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ALA 2009: For the Sake of Same-Sex Marriage, Don’t Do It!

Unfortunately, I don't know if the ALA Council has debated the resolution on civil marriage I discussed last week, or at least I'm not going to admit if I'm aware of it. I've been busy, because Chicago has some good food and drink, probably the best in flyover country. But for the sake of the same-sex marriage cause, I sure hope Council doesn't pass that resolution. Why would I say that? Well, let's take a look at some of the things the ALA Council has resolved. End genocide in Darfur? I guess the Sudanese government didn't pay enough attention to the ALA Council. Against the Alito confirmation to the Supreme Court? They'd lost that one before the Council minutes were published. American withdrawal from Iraq? That one passed in 2005. Maybe that'll happen one day. If it does, we have the ALA Council to thank!  Impeach George W. Bush? Didn't happen, and I'm thinking at this point it never will. Maybe the ALA Council can pass a resolution that Bush be tried at the International ...

ALA 2009: The ALA Council and Same Sex Marriage

ALA is right around the corner, and as always it's in a seasonally inappropriate place. Summertime in Chicago is pretty bad. Come to think about it, wintertime in Chicago isn't that great, either. Maybe ALA should move its headquarters to a more temperate climate. And ALA means at least one thing: the ALA Council wasting its time discussing irrelevant political issues instead of relevant any kind of issues. This time it seems the hot topic is going to be same-sex marriage, and there's a "Resolution on Civil Marriage Equality Regardless of Sexual Orientation" being debated on the ALA Council listserv. This should be an exciting one. Let's take a look at the latest draft I've seen. "RESOLUTION ON CIVIL MARRIAGE EQUALITY REGARDLESS OF SEXUAL ORIENTATION" Definitely a catchy title. I wouldn't change a thing. I'm just not sure how it relates to American libraries. "WHEREAS, civil marriage is a basic human right and an individual choice;" Well, it's a basic ...

Outsourcing Down in Dixie

Oh, Lordy, I've been waiting for something like this. In dire times local governments sometimes want to take the "public" out of "public library." The Seminole County (FL) government is no exception, though according to the article there's a petition to stop the process. Right now they're only seeking bids for outsiders to run the library.Unfortunately, the only plausible company is LSSI , and they've faced criticism from various quarters before, and in fact failed to get a different contract to run another Florida library system, as reported back in April in something called the "Library Journal." If the Seminolians are to do business with LSSI or any other company, I suggest they do their research. Take a look at what one recent dissertation on the subject of outsourcing libraries has to say: "It is a reality in any contracting relationship that the contractor has a greater amount of power than the entity in charge of overseeing the ...

Getting Them Through the Doors

There was a comment last week that invoked a tired argument in librarianship. Some librarians are willing to defend anything they happen to like - no matter how ridiculous - with the claim that it "gets people through the doors." Consider the case of videogaming in libraries. Some librarians just come right out and admit that they're not interested in reading or the educational purpose of libraries, and that they see the library as a place to entertain children however children like to be entertained. Though their professional raison d'etre is similar to the person running the local arcade (if there are local arcades anymore), at least they're upfront about it. They like games. Kids like games. The library should entertain. Then there are the librarians who don't really like the mass vulgarity infecting libraries, but they're willing to put up with it because it gets people through the doors. Bums on seats, luv! That's what libraries are for. Either way, I can't figure ...

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