Friday, May 8, 2009

Continued musings....

In Dr. Wendy Schultz's article, she speaks about Library 2.0 being "everywhere, barrier-free, and participatory." She goes on to suggest this model will "collaborate with Amazon; provide digital download of books; create a global, and globally accessible, catalog; invite readers to tag and comment". Hmm, sounds familiar.

I remember a few years back, when Youth Services Librarians were reviewing books and recommending purchase levels, I was assigned a book about Christmas. I personally did not like the message of the book. I felt overall the title had some merit (and it was beautifully illustrated), but I could not decide if it had enough merit for a "third purchase" rating. (For those who are unfamiliar with this process, first purchases were relatively rare and were those "must buy" titles. Second purchases were your average title and, if you had a good budget, you picked up a healthy amount of these. Third purchases were those that were so-so or had limited appeal, and those with small budgets knew to avoid ordering these. Of course, the best fun was presenting a reject (unavailable for purchase) at the monthly meetings. Neva and Rebecca Nadel were really good at skewering these titles, and you could almost hear the gong.)

But I digress. I decided that I would look at Amazon customer reviews of the book because I wanted to know if there were people who were not bothered by the things that bothered me. I found many positive reviews; therefore, I decided to make it a third purchase instead of a reject and let the other YS folks decide for themselves if they wanted it for their branch. When I made my presentation at the monthly meeting and stated what I did not like about it and that I checked Amazon, I got an angry "Oh, so we are letting Amazon and the public choose the titles for us?" from one of my colleagues. I was stunned because librarians are not God (really, we're not) who alone are capable of creating a "Library of Eden", if you will. People have a wide range of information needs, and they are constantly changing with the circumstances of their lives. We need to listen to them to meet their needs, whether it is a book dealing with losing a loved one, how to train a puppy, or videos to learn new things and drown out your noisy neighbors.

Skipping over Library 3.0, (although I like the idea of being "collected" as long as I have a high re-sale value unlike most comic books), I zoomed to Library 4.0 where she talks about a "knowledge spa: meditation, relaxation, immersion in a luxury of ideas and thought". The first thing that came to my mind was does she mean this:
in the movie "Wall-E", humans on the ship no longer do a thing for themselves...everything is automated and instantaneous. Even food comes in milkshake form to expedite assuaging hunger.
But then I re-read it, and I see that she did not mean that at all. Considering that I cannot collect full Social Security benefits, assuming they will still exist, until 2035, I guess I will be around a while to see what the future holds....


  1. Hold on. What are you talking about? Did you say that Librarians aren't God? I think I need to see proof that you really have an MLS; a real librarian wouldn't say anything so sacrilegious.

  2. I am pretty much a monotheist, but I do believe that librarians are a special order of angels that was mentioned only in one of the lost books of the Bible. That book is still lost, and we librarians have been looking for it for millenia to assert our rightful place in history and religious hierarchy.