March 16, 2018

Blatant Berry

Ghikas, What ALA Needs: The Perfect Model for the Search Committee | Blatant Berry

The Executive Board of the American Library Association (ALA) recently appointed Mary Ghikas ALA executive director (ED) through January 2020. Ghikas has been interim ED since last August 2017, when previous ED Keith Fiels retired. Before that she was senior associate ED of member programs and services. After my last column (“A Librarian Must Lead ALA”), the news was deeply reassuring.

A Librarian Must Lead ALA: Be Sure You Vote in March | Blatant Berry

If this headline seems familiar, there’s a good reason: one year ago I said something very similar in “The Devalued MLIS.” At the time, I was addressing the upcoming vote of the American Library Association (ALA) Council on whether ALA should require candidates for its open executive director spot to hold a master’s degree in library science.

Take On “the Burden”: To Calm the Angry or Argumentative | Blatant Berry

“When the sane are dealing with the insane, the burden is on the sane.” That was one of my father’s favorite axioms, especially after some family argument (or a few drinks). The rest of the family used the idea frequently to calm our angry discussions with one another or with our friends and adversaries.

Vietnam Catharsis: Welcome Release From Burns and Novick | Blatant Berry

I’m certain I am not the only American who has finally achieved the catharsis we needed for so long by watching PBS’s production The Vietnam War, the great film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The tragedy of the events and the emotions many of us have borne since have finally been given release and relief in this newest archival work of art. We all owe Burns and his colleagues our gratitude.

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.