May 27, 2017

Blatant Berry

Teach Library Politics: Missing and Neglected Content in LIS Programs | Blatant Berry

My alma mater, Boston’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, just asked me to complete a survey on what ought to be in its LIS curriculum. The survey’s hierarchy descended in priority from “core,” the things every graduate should have studied. There were five or six levels offered, but I only used the top three: “core,” “very important,” and “important.” The questions covered nearly everything I would have tried to fit into the crowded LIS curriculum.

Information for Immigrants: Still Essential After All These Decades | Blatant Berry

Fears and hopes about immigrants and immigration have always been part of American society and politics. They have been manifest in many ways, some receptive and welcoming, others alarming and rejecting. While a host of obstacles, prejudices, and hostile forces are arrayed against immigrants, the public library is still one of the vital agencies making entry into our nation easier and more effective.

A New Challenge for ALA: Leading Between Activism and Advocacy | Blatant Berry

The American Library Association (ALA) faces the difficult job of finding new leaders at a time of great uncertainty about the nation’s politics and how this will impact the nation’s future and that of libraries.

The Devalued MLIS: ALA’s Leader Must Be a Librarian | Blatant Berry

For nearly all 140 years of the existence of the American Library Association (ALA), its Executive Director (ED) has been a professional librarian. Today, the credential required to ensure that the ED is a librarian is the Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) degree. However, a group of ALA councilors and Executive Board members apparently wanted to change that.

Inspired by Serving Others: The rewards are unrelated to the bottom line | Blatant Berry

Nick Higgins emailed me the other day. He was a student in my class at what is now called the School of Information at the Pratt Institute in New York City, graduating in 2008. One of the joys of teaching is the continuing contact with students as they progress through their careers. In our profession that contact is especially gratifying.

The Oldest Challenge: It comes from believers, parents, even librarians | Blatant Berry

Conflicts that pit our professional stance in favor of intellectual freedom against citizen pressure or our own impulses to suppress “inappropriate” expression is the oldest challenge librarianship faces. When the modern library movement was born, librarians thought they were gatekeepers. Early debates over whether fiction should be banned ultimately morphed into the profession’s current position: no one has the right to tell anyone else what they are allowed to read.

We Are Not a Business: Using the library benefits everyone | Blatant Berry

The idea that the private sector, AKA “business,” operates more effectively, efficiently, and with less corruption than government and its institutions is popular again. That message, with added shrill tones and imperative shouting, grows louder every day as the national election draws near.

The Misinformation Age | Blatant Berry

“Those who know don’t talk, those who talk don’t know.” That old bromide was applied to commentators on broadcast media, though we could currently swap out post for talk. Some of those original talking heads gave us wisdom, others simply nattered on to fill their allotted airtime. Today, the paraphrase fits as what we call “social media” overtake the traditional ones.

Keep Copyright at LC | Blatant Berry

Copyright is the only right defined in the main text of the U.S. Constitution. It is specified in Article 1, Section 8, so it didn’t have to be added in the amendments known as the Bill of Rights, which tells us how important the concept of copyright was to the founders. They enumerated its dimensions in a sparse sentence: “To promote the Progress of science and useful Arts by securing for limited times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”

Arguing with Charlie: Debate need not be hostile | Blatant Berry

Charlie Robinson and I both earned our MLS degrees at the School of Library Science (SLS) at Simmons College in Boston. I first met Charlie (who died last month) in the office of Ken Shaffer, the SLS dean. When alumni would come back to visit, Shaffer would gather a few of his favorites in his office for conversation. If they were influential dignitaries, or he thought they would become such, he liked it all the better.