Archive for the ‘generations’ Category.

As California goes…

In honor of gay marriage now being legal in California, I present to you a conversation I had yesterday with my 5 year old:

5yo: Hey mom? Do men marry men sometimes?

me: Yes, sometimes they do.

5yo: Well then can they combine their 2 sperm cells and make a baby?

me: No, you need sperm and an egg to make a baby, so you need a man and a woman.

5yo: Well how do they have a baby then?

me: Well, sometimes they adopt a baby who grew in someone else’s tummy, just like we adopted Sam. Remember, there are a lot of different ways that babies join families.

5yo: Well, I’m not going to marry a man. I’m going to marry Saffron so she can grow a baby in her tummy.

me: OK.

5yo: And then when I go to astronaut school, she can stay home and take care of him! And his name will be Henry. Like the neighbor’s dog in Jack and Annie.

me: I thought you said Saffron was going to be an architect?

5yo: She can do that job later.

Despite the fact that I may be raising a mini chauvinist, at least he’s open minded about the marriage issue. (He later came up with: “Well, girls can marry girls, then, and then you’d have two moms!”) OK, but you’re thinking “stop blogging about your kids already — what does this have to do with libraries?” Simply this: a lot of kids in his generation are growing up thinking of things like gay marriage and adoption and multiethnic families as natural, just another way to do things. This should be a wakeup call for librarians to continue standing on our principles in terms of the way that we provide services to all.

I feel the same way about librarians who refuse to work Harry Potter parties, who won’t purchase materials on homosexuality (or witchcraft, or what the heck, even “intelligent design”) — or who block MySpace — as I do about pharmacists who refuse to dispense contraception: You’re in the wrong profession, folks.

Listless

Over at Free Range Librarian , Karen Schneider launched a good discussion with a post on “Email lists: are they last-century?” I commented there, but have more to say here (OK, this is partially because I’m delighting in playing with my new WordPress, but indulge me).

I don’t necessarily see lists as a format breaking down along generational or new librarian lines to the extent Karen posits — hop over to Newlib or nexgen, for instance, to see some active discussion among younger and newer librarians. But, I do see a barrier to participation. Long-term lists like PUBLIB start to resemble cozy little clubs, and I’m much more comfortable commenting on a blog post than posting over there — even 11 years after graduation.

I do, though, read several lists in digest, including PUBLIB, mostly for ease in skimming. But one of the reasons I continue to use lists at all is in a deliberate attempt to avoid confirmation bias. I tend to gravitate toward bloggers I (for the most part) agree with, and RSS allows me to filter even further. The original PUBLIB thread, for instance, grew out of a negative comment about wi-fi users taking up chairs previously used more productively by readers and others making, presumably, more serious uses of a library’s resources; the discussion grew to include comments about the frivolity of online activities such as Facebook. As Karen notes on-list:

“I can’t see anyone in my FaceBook/blog/Twitter realms feeling comfortable proposing that wi-fi users in libraries might crowd out other users. Even if the idea had validity, it wouldn’t get traction (except possibly as a joke).”

When we stay in our comfortable bloggish worlds, we tend to forget that ideas that seem so natural to this crowd aren’t always an easy sell to the larger librarian community. At Internet Librarian this year, the one comment I heard over and over was: “Yeah, this looks great, but how would I sell it to my administrator/board/supervisor/staff?” (Note to conference planners: Wouldn’t this make an incredibly useful track?)

Participating in multiple venues and formats has the advantage of exposing us to multiple points of view — which, really, is part of what librarianship is all about.