Why do I think there will always be a need for human librarians?

Not everyone is comfortable or competent with computers.

It is true that more people than ever have familiarity and experience with computers. More people have access to computers, and people are exposed to computers at an earlier age. However, computer literacy is still a skill that has to be learned. Not everybody has had the opportunity to develop these skills, and some people find these skills difficult to develop. I regularly work with library patrons who do not feel comfortable with computers.

The ability to search for information is a skill that needs to be developed.

Even people who have lots of experience with computers are not necessarily skilled at finding information. Many people think they know how to find information because they use Internet search services like Google. I myself use Google frequently. It is a great tool for answering some questions, a lousy tool for other questions. Sometimes I only find the information I need after viewing a lot of irrelevant web sites, and sifting through a lot of information of dubious reliability.

In order to find information that is reliable and useful, you have to have some understanding of how information is produced, who produces it and why, where does it go, and how can you get it.

There are certain mistakes that I regularly see people make when they're searching for information. These include searching the wrong type of source, using the wrong search tool, and typing in computer searches that are ineffective. Sometimes, people need to search for information on a topic they know so little about, that they need help just to get started. I sometimes help students who are trying to choose a topic for a writing assignment, by talking about what kind of information they can reasonably expect to find in the resources available to them. People often have preconceived ideas about where they're going to find the information they're seeking, and that affects not only their search strategy, but the questions they ask at the reference desk. It is occasionally necessary to interview a patron extensively before you can set that person in the right direction.

The bottom line is that librarians will always be needed to help people find the information they need.

Librarians organize information so it can be found.

Librarians don't just find information. We also analyze, organize, and store information so it can be retrieved when it's needed. Great strides have been made in using computers to try to figure out what a piece of information is about, by analyzing things like the frequency and placement of words, or by analyzing the links that are present on a web page. But there is still no substitute for an educated human being with common sense and some understanding of the world.

Librarians make management decisions about library services and information resources.

Information, and information-finding tools, cost money to produce. Therefore, unless you have a very large budget and very limited needs, you cannot have all of the information resources you would like to have. Professional librarians evaluate the costs and benefits of services and information resources, and use their judgement to decide what to make available to their patrons.