For thousands of years, the message stick has been an integral part of aboriginal culture. Symbols, notches, lines and dots are intricately painted or carved into wooden sticks of various shapes and sizes. Special messengers deliver these invitations across both great distances and cultural and language barriers.
At Altarama, we recognize that while communication tools may change, the mission of the messenger remains the same:
Over 200 languages and 600 dialects are bridged through the use of the message stick. Today’s library also sees unprecedented diversity in its patrons. The technologies they identify with are just as varied as their ages, cultures and traditions. A one-size-fits-all approach to serving patrons is not possible. Libraries must invite patrons by integrating the respective tools and technologies each relates to.
Whether notches on a piece of wood or a request for information, the message needs to be interpreted. Search engines can respond with reams of results, but it is the reference professional’s art to sort, synthesize and select the solution to each patron’s unique request.
Message sticks serve as credentials that the sources of information are genuine and can be trusted. They also function as visual cues, with additional material being communicated by the messenger. The reference librarian also provides not only relevant material, but personal, expert instruction that empowers the patron with methods and confidence.
Despite giant technological advancements, the message stick remains a trusted communication tool that lends its messenger credibility and significance. Today’s successful reference librarians and information professionals also maintain their significance by incorporating both time-tested traditions and modern technologies.
Some seek to replace the reference art with technology; Altarama knows that with the support of technology, reference librarians are irreplaceable. We provide the tools that let you do what you do best: