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.
Friday, March 31, 2006
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.