that survey, some librarians report experimenting with AI in their libraries. Others are proceeding with caution. American Libraries explores how the current AI boom has so far made an impact on different aspects of the profession.

These stories include:

This report also offers a peek into what’s to come for librarianship, as AI technologies advance and attitudes evolve. For more on AI, read our ongoing coverage at:


A photo of Moxie, an artificial intelligence robot used at Santa Ana Public Library.

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