November 17, 2017

Feedback: Letters to LJ, April 1, 2015 Issue

“Yes, our subscriptions are free, but—shocker—the free access we offer does not cause book sales to plummet”

Libraries sell books

I almost laughed out loud when I read the summarization of commentary at the [Digital Book World] conference (“Amazon, Publishers Look to Subscription Services”). Amazon seeks to add subscription services and do so in a way that does not harm individual book sales. The other publisher subscription services are finding it actually increases book purchases and access to their backlists. This is what public libraries have been doing for centuries. Yes, our subscriptions are free, but—shocker—the free access we offer does not cause book sales to plummet. We even offer multiple publishers within one “platform” and help people find great books, both digital and paper. We’ve been ahead of the game all along! Maybe Amazon and publishing ­execs should get out of the office and into the public library to find the ideal “subscription” model they’re looking for.

—Emily Passey, Asst. Director, Shorewood P.L., WI

A tool, not a solution

So much research now out there about reading, the difficulties most people face when trying to make meaning from text on screen, and the fact that you need good literacy skills with traditional media (print) before you can interrogate text on the screen (Cheryl LaGuardia, “Kindle or Print? Librarians Weigh In,” Not Dead Yet). Add to this the complexities of visual interpretation and it is no wonder that most people across all age groups print when they want to read for meaning. Found the same thing in my own research with the so-called digital natives. Computers are complementary, not compensatory. Kids who have difficulties reading…won’t be able to use the computer effectively either. Adding audios and visuals are also problematic, since we tend to…concentrate on reading and writing. We need to teach all forms of literacy…. Technology in schools is a tool that can enhance learning, but it is not a solution.

—Barbara Combes, Lecturer, SIS, Charles Sturt Univ., New South Wales, Australia

Expand accreditation

No one expects a pediatrician and a neuro­surgeon to apply their skills in the same venue (Dorothea Salo, “A Specialist Profession or a Profession of Specialists?” Peer to Peer Review). So with the library profession: a medical librarian and a competitive intelligence analyst may have a similar core but a very different practice. Circa 1999, a multiday meeting was held to try to get some expansion of the ALA accreditation standards to recognize skills for…programs such as law, medical, engineering, or museum library studies, but little to nothing came of the report. As an adjunct for a course in specialized libraries, I find my students are surprised at the breadth of “nontraditional” places their core skills can be used….

—Susan Hayes, Boynton Beach, FL

Find a specialization

Salo’s thoughtful perspective (Dorothea Salo, “A Specialist Profession or a Profession of Specialists?” Peer to Peer Review) prompts me to point to Standard II Curriculum with its expectations of specialization and assessment of the quality of those learning opportunities. The directory of accredited programs searchable database includes options for finding 21 different specializations…to explore.

—Karen O’Brien, Office for Accreditation, American Lib. Assn., Chicago

Obsolete mind-set

As someone who teaches as adjunct faculty in an MLIS program (Univ. of Denver, Alternative LIS Careers) and was also involved in the program accreditation process, I concur with this cogent description of the dilemma facing the profession—in all its forms—and the grad schools (Dorothea Salo, “A Specialist Profession or a Profession of Specialists?” Peer to Peer Review). Those with the most to lose from this obsolete mind-set are the students who generally go through their programs accepting the under­lying premise that true librarianship is these traditional types of jobs and then are devastated when they can’t find those traditional jobs and feel entirely unprepared for other possibilities. Expanding our concepts of what librarianship and information work entails will not only open up additional job opportunities for these grads but also bring MLIS programs into the real world.

—Kim Dority, G.K. Dority & Assocs., Denver

Paralibrarian kudos

Congratulations, Tamara, on receiving this prestigious award (“Tamara Faulkner Kraus: Paralibrarian of the Year”). It was a proud moment for me, and I’m sure you will have that feeling, too, for many years to come. A well-deserved honor for the outstanding job and person you are to serve the community and an ­asset to the library and the profession.

—Susan Knoche, East Tennessee State Univ., Johnson City; LJ Paralibrarian of the Year, 2003

Tar heel pride

The North Carolina Library Association is so very proud of you (although not ­really surprised), Tamara (“Tamara Faulkner Kraus: Paralibrarian of the Year”). You represent the best of our work..thank you for all that you do and congratulations…!

—Dale Cousins, Pres., North Carolina Lib. Assn., Raleigh

This article was published in Library Journal's April 1, 2015 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

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