October 19, 2017

Blatant Berry

Challenged by Change: The Most Difficult, and Important, Part of the Job | Blatant Berry

It takes me a day or more to adjust to and relearn my computer systems after they are automatically “upgraded” or “improved” by the vendors. When they decide to replace an old system totally with a new one, I get lost in dysfunction for months. In some cases, I never master all the bells and whistles, and I always end up wondering why some of my favorite features needed to be “improved.”

Moving to Management: More a Coach Than a Boss | Blatant Berry

“I love that mea culpa, John!” said the president of the company at which I was working. I had just told the folks at a meeting that a problem had been my fault. I don’t even remember what that problem was, but what the president said was one of the most important lessons of my career.

Hiring is Recruiting: A Career Often Begins in a Low-level Library Job | Blatant Berry

Many of my closest librarian friends found their way into our profession much as I did. We had no idea what a librarian did, nor how or why anyone would become one. In my case, just out of the U.S. Army after two years as a draftee and badly in need of a livelihood, I followed up on an advertisement from a local library.

Listening to the Young: Be Open-Minded To the Next Generations | Blatant Berry

A late-night argument with my son Tom and a brief discussion with Christian Zabriskie, who wrote the letter “Condescending!” in this month’s Feedback, set me ruminating on the way our perspectives change as we age.

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.