March 20, 2018

Feedback: Letters to LJ, February 1, 2017 Issue

“If libraries are going to be more active…should they…help with ferreting out and debunking false news stories like those in the recent elections?”

Ferreting and sharing

Kudos to Rebecca Miller for her eloquent editorial describing the historic role of libraries in “fostering a culture that builds a world that is truly free for everyone” (Rebecca T. Miller, “The Better Angels”). If libraries are going to be more active in the pursuit of this historic mission, should they 1) help with ferreting out and debunking false news stories like those in the recent elections and 2) share their own experience in forging compromises and sharing power within their own communities with stymied public officials?

—Joe Garonzik, Mktg. Dir., Genealogical Pub., Baltimore

“Research” misunderstood

It is extremely difficult to develop and provide a high-quality product or service without conducting basic market research (Matt Enis, “University of Michigan Launches ‘Deep Blue Data’ Repository”). Some people have a strong aversion to the word research because they believe [it] implies a highly sophisticated set of techniques that only highly trained people can use, [or that] research generates lots of data [and] reports that rarely are ever used. This is a major misunderstanding.

—Name withheld

Can’t eat it!

If only we could eat our excellent customer service (John Berry, “Inspired by Serving Others”). Sadly for the librarian profession, the bottom line does not work for raising a family, buying a house, or saving for retirement.

—Name withheld

Nevada County wins!

Nevada County, CA, had one of those “too close to call” ballot initiatives (Lisa Peet, “More Election Wins than Losses for Libraries”). After two weeks of waiting as vote-by-mail and provisional ballots were counted, I’m delighted to say that the library sales tax initiative passed with 70.55 percent of the vote (it needed 66.7 percent). I can’t thank John Chrastka and ­EveryLibrary enough for their support and sage ­advice throughout the whole process.

—Laura Pappani, Cty. Libn., Nevada Cty., CA

Collaborate not separate

I don’t think we should separate people into groups, such as Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z, etc., and look to a single group to build a better future (Steven Bell, “Time To Change Everything Again…For Generation Z”). A better future comes from collaboration, when an older person doesn’t discount the ideas of another just because they are younger and a younger person doesn’t assume the knowledge of an older person as antiquated. People who are used to not knowing how things work…may be able to unhinge their creativity because they are not bogged down by the inner workings, but they will likely head down a road that was followed and led to dead ends because they do not understand how things work. Collaborating is vital to ­everyone….

—Kenny Martin, Pacifica, CA

Gen Z moving on

One characteristic of Gen Z is that they are very proactive in terms of their careers (Steven Bell, “Time To Change Everything Again…For Generation Z”). When they feel they need to move on, they will. Administrators/managers/leaders ignore this at their peril and are often shocked when people leave after a short time for greener pastures. When I joined this profession 30 years ago, it was “wait your turn,” even if that would be 20 years. There is no such mind-set with Gen Z, and I believe it is much healthier, generated though it is by massive economic and career uncertainty.

—Sarah Nagle, Libn., Carver Cty. Lib., Chaska, MN

Intolerance overstated?

Intolerance for demonstrated bad behavior is always warranted (Lisa Peet, “Campus Libraries See Increase in Discriminatory Incidents”). Lets do some math to place this article in perspective. There are approximately 180,000 school and academic libraries in the [United States]. Assuming one location per incident, 700 reported incidents indicates about four tenths of one percent of all locations reported an issue. That doesn’t seem to suggest mass intolerance as implied in this article when 99.6 percent of all libraries are indeed the safe place we all expect. It seems inflammatory to say there is a large undercurrent that requires action from all libraries to confront.

—Name withheld

This article was published in Library Journal's February 1, 2017 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.