Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Utne not me

Just was forwarded and read an article from Chris Dodge in the Utne Reader with which I disagree completely. On just about every level.

It appears gilded with half-truths and Nicholson Baker quotes, calculated to make the average American reader think that libraries and librarians should remain firmly rooted in the 1950's. Rrrr.

Whatever. Read the article for yourself and let me know if my nose is out of joint unnecessarily.

Knowledge for Sale?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're right, it's full of half-truths and Nicholson Baker quotes, calculated to make the average American reader think that libraries and librarians should remain firmly rooted in the 1950's.

It's also full of some good points, they're just all wrapped in left-wing political jib-jab

Bryan Campbell said...

It would help to know what you thought were half-truths. Thanks.

lukethelibrarian said...

Okay, you'll need to elaborate a bit -- otherwise, yeah, sounds like your nose is out of joint rather unnecessarily. I personally was struck by the way this article brought home the "Long Tail" idea... I blogged about my take on it here.

Ben said...

For every library that is doing innovative things with web access and community programming, there are many that are turning themselves into Borders-like infotainment businesses--that is, if they're not just laying off staff and closing branches. How many of you got a chance to visit Chicago's Harold Washington library at ALA last month? It's an amazing resource, but it's also one of the most user-unfriendly libraries I know. The real work is going on in the branches, where librarians are working to connect with their communities and truly reach out to the public with the information and services the library can provide. I worry that many of us--whether in a public, school, special or academic setting--have lost sight of what this profession stands for. The library-cum-shopping-mall-Starbucks-Borders may very well attract more visitors, but are those visitors being well-served? The same question applies to those libraries that are "rooted in the 1950s" and resistant to change. Clearly, we have to adapt to a rapidly changing world. But I think it's equally clear that many libraries are going about it in an ill-considered fashion. It's not just a matter of how many people walk through the front doors, or how many books circulate per year. Our role is complex, and to reduce it to circulation statistics or computer workstations per person does our profession, and our communities, a great disservice.