Sunday, June 25, 2006


On Lightning and Rods

In her inimitable fashion, The Lipstick Librarian posts about what the loss of Michael Gorman as ALA President means to us all. (This blog postdates many of the past year's flaps, but you can probably guess my thoughts. If not, see this LJ column for some clarification.)

Anyway, she points out Gorman's galvanizing function as a lightning rod, bringing us together in reaction, if nothing else. This is a good point; I've worked places where a forced staff unity, engendered by a mutual dislike of administrative policies, fell apart as soon as the administrator moved on. It's a lot easier to be against someone's proclamations -- especially such obvious targets -- than it is to be proactive in moving forward.

Walt Crawford notes that I call myself "a Library 2.0 believer" (scroll down to "Five brief notes"). I realized upon reading this that I'd never really explained my position on Library 2.0. This is partially because I believe Library 2.0 is best tackled by people currently working in libraries, which I am not. But my experiences working in public libraries (and hearing about other people's experiences) make me believe in Library 2.0 as a positive unifying force. I believe we need something to hitch our wagon to, and I'm happy hooking mine up here. The main arguments I have seen against Library 2.0 are that "2.0" is too much of a buzzword or that Library 2.0 contains some existing concepts. Both of these seem to me to be beside the point. I see Library 2.0 as the Gorman antidote, galvanizing us to work towards something rather than just to come out against something.

Enough with the Gorman-bashing (though yours barely counts as a love-tap compared to some). There's plenty of room under our Library Tent for dissenting voices and other points of view. Let's not imitate our elected officials and demonize our brethren. There's no disagreement over some essential points, e.g., libraries MUST change to survive, users can be better served, culture and society are immeasurably enriched by libraries...let's get on with the business of addressing these issues, each in his/her own way.
When Gorman admits I can read, sure thing.
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