Category: Essays

What about the iceberg?

by Emily Drabinski I spend a lot of time in critical librarian spaces. I am an active tweeter in the #critlib community. I’m organizing a colloquium on critical perspectives on gender and sexuality in the field (abstracts due Monday!) and edit a related book series. I’m working on a talk this spring about critical pedagogy … Read more What about the iceberg?

Hedgehog Review – Spring issue focuses on information overload…

Focusing on the theme of “Too Much Information,” the spring issue of The Hedgehog Review devotes five essays to a close examination of the unprecedented and ever-increasing availability, use, and abuse of information relating to our public and private lives. Some of this information we disclose intentionally, some we do not, but all of it … Read more Hedgehog Review – Spring issue focuses on information overload…

Inland Editions

Inland Editions is a new publisher out of London that is particularly interested in libraries. They are preparing to publish their first book, which appears to be a beautifully designed art book primarily about library architecture. It’s called Bookspace, and they are running a Kickstarter campaign to fund its production. That seems a little bit … Read more Inland Editions

Voltaire and Islam

Malise Ruthven, frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, wrote the preface to the recent Litwin Books publication, Voltaire’s Fanaticism, or Mahomet the Prophet: A New Translation. His preface is titled Voltaire and Islam, and provides an insightful picture of the great 18th century liberal’s relationship with the religion of the region Europe … Read more Voltaire and Islam

Karl Mannheim on “conservative thought”

I ran across this essay by Karl Mannheim while looking into ideas on “styles of thought” in relation to philosophy and politics. Mannheim was one of the founders of the “sociology of knowledge,” which is an area of inquiry that some in LIS have said constitutes a good theoretical underpinning for what we do. The … Read more Karl Mannheim on “conservative thought”

Repressive Tolerance (link to essay by Marcuse) and a comment on information literacy

For those who have noted, along with Jon Stewart, that in the Fox News era the media treats facts in a relative way, as a matter of political taste… This phenomenon was first described by Frankfurt School critical theorist Herbert Marcuse, in his 1965 essay, “Repressive Tolerance.” According to Marcuse, it is a problem of … Read more Repressive Tolerance (link to essay by Marcuse) and a comment on information literacy

My problem with Banned Books Week

Some of my colleagues in the Progressive Librarians Guild used to complain that Banned Books Week was an unfortunate distraction from the greater problem of a propagandistic media system. I shared that view and still do, but it is not the objection that I want to explain today. My problem with Banned Books Week is … Read more My problem with Banned Books Week

Adam Gopnik on books about the internet age

Adam Gopnik, frequent contributor to the New Yorker, has an article in the new issue called, “The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us.” It’s actually a really good bibliographic essay to recommend to someone wanting an overview of this literature. The scale of the transformation is such that an ever-expanding literature has emerged to … Read more Adam Gopnik on books about the internet age

Progressive Librarian in full text

Folks at the Progressive Librarians Guild have put the full text of back issues of their journal, Progressive Librarian, online. Coverage goes back to issue number one, from 1990. I was on the editorial board of Progressive Librarian for a number of years, and consider them an important venue for library literature that works to … Read more Progressive Librarian in full text

Library, Inc. (Chronicle Review)

“Library, Inc., by David Goldstein, in the new Chronicle Review, begins: From industry-backed research to CEO-style executive salaries and perquisites, the influence of corporate America on universities has been the subject of much popular and scholarly scrutiny. University libraries have largely escaped that attention. Yet libraries, the intellectual heart of universities, have become perhaps the … Read more Library, Inc. (Chronicle Review)

Inaccuracy in Adbusters article

I am not going to spend a lot of time on this, but I want to point out an inaccuracy in an article on the Adbuster’s website (and maybe in the magazine as well, I can’t tell) titled, “Google’s Flaw,” written by Micah White. I’m not unsympathetic with White’s point about Google, but I have … Read more Inaccuracy in Adbusters article

Organizing personal info in an age of change: Tickets to a Pavement concert

An item in the New Yorker’s “Talk of the Town” section in the last issue is about the difficulty of keeping track of a valuable information object over time: a concert ticket. How do people remember where they put it? This one has to do with a long awaited reunion show by Pavement, in Central … Read more Organizing personal info in an age of change: Tickets to a Pavement concert

The Library Paraprofessional Movement and the Deprofessionalization of Librarianship

I have an article in the current issue of Progressive Librarian that I have put online this morning: “The Library Paraprofessional Movement and the Deprofessionalization of Librarianship.” It says something that some people won’t like, but it’s something that I think is true and something that I think we should discuss openly. It’s in the … Read more The Library Paraprofessional Movement and the Deprofessionalization of Librarianship