October 19, 2016

The Wrong Umbrella: In search of a stronger model | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

I’m concerned that the Canadian Library Association (CLA) has decided to disband. It isn’t just that I remember many of the top Canadian librarians I befriended and the good times I had at CLA conferences. The Canadian librarians I recently talked to were very unhappy about the dissolution of CLA (though they were too few to be a valid sample, and their views are too close to mine to help me understand what brought about this drastic action).

Paralibrarian of the Year 2016: Brown Biggers

Photo by Mitchell Kearney

In a compelling entry supported by 20 passionate letters from the academic community of the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG), and beyond—including deans, faculty, administrators, librarians, community leaders, and coworkers—Brown Biggers was overwhelmingly recommended for LJ’s 2016 Paralibrarian of the Year Award, sponsored by DEMCO. Among the highlights, nominators pointed to Biggers’s communication and teaching skills, technological expertise, commitment to service both at his job and in the larger Greensboro community, and genuine love for people.

The Gadfly Alerts: They warn us of corrupted information | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

The first time I encountered the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) was nearly 30 years ago. Almost miraculously, PLG has survived from just after the Reagan era through the Clinton and Bush years until Obama. It is still small but manages to publish Progressive Librarian (PL), a journal that combines rigorous scholarship with a strong ideological sentiment.

Culture Convener | Best Small Library in America 2016

Photo ©2016 William Neumann

Once quaint, the Albert Wisner Public Library galvanized support for a new library that narrows the digital divide and powers a roster of nonstop programs

Nicolle Ingui Davies: LJ’s 2016 Librarian of the Year


There is more than enough evidence to confirm the choice of Nicolle Ingui Davies as the 2016 LJ Librarian of the Year, our award sponsored by Baker & Taylor. Take her special skills at communicating with community members in and outside of the library. Then there is her leadership in building and developing a committed and passionate staff dedicated to patron service. That is complemented by her unequivocal belief that libraries are essential services, not just “nice” assets, and the best medium to achieve an informed citizenry. The results of Davies’s leadership convinced voters in 2015 that they ought to tax themselves to the tune of $30 million a year, increasing the Arapahoe Library District (ALD) budget by $6 million.

Idealism Reawakened: A former student rejuvenates an old editor | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

One of the joys of teaching is reconnecting with students years later as they pursue their careers. I recently had lunch and a long discussion with Patti Foerster, who had been a student a decade ago in my class at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library & Information Science, River Forest, IL.

Boston Bound | ALA Midwinter Preview 2016


There is no better city than Boston in which to hold the first professional conference of the election year. This is especially true for the Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits of the American Library Association (ALA), to be held January 8–12, 2016.

Patricia K. Galloway | LJ/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award Winner 2015


Rarely can one find a professor with such a wide and profound knowledge of the fields and disciplines that relate to applying digital technology to development of cultural archives. Professor Patricia K. Galloway, of the iSchool at the University of Texas (UT) at Austin, takes these achievements several levels higher with her record of original and broad scholarship; her many contributions to research and new knowledge in her practice and belief system of cultural archives and historiography; and the roster of current and former students she has led, instructed, and greatly inspired. Together, these achievements moved the judges to name her the winner of the 2015 Library Journal/ALISE Excellence in Teaching Award, sponsored by Rowman & Littlefield.

More Than Information | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

I was surprised when the news came that the School of Information and Library Science at New York’s Pratt Institute had changed its name to the School of Information. I’ve been an adjunct professor there for more than three decades, and I was saddened at first that this old, venerable school, the second such school in the nation, was dropping “library science” from its name. After reading letters from Dean Tula Giannini and Pratt’s provost Kirk E. Pillow, I was somewhat reassured. I realize that this is now the direction of things and marks real progress in staying abreast of this digital age and the growing discipline once called information science. That field now carries a version of that name or informatics or just plain information studies. It is professed in every college and university these days, a kind of darling in higher ed. So it is understandable for Pratt to take that step.

By the People: The library future resides in users’ perception | Blatant Berry

John Berry III

The history of the public library in America has just been rewritten, and the result provides crucial new tools to help guarantee its future. This new history comes from Wayne A. Wiegand’s new book, Part of Our Lives: A People’s History of the American Public Library (Oxford Univ., Oct. 2015).