Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Geek or Nerd?

Rory Litwin has a thought-provoking piece over at Library Juice.
Perhaps the most pressing issue facing librarianship is one that is unlikely to receive serious scholarly attention. It is, to put it simply, a battle presently being fought between two camps of librarians. Some may cite generational conflict as the primary conflict in librarianship today; baby-boomers representing traditional knowledge of librarianship as well as bibliographic knowledge, and GenXers representing facility with technology. There is some truth to that picture, but it is primarily a distraction from the real conflict. That conflict, I submit, is the battle between geeks and nerds.
It's half tongue-in-cheek, but made me think. I'm not at all convinced this is generational - or, at least the young librarians I know are hardly uncritical about technology, even if they're more up-to-speed with it than some of us (ahem). And there are a number of gray-haired academic library directors who I've speaking at conferences about the latest technology as if its a religioud sacrament.

I also think this may be a dichotomy that's more likely to apply in large and/or academic libraries. It's my impression that public librarians are less interested in technology or bibliographic knowledge than they are in people and their needs. (Am I being a romantic, Charlotte?)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Here we go again: Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill

Librarians have numerous concerns about new copyright laws and regulations. Will they inhibit library preservation work? Will they have a chilling effect on the creation of new works? Will they take away the rights we already have? Etc., etc., etc. (Be sure to study the issues in library school.) Congress is at it again. Read up and speak out.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

A Day in the Life

Ria Newhouse is a young librarian who's on the cover of Library Journal. She describes her life as a librarian in her 20s working at Metro State in St. Paul, Minnesota after a stint as a teen services librarian.

I have learned so much in this job. I know how to chair a search committee, how to cry gracefully (and not so gracefully) in a meeting. I know that librarianship is a career that allows one to eat too much candy. I've learned that if you ask for what you want enough times, you might just get it. I learned that I enjoy teaching, even if it does make me nervous.

There are different kinds of lessons, too. I can be both professional and personal at the same time. It's a hard balance to maintain, but it's something I'm good at. It's okay to have a heart, to show some emotion, to say what you think, and to wear a skirt that buttons up the side. I've learned that I am provocative, smart, funny, and quite sassy. I am a valuable part of this profession and a day in my life is something I would never want to miss.

(For the record, I've been to a lot of library meetings and though they've been stimulating, frustrating, sometimes dull, sometimes contentious, I have never been brought to tears. That's not to say we always agree, but those disagreements are usually the most interesting part.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Rankings Released

US News & World Report has updated its stale ranking of LIS programs. I'm not sure that's a good thing, since I think the whole rankings game is misleading, but at least we're being as misled about library graduate programs as other grad. programs. Woo-hoo!

Library Journal offers the top ten - or rather, the top seven, with several schools tied for places. And adds a grain of salt or two.