In his book Future imperfect : the mixed blessings of technology in America , Howard Segal makes the point that knowledge might well make people more hostile, rather than more favorable, to advances in science and technology that frequently cost workers their jobs or, if not, limit their control over their working lives. I am going to focus on the latter point : how the technological advances in electronic information services and virtual reality systems can easily overwhelm us and make us feel that we have lost control over our working lives. Think of the librarian dealing with event horizons and pgrep pipe more! Think of the astronomer dealing with truncated subject phrase indexes and gunzipped postscript files! Think of the local systems administrator trying to deal with the astrophysicists' and the librarian's incessant requests for the latest improved, integrated and user-friendly upgrades! Nobody told me in library school fifteen years ago that this is what a librarian's world would be like!
In his paper entitled The increasing role of librarians in astronomical information retrieval , André Heck writes:
It is clear that we have entered a new age where librarians have a new attitude toward IR [ information retrieval] and where scientists have also a new attitude toward their librarians....
There is now a new generation of librarians very active in our community, 'new' being not a question of age, but representative of these new attitudes towards IR and of various remarkable initiatives and undertakings.... 
Time is gone -- or should be -- when librarians were considered as secondary clerks whose only tasks were to put stickers on books and journal issues, to check borrowing slips and to arrange properly the material on their shelves.
In his closing paragraph, Heck writes:
An important point concerning the difficulties met by librarians is to obtain the necessary funding for attending conferences. Directors MUST realize that their institutions could only benefit from having their librarians well aware of the latest developments in IR and involved in international ventures. This would also help in transforming the libraries to being dynamic entities rather than remaining in the current state of being largely stagnant repositories of information.
The importance of including librarians in astronomy-related conferences cannot be overemphasized. Several organizations, and I mention the American Astronomical Society and its Working Group on Astronomical Software only because I have attended their meetings, have made an effort to do so. Librarians, too, have made an effort to include other members of the astronomical community in their professional meetings ( e.g. at the upcoming Library and Information Services in Astronomy conference (LISA II), to be held in Garching, Germany on May 10-12, 1995). I believe that everyone benefits from the resulting exchange of ideas and information.