Category: The Profession

Some objections to our use of library statistics

The use of certain library statistics, mainly related to circulation and its electronic semi-equivalents, has taken on a high degree of importance in library management since 1979, when Charlie Robinson introduced the “give ’em what they want” philosophy of collection development at Baltimore County Public Library. Circulation statistics provide an easy way present an argument … Read more Some objections to our use of library statistics

Toni Samek reviews R. J. Cox’s The Demise of the Library School

Toni Samek (winner of Library Journal‘s first annual teaching award in 2007) has a review of R. J. Cox’s The Demise of the Library School: Personal Reflections on Professional Education in the Modern Corporate University in the new issue of the CAUT Bulletin (Canadian Association of University Teachers). Her review begins: Library and information education … Read more Toni Samek reviews R. J. Cox’s The Demise of the Library School

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

Beyond Article 19: Libraries and Social and Cultural Rights

Beyond Article 19: Libraries and Social and Cultural Rights Editors: Julie Biando Edwards and Stephan P. Edwards Price: $28.00 Published: October 2010 ISBN: 978-1-936117-19-2 Printed on acid-free paper Beyond Article 19: Libraries and Social and Cultural Rights addresses the subject of libraries and cultural rights, a topic that has received relatively little attention in the … Read more Beyond Article 19: Libraries and Social and Cultural Rights

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)

Undergraduates and the crisis of cognitive authority

I just read and enjoyed this paper by MaryBeth Meszaros, “Who’s In Charge Here? Authority, Authoritativeness, and the Undergraduate Researcher,” in Communications in Information Literacy, vol 4, no. 1 (2010). It paints a more pessimistic picture of GenY students than we usually see. I wonder how GenY optimists would respond to her argument. I tend … Read more Undergraduates and the crisis of cognitive authority

J-Schools in question – a familiar story

Michael Bugeja wrote in Inside Higher Ed (a month ago – sorry for not blogging it sooner) about the proposed discontinuation and reorganization of the journalism school at the University of Colorado at Boulder: “Half-Truths on a J-School.” Readers will notice parallels between what journalism schools and library schools have been facing. I think it … Read more J-Schools in question – a familiar story

Brief note on libraries and elitism

The 1980s began the “give ’em what they want” era of library collection development, when it became irredeemably elitist for librarians to think they occupy some kind of teaching role as selectors and reference librarians for their communities. In 2010, the war of the populist cultural conservatives against the latté sipping liberal elitists is wearing … Read more Brief note on libraries and elitism

Our niche and how to get back into it

More and more, I find that the library profession’s efforts to stay relevant in the age of information technology are in fact eroding our relevance. As a result of these efforts, it is becoming less and less clear what we offer that is different from what everybody else offers in the information economy. The reason … Read more Our niche and how to get back into it

Wayne Bivens-Tatum on Librarians and “Traditional Cultural Expressions”

There is a hot issue in librarianship that I think has great significance in terms of how society and the institution of libraries is changing. The issue is how the profession will deal with claims by native cultural groups who desire that their cultural works, documents, and artifacts be kept in public libraries, but with … Read more Wayne Bivens-Tatum on Librarians and “Traditional Cultural Expressions”

Motives in the conception of the “user” in user-centered service design

The big theme in the current era of librarianship is to be user-centered. Being user centered is the key to maintaining relevance, changing with the times, and erasing the barriers to access that turn many people off to libraries. In the background of the idea of user-centeredness are two parallel but very different theories: critical … Read more Motives in the conception of the “user” in user-centered service design

The “assessment piece” and reference strategy

I want to suggest a possible strategy for reference departments in academic libraries. I think a lot of library administrators who have an eye on the future see less of a role for reference, at least in the way we currently understand it. As they see it, it seems to me, it’s a waste of … Read more The “assessment piece” and reference strategy

Interview with Lauren Pressley

Lauren Pressley is an Instructional Design Librarian at Wake Forest University, and the author of So You Want To Be a Librarian, from Library Juice Press. I interviewed her about her book by email the other day so that you could hear what she has to say about it at this point, now that the … Read more Interview with Lauren Pressley

Review of Humanism and Libraries

I’d like to thank Wayne Bivens-Tatum of Princeton University Libraries for his thoughtful review of André Cossette’s Humanism and Libraries: An Essay on Library Philosophy. I’m pleased to read that he and I have the same disagreements with Cossette, and that, like I do, he finds the book useful and interesting despite those points of … Read more Review of Humanism and Libraries

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

Podcast of Alberta Talk: Disintermediation 2.0

The talk I gave in Alberta on February 5th was recorded. The recording is now on the web in mp3 form. Toni Samek’s introduction feels a bit grand, but the real me will be on the mic shortly. The recording itself came out all right. Not all of the audience questions are audible, but as … Read more Podcast of Alberta Talk: Disintermediation 2.0