November 20, 2017

Library Fans Outnumber Broncos Fans, Enough Disruption, Number Games, and More Feedback

“Why does change always have to be ‘disruptive’? I suppose because it is controlled by ‘change agents’ and ‘visionaries’ and not done incrementally”

Vision or hallucination?

I’m reading Barbara Fister’s “Damage Control: Disrupting the Disrupters” (Peer to Peer Review) again in the print version (LJ 8/14, p. 14) and it is sheer genius. Why does change always have to be “disruptive”? I suppose because it is controlled by “change agents” and “visionaries” and not done incrementally as time and resources and “fiddling” permit. One person’s vision could be another person’s hallucination. This profession has suffered from the worship of “change agents.” And, yes, too many people are merely hallucinating.

—Sarah Nagle, Libn., Carver Cty. Lib., Chaska, MN

Not for libraries

Thank you for Barbara Fister’s “Damage Control: Disrupting the Disrupters” (Peer to Peer Review, LJ 8/14, p. 14). The main point for me is that “creative destruction” is a model for companies to maximize profit and crush competition. Public institutions and organizations, however, have a higher calling. I agree with Fister that with a strong sense of shared purpose, we can try new things without being destructive in the process. “Creative destruction” is an ideology that should be argued and qualified….

—Name withheld upon request

More than the Broncos!

Regarding our “dying institutions” and statistics (Rebecca T. Miller, “Library Unlimited,” Editorial, LJ 8/14, p. 8), here’s a story for you: the number of people who visited public libraries in the last two weeks here in Colorado is higher than the number of fans attending home games of the Denver Broncos in the last 12 years combined.

—Jim Duncan, Exec. Dir., Colorado Lib. Consortium, Denver

Even on Sunday

I just participated in a library event in Apex, NC…and well beyond the wonderful people who came for that, the library was hopping—on a Sunday even (Rebecca T. Miller, “Library Unlimited,” Editorial, LJ 8/14, p. 8). Libraries are definitely not on the decline….

—Jamie Mason, author, Three Graves Full, Asheville, NC

Sad victory in Miami

The Miami-Dade Library, FL, millage was at .34 (Property Tax Raised for Miami Libraries,” News, LJ 9/1/14, p. 14). When the current mayor entered office he slashed it to an unsurvivable .17; now it is being “raised” to a measly .23. How can this be called a “raise”?

The whole fiasco is more of a crime. We need to stop playing these silly numbers games. A great number of people of our county want to pay for our libraries ($30 a year is a bargain for all the services that our libraries provide), yet the mayor will not allow us to pay for our libraries. We have begged to restore the millage to where it was when he came into office, but, no, he will not put it back. One can only hope that the next mayor is visionary and will restore it to its proper place!

So this apparent victory is a sad one because it shows great disrespect to and ignorance of our libraries.

—Name withheld upon request

Better than “adequate”

You know, a lot of jobs fall into this category: middle-class, mid-level work that requires an undergraduate or master’s degree that seems basically unnecessary and has nothing to do with anything because you’re essentially trained on the job (Laura Girmscheid & Meredith Schwartz, “Payday,” LJ 7/14, p. 22–26).

However, librarian work, to me, is what the librarian makes it to be. If you perceive your job to be just about looking up books in the OPAC, answering mild reference questions, and ticking off some boxes for book ordering and calling it a day, then I guess that’s all it’s going to be. And I know a lot of librarians like that.

But I also know a lot of librarians who go above and beyond that “consistently,” who are constantly engaged in professional development activities, and who contribute a lot more to their constituency than their on-paper job description may ­indicate….

Academic librarians can’t talk shop with students and faculty without having to know what they’re talking about. Same with special librarians and archivists. Public librarians, at the very least, are doing readers’ advisory, right? That would make use of that English degree. This leaves out programming, outreach, collection development, etc.

So I suppose a vocational degree would be adequate. But who wants to be ­adequate?

—Name withheld upon request

Traffic directors?

I have one question, the answer to which has eluded librarians I work with. What is a library and what is a librarian? In the rush to be a civic center, what is the role of the building and the professional? Is it to be a movie theater, gaming center, Maker space…? Are professionals just traffic directors…? Is there a place left for books and information services? Funny, I don’t hear anything about that, only about the first-run movie the library is showing.

—Chris Grippo, North Brunswick, NJ

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

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