I was honored to give one of the keynote addresses at the 2013 Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) conference. There, I met many New Zealand LIS professionals and got a glimpse of how they work. I also became intimately acquainted with the integration of Maori culture into New Zealander LIS professionals’ lives. The Maori are the original citizens of the two islands.
In my last column, I discussed research on cognitive bias and the human mind, and speculated that what librarians call information literacy is a deeply unnatural state. The human mind hasn’t evolved to analyze carefully or think critically without a great deal of effort, and even then, the effort is often misplaced. That’s of course one reason we educate people, and higher education particularly values traits like intellectual curiosity and critical thought that often help us overcome our natural intellectual inclinations. But education is not necessarily a salvation.
I will NEVER FORGET that evening in 1975 when a group of librarians gathered to hear Major R. Owens, an African American librarian from Brooklyn, as he began his first campaign for public office. We all came together at the loft where I lived on New York’s Upper West Side. I was devastated when I heard of his death in late October.
I’m especially thankful for one very particular aspect of this Thanksgiving: not having to cook a blessed thing. I went with a cousin to Plimoth Plantation for Thanksgiving dinner, where, in addition to a traditional feast, “Pilgrim role players and Native interpreters [were] on hand to greet [us] and [we would] learn about the 1621 feast that continues to inspire our modern celebration of Thanksgiving.” Having lived in the Boston area for nearly 20 years (yipes!) I figures this was a good time to go there.
Can, Should, and Will, Part 1: Because What Libraries Need Is One More Venn Diagram | Peer to Peer Review
I came up with the diagram below while I was thinking about library management during a lull in traffic at the reference desk recently. My original intent was sort of wryly humorous (it is hilarious, don’t you think?) but the more time I spend looking at it, the more I think it’s a potentially valuable tool for helping give shape to conversations about priority-setting and decision-making in libraries, and maybe in other organizations as well.
When science fiction author, past Science Fiction Writers of America president, and noted blogger John Scalzi spoke at LJ’s Movers & Shakers luncheon during ALA Annual 2013, part of his address consisted of reading aloud from his Personal History of Libraries. It moved many in the room to tears—including Scalzi himself—and concluded with his thanks to libraries for their influence on his life and others. In honor of Thanksgiving, and with his permission, LJ reprints the piece here.
Jamie LaRue, an erstwhile public librarian (recently turned consultant) in Colorado who has done some cool things (such as negotiating directly with publishers for ebooks while refusing to pay crazy amounts for popular titles), has thought-provoking things to say about the dynamics of change in libraries. Reflecting on a discussion at the Arizona Library Association where something he said apparently raised eyebrows, he expanded on his remarks in a blog post, taking particular aim at a pattern he sees (and many of us will recognize) in library organizations. A decision is made, a direction taken, and then the sabotage begins, conducted by people who contributed little to the discussion as the decision was being made.