Thursday, May 04, 2006
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Novelist and literary essayist Nicholson Baker once again has caused a stir in the library world, this time attacking the sale and/or destruction of original newspapers once they have been microfilmed. Ably and eloquently arguing his case, Baker is still wrong while succeeding in raising public awareness about the care of basic documentary sources and in forcing librarians and archivists alike to re-think basic assumptions and practices. My essay responds to what I discern as Baker's four main points - a lie foisted upon the public about the care of the newspapers, the insidious destruction of original newspapers, the resultant loss of trust by the public in libraries and archives, and a set of wrong priorities leading to the misguided microfilming and destruction of the newspapers. My essay also suggests that we should expect more such public debates as the developing Digital Age brings more intense concerns for original books, archives, and other documents.
As the final reading of the semester in our class -- and a reading which recounts the library history of the twentieth century from the perspective of one who is neither librarian nor historian -- I hope we can respectfully consider and/or challenge Baker's points as Cox does. But I will be curious to see what you think, in the end, of the contradictory meanings of "preservation" and "conservation" that Baker reveals.
Once again, though I know you're sick of it: What is (has been, should be) the social function, social purpose, social value of the library?
My question to the class is, what of Baker’s story do we believe and why have we done so? Here is a man who has no formal library training, traipsing through some of our country’s greatest information depositories telling us, librarians, how to do our jobs. Moreover, he spends thirty-eight chapters telling the public that we have lied to them about the state of our collections and that our books are not in fact falling apart on our shelves as we have stated for years in our requests for funding. What has driven him to tear apart decades of procedures perfected by library professionals and are his concerns about these practices valid?
Given Baker's opinions on microfilm, how do you think he would feel about digital reformatting today? How do YOU feel about digital reformatting today? Does it have any particular strengths or weaknesses when compared to microfilm, or to print-and-paper books?
If you don't have much experience with digital collections, visit the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections and see what the UWDCC has put online.
Full disclosure: I've worked for the UWDCC for about a year and a half. I'll be talking a bit more about this on Thursday.
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
1. It is impossible to save every newspaper since big city newspapers publish multiple editions daily and libraries often only receive one edition.
2. Archivists do not have the resources to save every newspaper despite what Baker says.
3. Newspapers were never meant to last forever. The quality of paper that newspapers are published on will deteriorate. According to Cox, Baker’s comments about newspapers not deteriorating have little true basis.
Bottom line is that archivists, like librarians, need to make choices about selection. Given the choice, an archivist is going to choose saving correspondence of an important literary figure over a newspaper. So the alternative is microfilming newspapers.
Some Questions to think about:
What do you think about Baker’s idea of saving everything? Do you agree with Richard Cox’s view or more with Baker’s?
Is microfilming of newspaper all evil as Baker suggests?
[T]he 1440-minute long event featured marathon reading sessions at the west side Borders. Organized by the council as a fundraiser for its literacy programs, each hour was kicked off by ten minutes of out-loud literacy from a variety of guest readers, including Tammy Baldwin, Pleasant Rowland, and Dave Cieslewicz, not to mention a host of authors.
A quick visit to the MALC web site reveals only a cursory connection to local libraries for this non-profit group. Some of their upcoming events are being held at the Sun Prairie public library, but the MPL system seems totally absent. Surprising?
Monday, May 01, 2006
Juan Cole, a blogger and professor of Middle Eastern history at the University of Michigan, has come up with an intriguing idea for how to fill this gap. He wants to hire skilled linguists to translate into Arabic the classic works of American political thought -- especially those works that deal with freedom of religion, division of powers, sovereignty of the people, and equal rights. He has in mind the essays and speeches of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Tom Paine, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr., and Susan B. Anthony; a solid history of American Jews and other minority groups; maybe a few good books, written by American historians, about Iraq. Cole also wants to subsidize Middle Eastern publishers to print these books in large numbers and at low prices, and he wants to pay fees to book dealers throughout the region -- just as publishers pay Borders and Barnes & Noble here -- to display the books prominently.
This isn't just an idea. Cole has established the Global Americana Institute and the Library of Americana Translation Project. Since he outlined the idea in his blog late last year, readers have sent him $13,000. He claims that some foundations are 'jumping-up-and-down enthusiastic' to pour in the big bucks, once he obtained the legal status of a nonprofit organization. The federal government just gave him this status two weeks ago. He's filling out the grant applications now. He also recently returned from the Beirut international book fair, where he says several Middle Eastern publishers and dealers expressed great interest in the project (and, no doubt, in the prospect of the money).
Long ago, the federal government did on its own just what Cole proposes to do. The United States Information Agency -- then an independent agency -- maintained libraries in Amman, Istanbul, and elsewhere, filled with translations of American political and literary classics. The Franklin Book Program, a nonprofit company with funding from the State Department and private foundations, published hundreds of titles and stocked them in libraries and bookstores all over the world. The Franklin Book Program shut down in 1977, its international board having determined -- prematurely, it turned out -- that its mission was accomplished. In the 1990s, under pressure from the Republican-run Senate (especially Jesse Helms, then chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee), the USIA was absorbed into the State Department; its budget was whacked and its agenda politicized; its libraries were shut down, their books remaindered.
Other libraries might have more books, faster computers, more meeting space or a quieter reading room.But topping the view provided by a more than two-story bank of windows at the new Verona Public Library will be tough for any library to match.Visitors taking a break from reading or surfing the net through the library's wireless network may look out through the v-shaped bank of windows and see a hawk, wild flowers or changing cloud patterns above.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
"A silken photo of the author leaning on a porch should occupy this space along with few roundhouse tributes from newspapers but why not instead a few lines about the great and ancient invention you hold in your hand, the Book itself. Slow to hatch, as durable as a turtle, light and shapely as befits a descendant of the tree. Closed, the objet d'book resembles a board. Open, its pale wings brush the fingertips, the spore of fresh ink and pulp excites the nose, the spine lies easily in the hand. A handsome useful object begotten by the passion for truth. The apostle Paul was not the host of a talk show, or else we'd be worshiping famous people on Sunday mornings: he wrote books, a Christian thing to do. The faith of Jews and Christians rests on God's sacred word, not on magic or music, and so technology burst forward into publishing, Gutenberg and Johann Fust and Peter Schoffer making books similar to ours in the fifteenth century. Ages before the loudspeaker and the camera, came this lovely thing, this portable garden, which survives television, computers, censorship, lousy schools, and rotten authors. Along with the Constitution, the blues, and baseball, the democracy of letters is a common glory in our midst, visible in every library and bookstore. These stacks of boards contain our common life and keep it against the miserable days when meanness operates with a free hand and save it for the day when the lonesome reader opens the cover and the word is resurrected. The day can come next month or a hundred years from now, a book will wait."
-- Garrison Keillor
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
She maintains that there will always be a need for libraries and librarians but that librarians' and libraries' roles are changing. To keep up with the change, she suggests the following:
-Libraries need strong leadership and need to "assume a key leadership role as the major player in a society that is now based on information and knowledge."
-Libraries need to be more connected, especially with online databases and to other libraries, and through such connectedness, libraries must enrich the content of the technologies available (for example, online databases should have full-text availability).
-Library buildings should be equipped and upgraded to handle new technology and that includes everything from wiring to new computers.
-Staff members need to learn, understand, and stay abreast of new technology, both the hardware and the software as well as online databases and websites.
-Libraries and governing boards must figure out how to reconcile local governance and funding with global technological access, such as the internet.
-Libraries and staff must maintain the goal and mission of equal access for everything the library offers, including technology, to every library user.
Some questions to ponder after reading this article. Are we now seeing the transformation that the author purports must take place for libraries to remain viable? Do you agree with the author as to her argument and solutions?
Consider this from the sides of the library user, a community member and the library staff member: do you see libraries taking active leadership roles in your community or beyond? If yes, how? If no, how could/should libraries be taking such roles? Do you agree that libraries even need to take more active leadership in communities?
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Why does it matter that non-Caucasian groups rated the roles of the library higher in addition to indicating a higher per capita expenditure? Do you think this is reflected in who uses the public library, in your observations?
WLA presents some statistics from 2003 showing that "the annual statewide average per capita local and county tax support for public library service in 2003 was $30.59." If you want to read more about the tax support or other library statistics from 2003 the website is: http://www.wla.lib.wi.us/legis/relevance.htm
Buschman makes an outrageous comparison in the chapter, “On Customer-Driven Librarianship,” between student-driven universities and patron- driven libraries. He claims that universities who cater to students with free booze, GPAs on demand, and few academic requirements would please students but would fall out of favor in society. He uses this example to suggest that that patron-driven librarianship would lead to decreasing public and private support for libraries and would cause libraries to “abandon a number of public sphere roles,” like promoting democracy.
Do we as future librarians agree with this? And, if the library is supported by public tax money what is the harm in placing the library in the hand of the public? Are we as librarians so afraid of that outcome that we are unwilling to relinquish our control and allow customer-driven librarianship to take over?
Saturday, April 22, 2006
After setting up this framework, Miller provides a brief history of bookselling in the U.S.—from early bookstores that existed as a sort of community center, to small intellectually elite bookstores, to the emergence of mall bookstores, the resurgence or backlash of the independent bookstores and finally the replacement of mall stores with stand-alone superstores. Following this history she examines ways that bookstores are linked to communities. This includes things such as author/book talks, storytime for children, and singles events. In addition, the inclusion of cafés in many bookstores and comfy chairs make them ideal places to hang out and meet up with other people. In looking at these connections, Miller explores how successfully independent versus superstores achieve the community ideal. In the final part of the article, she looks at the limitations of viewing bookstores as a means of developing a sense of community, particularly given that in the end bookstores are a business and their ultimate goal is making a profit.
Some questions to think about:
Do you agree or disagree with the argument that chain bookstores cannot truly play a role in reaching the “community ideal”? Why or why not? Can independent bookstores play a role? What connections do you see between some of the challenges independent bookstores face in light of the growth of superstores and the challenges libraries face? Do they face similar challenges or are there differences? Even though you do not have to buy anything when going into a bookstore, ultimately they appeal most to those that can buy books or other products in the stores. How does this compare to libraries? Do different sectors of the community use libraries versus bookstores or do the same people use both? Are libraries a more equitable public space than bookstores?
As a side note, one thing I found interesting when reading this article is the fact that the author is from Canada and she does not make any mention of Canada—her focus is on the United States. I was living in Canada from 2000-2002 and during that time the two largest bookstores in Canada, “Chapters” and “Indigo Books and Music” were going through a merger—“Chapters” was in financial trouble and “Indigo” was going to rescue it from completely going out of business. These bookstores are superstores like “Borders” and “Barnes and Noble”. There was a great deal of press at the time of the merger. Some people saw it as a bad thing because it would lead to further homogenization of bookstores in Canada. Others thought it might lead to better competition and actually benefit independent booksellers. Overall many in the Canadian publishing industry and many independent booksellers supported the merger because they feared that if Indigo didn’t buy out Chapters then an American company, like Borders or Barnes and Noble would. This, they feared, would hurt the Canadian publishing industry because these American companies would be less likely to carry Canadian titles. An interesting twist to the community-bookstore link.
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
“The Impact of the Internet on Public Library Use” article outlined the results of a study done by George D’Elia, Corrine Jorgensen, Joseph Woelfel and Eleanor Jo Rodger. The study wanted to investigate the relationship between the Internet and the library in terms of information seeking individuals. They saw that many services which the library offered were also offered by the Internet, and they wanted to see which ones consumers chose, why and how well this decision fit their information needs. This was done by surveying 3,097 English and Spanish-speaking adults (above the age of 18) through a Random Digit Dialing telephone survey on their use of the library and the internet, their information needs and the service they expected (and to what extent received) from both the library and the internet.
After analyzing the data, the group came to the conclusion that at this point the use of the library and the use of the internet are seen by a majority of the public as “complementary.” However, the study also concluded that “…the Internet was overwhelmingly preferred over the library for the majority of uses, many of which fall under the library’s traditional mission of information provision.” When discussing services provided by the library and the Internet, “…the users of both the Internet and the library rated the Internet superior to the library for 10 out of 16 service characteristics.” D’Elia, Jorgensen, Woelfel and Rodger basically recommend that the library begin actively reevaluating their mission statement and role in society, something they don't see happening at this point in time.
In reading the results of this study, were you worried about the future of libraries? Or do you feel it’s impossible to make the issue so black and white? Will library patrons who use the internet really chose between the two and never look back?
To look at this issue historically, is the idea of libraries competing with another service, business or institution only a new phenomenon? Or were there other periods in library history where this occurred?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Like a growing number of colleges, Ohio State University at Mansfield has decided to ask all freshmen to read a common book, in the hope of creating a more unified intellectual experience for new students. But the effort over the last month to pick a book for the next group of new students hasn’t exactly been a unifying experience. The
suggestion of one member of the book selection committee that an anti-gay book be picked angered many faculty members, some of whom have filed harassment charges against the person who nominated that book. The faculty members in turn are being accused of trying to censor a librarian — and a conservative group is threatening to sue.
Whether the debate at Mansfield is about faculty members standing up for tolerance or displaying intolerance all depends on whom you ask.
You can read the full article for the gory details, but here's the main point: a book recommended by head reference librarian Scott Savage:
As an example of a non-ideological book, Savage suggested Freakonomics. But his comments to the group against picking an ideological book struck some the wrong way. Then one committee member sent an e-mail saying that a controversial book would get more students engaged and debating. The university, he wrote, “can afford to polarize, and in fact has an obligation to, on certain issues.”
With that invitation, Savage offered his own suggestions on books that might fit the bill, including new books by Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican who is much loved by social conservatives, and by David Horowitz, the conservative gadfly who has pushed the Academic Bill of Rights, which is derided by faculty groups as taking away their rights. But the suggestion that created the furor was another one: The Marketing of Evil: How Radicals, Elitists, and Pseudo-Experts Sell Us Corruption Disguised as Freedom, by David Kupelian.
While the book has many targets, gay people rank high as a source of problems, with frequent implications of a gay conspiracy hurting society. Publicity material for the book blasts the gay civil-rights movement for changing “America’s former view of homosexuals as self-destructive human beings into their current status as victims and cultural heroes” and says that this transformation campaign “faithfully followed an in-depth, phased plan laid out by professional Harvard-trained marketers.”
Almost immediately, fellow panel members (and soon others at the university) not only objected to the book (which never seems to have been in serious contention for freshmen to read), but to the idea that it would be offered for consideration.
In the end, the committee selected the book The Working Poor, by David K. Shipler -- but that's not the issue. The issue involves calls to dismiss this academic librarian and charges of discrimination against GLBT students, staff and faculty, as well as the librarian's threatened lawsuit claiming discrimination against Christians. I'd be interested in what LIS569 students think of this article in light of the historical debates we've been considering.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
As I mentioned in class today, I believe that we need to pay attention to the fact that Ruth Brown and her "very beautiful white [daughter] (51)" were patients of Dr. Dixon, an African-American man, and that this fact may have been the doubly-buried social outrage that led to Brown's dismissal. One of the main objectives of the KKK is and was to "protect southern white womanhood" from black men. Louise mentions the history of the Klan in Oklahoma, but I'd like to know its status at the time of Brown's dismissal. I'm not suggesting that the Klan was necessarily directly involved, but some local people may have shared its hysteria over the idea of physical contact between black men and white women.
A few quick Wiki searches after class, though, also makes me want me to further investigate the authors and activists in the civil rights movement that inspired Ruth Brown. Turns out, both Richard Wright (author of "Black Boy," which meant so much to Ruth Brown) and Bayard Rustin (the openly gay civil rights organizer whose speaking engagement was cancelled) had been members of the Communist Party. Not secret members either- no crypto-Communism or "fellow-traveler-ism" here. For instance, Wright writes about it in "Black Boy," and was editor for a time of a Communist newspaper. Both Wright and Rustin became disillusioned with the Soviet model, as did many intellectuals. It seems to me that these are crucial facts of the case, not much discussed in the book. Does this make Ruth Brown a Communist? Not at all. But the notion that she might have been is not so far-fetched. As I said, it's worth further investigation.
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Like many libraries that started during the late 1800's, the Bartlesville Public Library was started by a local women's group. It was one of the libraries started to bring refinement and culture to the workers of the factory town. Do you think its roots, and those of the community, helped to influence the later issues that arose with the Brown controversy? Do you think these roots or the company town nature were what caused such striking differences between the library in Bartlesville and the one in the neighboring town? And how do you think Ruth Brown managed to get circulation figures like she did?
It seems that the (first) library board worked hard to cooperate with what the "community" wanted, while still attempting to maintain what they felt the library stood for. I myself was impressed that they had encouraged mixed storyhours. In the end things of course did not go so well. What examples of this type of situation have you seen or heard of in the modern day? What ideals do you see libraries and library boards holding up despite what the "community" thinks? Some examples besides patron privacy would be good.
Also, I was just thinking as I typed this, I was thinking about how I cannot comprehend what it would be like to work in a segregated library. Or to live in a time where segregation happened as the norm. What are other people's thoughts on this? Have any of you seen major changes in your lifetimes?
During this period there was a great deal of imposed censorship and also self censorship. In Ruth Brown's case it was the reason for her dismissal, and was also seen as others declined to speak up on her behalf. The "Red Scare" gave people the opportunity to exert a certain amount of social control. One of the arguments for the removal of "subversive" materials from the library was the impact they could have on children. This topic also seems to be a large part of the film (I am just basing this on the description in the book) where the young character, Freddie, becomes fixated on communism. This was discussed a little on the blog last week in regards to parental censorship of children. Do you think there are different levels of censorship in libraries for different groups of people? Should the community be able to dictate what materials are allowed in the library, or is it the library that influences the community?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Ruth Brown was a member of the COPD (Committee on the Practice of Democracy), and, though other prominent women also were members, they seem to disappear when Brown is confronted with charges of pro-communism and attempting to integrate the library.
So, some questions to think about...Does what happened to Ruth Brown serve to perpetuate the stereotypical librarian (as opposed to her personally)? Thinking about the national state of library affairs at this time (loyalty oaths, etc.), does location have any bearing on her situation (i.e. what if she were a librarian in California)? Did female members of the various community groups (including the COPD, to which Brown belonged) do what they could to help her? Should they have done more? Was more female involvement in the decision to dismiss Brown even a possibility in a town run by a big oil business? What bearing does this case have on female librarians (and males, for that matter) today? Have gender roles changed enough in librarianship and in the composition of library boards?
Saturday, April 08, 2006
Thank you so much!
Friday, April 07, 2006
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Knowledge and understanding of pluralistic intercultural information ethical theories and concepts, including the ethical conflicts and responsibilities facing library and information professionals around the world, is necessary to relevant teaching, learning, and reflection in the field of library and information studies and information-related professions. Many important areas and issues currently facing library and information professionals can only be understood in light of their ethical contexts. Also, the contributions that library and information studies can make to knowledge societies can be significantly informed by their attention to information ethics.
As suggested by universal core values promoted by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and other professional organizations and world bodies it is our responsibility to participate critically in the global discourse of information ethics, as it pertains to, at least, the following articles of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
• Respect for the dignity of human beings (Art. 1)
• Confidentiality (Art. 1, 2, 3, 6)
• Equality of opportunity (Art. 2, 7)
• Privacy (Art. 3, 12)
• Right to freedom of opinion and expression (Art. 19)
• Right to participate in the cultural life of the community (Art. 27)
• Right to the protection of the moral and material interests concerning any scientific, literary or artistic production (Art. 27)
The Information Ethics Special Interest Group of the Association for Library and Information Science Education strongly advocates that information ethics should be encouraged as an important aspect of education, research, scholarship, service, and practice in library and information studies and in other related professions. It therefore advocates that attention to information ethics (either through the curriculum, instructor expertise, resources, activities) be developed and enhanced in all programs of library and information studies education. Schools of library and information studies are urged to implement this recommendation to achieve the following desirable outcomes:
1. The curriculum should be informed by information ethics through a unit in the required foundations (or equivalent) course. This unit should cover the following student objectives:
• to be able to recognize and articulate ethical conflicts in the information field;
• to inculcate a sense of responsibility with regard to the consequences of individual and collective interactions in the information field;
• to provide the foundations for intercultural dialogue through the recognition of different kinds of information cultures and values;
• to provide basic knowledge about ethical theories and concepts and about their relevance to everyday information work; and,
• to learn to reflect ethically and to think critically and to carry these abilities into their professional life.
2. There should be offered periodically one or more courses devoted specifically to information ethics. Such courses should be taught by a qualified member of the faculty and be based on international literatures from a diversity of viewpoints.
3. Information ethics should be included in study and discussion across the library and information curriculum. It should be infused throughout the curriculum in such areas as management, young adult services, information literacy training, and information-technology related courses.
4. There should be ongoing engagement with information ethics, as challenging questions and issues need to be revisited through the lenses of individuals, institutions, and societies.
Wednesday, April 05, 2006
So what happened in the next few decades that made the Library Bill of Rights and the ALA's stance on intellectual freedom and censorship central to the profession? What socio-political forces changed the way in which public libraries dealt with censorship? And why were libraries complicit in violating patron privacy and removing "offensive" or "dangerous" materials from their shelves during WWII?
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
In particular, I was very interested in the ways that librarians self censored themselves at this time period, the ways that paranoia and fear existed long after McCarthy, and their opinion that if a book was challenged, no one would be there to back them up.
Were their fears justified? In what ways have we seen self-censorship already, and how do you think it functioned in libraries for the rest of the cold war? Have librarians become more bold, or could these fears still be justified today?
I'll have more questions about the Burbank attempt at book labeling and the various attempt at legislation for class on Thursday!
Do you agree with Berninghausen’s views on intellectual freedom or do you side with the SRRT and why? (It’s a pretty simple question, so please be elaborate in your response. Thanks!)
Monday, April 03, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
At the library again. The computers are all taken up by Madison's homeless, who spend most of their time playing online video games until their two hours are up. I'm not exactly sure why the library allows this; it seems like it should be against some kind of rule. There is a small, hooded Asian kid to my right watching Wrestlemania clips, and an elderly black man to my left doing his taxes. His half-hour session is almost up, and he's not finished. Across the aisle, a stubble-cheeked guy with a stack of VHS is looking at Craigslist postings of sublets. Every so many minutes I hear a different person complaining to the young woman at the tech desk about how the computer won't let them log on, and she has to explain about the two hour limit. Again. Everyone turns around to watch because the tech desk girl is pretty. The Asian kid just got busted for using multiple cards to log in past his limit. I had no idea the library was such a hotbed of intrigue.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
What does the Leigh article, which describes the status of public libraries at the end of the 1940's tell us about who was using the library in the Barelson article? Does Leigh's article add any perspective as to why some groups would or would not appear prominently at the library, or do you think Leigh's perspective differs from librarians of this period in terms of what he thinks is valuable reading material? How do the problems or controversies regarding popular fiction (that we have discussed in the past and that are
mentioned here) inform us about who might use the library in this time period or about who might find the library the most useful?
From Christine Pawley's book we know that there were often many diverse groups of people within one geographic area served by a public library, and that within a larger community there may be smaller "imagined" communities networked through commonalities in thought or opinion. Do you feel that Leigh or Barelson are making assumptions here about who they are referring to when they talk about the "community" or were users of the library (any readers of these articles) predominantly white, middle class urban folks so that it is justified to use assumed values of the middle class in arguing against having popular culture, fiction and "trashy" or "unorthodox" materials widely available in the library? Does the dominant culture (whatever it may be within different libraries or areas) always dictate what is found in the library rather than "imagined" communities or minority groups and values? Does the Library Bill of Rights have any effect on this?
What does it mean that Leigh's study was 1. completed by sociologists
(or non-librarians) within a sociological framework 2. requested by the
should these facts inform our reading from what we have learned of
these aspects in class thus far?
Do the social scientists’ conclusions about public libraries differ from the perceptions provided by librarians? How does their conclusion regarding library schooling that “it would seem desirable to distinguish sharply between instruction for nonprofessional technical jobs…and graduate instruction for the professional degree” compare with our knowledge of library schools and the desire of librarians to establish themselves as professionals up to this point? Consider the conflict between the status of professionals and paraprofessionals in libraries today. Has the social scientists’ recommendation for library schools been resolved?
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Berelson uses a good deal of his article to discuss age as a determinative factor of who uses the public library. Through several figures, he rigorously illustrates that in 1949, a large proportion of library users were school-age youths, between the ages of 5 and 15. He states one possible reason for this could be the physical ailments associated with age, i.e., lessened energy or "eyestrain." I wasn't really buying that reasoning.
Yet, he makes a much more compelling argument when he links age and education. He states that increasingly, younger adults have had more formal education than their elders and therefore more experience with written material in general, and the public library specifically. He even speculated that as the number of people exposed to formal education increased, the age of patrons would correspondingly rise. I am curious about the progression from Berelson's observations in 1949 on age, education level, and the public library to age and education level in the public library today. Do school-aged youths still make up a higher proportion of public library patronage today? If Berelson's predictions have turned out correct (and I think it seems that they have at least in part) is it solely due to the proliferation of formal education in our society? Is this a strictly linear progression or have other factors played a role in raising the age of patrons?
Sunday, March 26, 2006
"The young use the library more than the old, the better-educated more than the lesser educated and women more than, and differently from, men. The public library serves the middle class, defined either by occupation or by economic status, more than either the upper or lower classes."
Good social progressives that most librarians are, it is taken a priori that the number of working-class and poor people who use the library should be increased. But working people, as a single homogenous group, generally do not go to libraries. The homeless go there; some immigrants go there; and often the children of the poor (especially the children of recent immigrants) go there. But the people librarians most desperately want to reach out to--working-class adults--never do.
Is that a problem? Are we wasting our time, having been chasing these people now for almost a century?
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Question 1: How does the ALA response to censorship, loyalty investigations and other privacy issues from 1930-1950 as discussed in this week’s readings compare and contrast to what you know of the ALA’s response to the current Iraq war and specifically the Patriot Act?
Question 2: The weblog discussion of our last reading (Pawley’s book) raised the question of how future historians can do research on patrons’ reading habits given the lack of current library records that link an item to a patron’s record. How do you think we can balance patrons’ privacy concerns in the 21st century (particularly in the current climate with the Patriot Act laws) and the desire of future library and print culture historians to study reading trends for our time?
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Monday, March 20, 2006
This is probably also the only book about librarianship with a cartoon of a naked man on the cover.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
I'm interested in exploring how the spead of information and the multinational corporation's control over information is affecting libraries and patrons. Additionally, I would like to explore how users interpret a library's function/usefulness in light of the internet and economic influences on information.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Friday, March 17, 2006
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I also want to read this book because it looks pretty interesting. Per a Publisher's Weekly blurb on Amazon.com, the book is a follow-up to Vaidhyanathan's Copyrights and Copywrongs and covers contemporary issues of information and technology in society while framing those issues in a historical context.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Monday, March 13, 2006
To me it seemed that mere jingoism and hysteria isn't enough to explain to ardour with which librarians went about this awful work. It seems more that they wanted so badly to be seen as real "professionals"--and particularly, to convince, "Young men that library work is a profession." (emphasis mine)--that ethics fell by the wayside. You could even see this as a miniature parable of modernism or of the First World War itself: A desire to be "modern" and "useful" that blinded people to the idiotic consequences of their actions.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
1. A Brave Lady by "Miss Mulock"- 12 copies currently for sale, at reasonable prices.
2. For Another's Sin by Bertha M. Clay- none listed under pen-name Clay, one listed for $16.50 under author's real surname Braeme. Hundreds of copies of other titles by Clay are listed, 18 of them containing the word "Sin" or "Sins" in the title.
3. Diana by Susan Warner- 3 copies for sale, for $35, $45, and $150.
4. The Letter of Credit by Susan Warner- 3 copies for sale, for $100, $132, and $356.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
I am interested to know if anyone can recall any print consumption patterns from their own childhood. Did you take weekly trips to the library with a particular family member? Was there a limit to the number of books you were allowed to check out on those visits? Was there a specific time of day when newspapers filled your dinning room table or when you recall you family reading?
Saturday, March 04, 2006
The cafe is one of several changes UW-Madison library officials have taken in recent years to keep the libraries relevant, enticing and cost-effective.
Many stodgy, book-heavy university libraries have used business models to retool their product for a new, technologically savvy generation. Although libraries do not have to make a profit, they do need to justify their existence to state policymakers, campus administration and, increasingly, private donors. And that means bringing people in the doors.
Libraries, once bastions of silence, are quickly becoming the academic equivalent of the student union.
Those of you who have worked and/or studied in our Memorial and College libraries might want to give the full article a read and comment below as both historical voices and historical analysts ...
During the nineties, 9 out of 10 public, academic and school librarians were white.
8.61% of 1995-96 MLS graduates considered themselves non-white.
13% of 2001 MLS graduates considered themselves non-white.
7-10% of librarians today are gay.
62% of gay men have disclosed their sexual orientation in the workplace.
33% of lesbians have disclosed their sexual orientation in the workplace.
In 2002, 5.75% of full time library science faculty were African American.
In 2002, 9.49% of full time library science faculty were Asian American/Pacific Islander.
Adkins, Denise and Espinal, Isabel. “The Diversity Mandate.” Library Journal 129(7):
Cooke, James C. “Gay and Lesbian Librarians and the ‘Need’ for GLBT Library
Organizations: Ethical Questions, Professional Challenges and Personal
Dilemmas In and ‘Out’ of the Workplace.” Journal of Information Ethics 14(2):
Grady, Jenifer and Hall, Tracie. “The World is Changing: Why Aren’t We?” Library
Worklife 1(4) http://www.ala.org/ala/hrdr/placementservice/recruitingminorities.htm
Lynch (1998) Racial and Ethnic Diversity Among Librarians: A Status Report http://www.ala.org/ala/ors/reports/racialethnic.htm
Thursday, March 02, 2006
White -- 75.1%
Black/African-American -- 12.3%
American Indian or Alaskan Native -- .9%
Asian -- 3.6%
Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander -- .1%
Other race -- 5.5%
Two or more races (multiracial) -- 2.4%
"Hispanic Origin" is a seperate census category, with 12.5% of people identifying as Hispanic or Latino.
The US census does not ask about religion, but the Purdue Association of Religion Data Archive (see http://www.thearda.com/) lists the following as the largest religious groups in the US:
Christian -- 84.12%
Jewish -- 1.92%
Muslim -- 1.55%
Buddhist -- .91%
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Officials To Segregate Controversial Children's Books OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Metropolitan Library Commission voted on Thursday to add a special parenting section to libraries across Oklahoma City.
The book "King and King" left some parents calling for a change to where certain books were placed in the library.The commission's plan will move books from 12 recommended topics, including homosexuality, child abuse and drug abuse, to the new parenting section.
The article is short, but you can also see some video footage here:
(1) Please leave "backlinks" at the top and bottom of each of your individual entries, corresponding to the areas of the wiki that your entry is connected to. For example, "Back to 1850s" and/or "Back to race/ethnicity issues in librarianship"
(2) Please add your name to the bottom of the front page of the wiki as an "author" so the whole world wide web can congratulate you.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
Gittings discusses her own realization of sexual identity and her search for literature that represented her. Her activism eventually led her to the ALA and librarians working for change within libraries and the Association itself following the Stonewall riots of 1969. The missions of the Task Force in the beginning were about raising awareness of the Task Force, raising awareness of gay and lesbian patrons’ needs within libraries (and beyond). To that end, they created bibliographies, awards for best gay and lesbian books, workshops, and discussions. In its first year, the Task Force pushed the ALA to adopt a platform of recognition and tolerance of gays and lesbians. As society grew more accepting, so did the publishing and library fields, which offered more literature by and for gays and more accessibility to that literature in libraries. Much of the article describes the actions, accomplishments and failures of the Task Force throughout Gittings’ time with it.
Considering this is written by a non-librarian (a “lay” person, in her words), is there anything missing from this account of the history of gays in librarianship and if so, what? Whose history is this article discussing? How helpful is this history in constructing a broader history of gays and lesbians in librarianship? How are libraries presented in this article? Librarians? Because Gittings is an activist, what do you think of her call to action by librarians? Do you agree? Lastly, since this is the only article about gays we have had to read in class (and may be the only one), why do you think this article was chosen?
Monday, February 27, 2006
Keeping with the stated focus of study, Wiegand and Davis discuss various ALA landmark events concerning race relations in librarianship such as the ALA’s first concern with library service to blacks (1913), ALA’s Round Table on “Work with Negroes” (1922), the 1954 push to create one ALA chapter per state rather than have segregated chapters, and the addition to the Library Bill of Rights stating library use cannot be denied to people because of race, religion, national origins or legal views (1961). All of these events are important when studying race relations in library science; however Wiegand and Davis’ limited study of only the ALA does the issue injustice.
This becomes apparent when comparing the encyclopedia article with “‘The Place to Go’: The 135th Street Branch Library and the Harlem Renaissance” by Anderson. This article offers incite as to true race relations in libraries, instead of simply focusing on the ALA’s response to these racial issues. The fact that the creation of a library “Division of Negro Literature, History and Prints” in 1925 goes unmentioned by Wiegand and Davis illustrates the failure of the article to paint a history of race issues in libraries.
Wiegand and Davis could not have picked this limited scope without reason; why did they choose to focus on the ALA’s response to race issues instead of focusing on occurrences in libraries such as the desegregation of libraries and the hiring history of black librarians?
(P.S. - It has been pointed out to me that this article is by Josey, Weigand and Davis are the eds. Whoops. So, when reading this please mentally insert Josey rather than W&D. Apologies.)
Saturday, February 25, 2006
A few questions that came out of the reading for me:
How much of the success or the influence of the 135th St. Branch can be attributed to Rose and how much can be attributed to the community’s own initiatives? Was it the library influencing the community or the community influencing the library?
In the article, Anderson talks about the library becoming a “black public sphere” –a place for members of the community to come together and discuss/debate issues that are important to them (p. 409-410). She lists several different places that can fall into the “black public sphere”, but she says that at this time, “…it was the library that proved capable of encompassing the greatest range of voices” (p. 410). Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why or why not?
In terms of its service to the community around it, do you think the 135th St. Branch was unique in comparison to other libraries in predominantly black neighborhoods around the U.S. at this time or was it representative of such libraries? How representative is it of libraries today in neighborhoods with large minority populations?