February 12, 2016

Feedback: Letters to LJ, March 15, 2014 Issue

“I do believe that now, more than ever, we need to focus on the values and principles that unite all types of librarianship”

Unity for the future

I’m cautious of jumping to the conclusion without supporting data that this lack of unification (Daniel O’Connor and Phil Mulvaney, “ALA and Reunifying Librarianship,” LJ 3/1/14, p. 50–51) is connected to declining membership numbers. That being said, I’ve had this exact issue on my mind because of what is addressed at the end of the article.

I do believe that now, more than ever, we need to focus on the values and principles that unite all types of librarianship. The traditional career ladder in which a young librarian picks a type of librarianship and then moves up through that position (possibly all within one organization) is still very much in place in our profession, but that’s beginning to break down in the face of collaborative efforts—and that’s a good thing.

At my own academic library, for example, a [Digital Public Library of America] project involves not just digital services but our archives and outreach through a local public library system.

I strongly believe that we need more opportunities and more support for involvement in groups that span library types, not just because it unifies us as a profession but also because it prepares us to think innovatively about the future of our profession.

—Sara Zettervall, Assoc. to the Univ. Libn., Univ. of Minnesota Libs., Minneapolis

Interact in ALA divisions

The American Library Association (ALA) reflects libraries at large in its divisions by specialty (Daniel O’Connor and Phil Mulvaney, “ALA and Reunifying Librarianship,” LJ 3/1/14, p. 50–51). Coming from a public library world, virtually the only time I interacted with academic librarians was through LAMA (now the Library Leadership and Management Association). Even locally, I only have a relationship with one of the state university libraries because of a past relationship with an ALA colleague. So there’s more [needed] than just changing ALA if we want to bring down these divisions.

—Christian Esquevin, Dir., Coronado P.L., CA

ALA worth the costs

I have been a member of ALA for about 27 years (Daniel O’Connor and Phil Mulvaney, “ALA and Reunifying Librarianship,” LJ 3/1/14, p. 50–51). Yes, the costs do bother me. However, I feel that I am getting value from the publications that I receive, particularly from the [Association for Library Service to Children] and [Public Library Association]. I am also the only staff member with a master’s degree, ALA-accredited. Other places that I have worked paid my dues. Here they do not. I am working, though, to get this changed, and hopefully this will change for next budget year beginning in October. Networking with other members also means a lot. I valued my participation in the International Book Fair in Guadalajara, which has an ALA connection and support.

—Christopher Kuechmann, Val Verde Cty. Libn., Del Rio, TX

The only smiles

Amen! I read too many blogs and encounter too many other librarians who seem to detest what they do for a living and are waiting to retire (John Berry, “A Career, Not Just a Job,” Blatant Berry, LJ 2/1/14, p. 10). The work is sometimes unpleasant, but I personally feel that the rewards are great. We’re helping people get jobs, develop information literacy skills that they can take with them everywhere, teaching kids to love stories, befriending different kinds of people, and sometimes even giving our patrons a safe, warm place to stay when nowhere else is available. Maybe ours are the only smiles they see in a day, and we’re the only people who treat them with the courtesy all people deserve. I think it’s important to not lose sight of this bigger picture when we continue along our career paths in librarianship.

—Nicole Miller, Dir., Gilbert P.L., MN

Think career!

John Berry is right…(“A Career, Not Just a Job,” Blatant Berry, LJ 2/1/14, p. 10). Now, if those in the field can think as he does, we will all be better off. Think career! Thank you, John, for keeping us…headed in the right direction.

—James Matarazzo, Simmons Coll., Boston

Selling weeds

After reading John Berry’s “The Weeding War” (Blatant Berry, LJ 11/1/13, p. 10), I would suggest that any library contact its funding body or financial officer to see just what you are allowed to do with your weeds. Our county budget director deemed that books were public property. After weeding our collection, we could not simply sell them inside the library as we wished. We had to hold a public auction to rid us of our surplus public property. Luckily, we do not have to book an auctioneer every time we weed. Instead, we weed our collections, and, once a good number of weeded materials have accumulated, we take pictures and sell our items via GovDeals—a public auction in the eyes of our budget office.

—Adam Southern, Reference Libn., Maury Cty. P.L., Columbia, TN


In “Editors’ Spring Picks” (LJ 2/15/14, p. 24–28), Suzanne Greenberg, author of Lesson Plans (Prospect Park, May), was misidentified as Suzanne Green. LJ apologizes.

This article was published in Library Journal's March 15, 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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