For the sake of argument, let’s all agree that the answer to this question is yes: libraries have a central mission to change the world—to make it a better, more intelligent, more tolerant, more open-minded place, one that is (thanks in part to our professional efforts) increasingly filled with well-informed critical thinkers who will, themselves, take the tools and skills with which the library has provided them and go on to make the world even better. This is what the library exists to do.
It’s been a rough year for the planet. It’s been a rough year for the country. It’s been a rough year for libraries. We face a lot of problems that are complex and scary and it’s easier to name them than to figure out what to do next. But when I look back on 2014 I see some amazing people doing the things that we librarians profess as our core values. Since there’s something about years coming to an end that leads to lists and resolutions, I thought I’d look back and give a shout out to a few of the librarians who have taken difficult situations and made courageous, difficult, affirming choices. These are just some of the many librarians who make me proud to be in this profession.
Last week, President Obama announced his proposal for America’s College Promise, an initiative aimed at making community college free for all students who maintain a grade point average of 2.5 and make steady progress toward completion. The proposal also requires community colleges to offer academic programs that would transfer fully to public colleges and universities or provide occupational training in areas of high demand by employers.
Share relevance with electorate as well as elected officials; the revised cost of divestment; objecting to DRM; and more letters to LJ’s January 2015 issue
This morning [January 8] in a Tweet Bredebieb asked me “what should public libraries do,” about the Charlie Hebdo attack. It was frankly a bit of a humbling and scary question. After all, I am not in Paris, and I cannot claim to know everything that French libraries do now. However, it would be an obvious act of cowardice to simply claim ignorance or to respond with some high level non-answer like “help the communities have a conversation.” So I provided some ideas. Still, Twitter is not exactly a place to have a deep discussion of where these ideas come from, nor truly share what I think public libraries should do. So in this post I’d like to give a deeper answer to how I feel public libraries should respond to horrific acts like the attacks on Charlie Hebdo.
A recent mailing from my library school alma mater (SUNY Albany) brought with it the realization that I’ve been a librarian for quite a long time (36 years and 6 months, to be precise, but who’s counting…), and yet, I feel about my work now very much as I did in my first job as a part-time reference librarian at Union College.