Friday, May 05, 2006

TLA Conference Notes, Day 3: Session on Revolting Librarians

Title: "Revolting Librarians Redux."
Presenter: Jessamyn West, editor and author of and editor of the book Revolting Librarians Redux: Radical Librarians Speak Out.

Note: Ms. West's presentation is up online here.

This was the session that I actually planned to do first on Day 3, but I was early. At any rate, part of the reason I went to see this session is that I am actually in the middle of reading Revolting Librarians Redux. I think I decided to do it when I saw a few references to it in other places. At any rate, I figured it would be good to listen to the editor. In addition, is on my blogroll, and when it comes to bibliobloggers, Ms. West's name is basically one of the luminaries, so another reason to go. Overall it was an interesting and inspiring session for me. I think it part it was inspiring for me because it validated a lot of the things I do in my line of work. You do need a degree of the progressive librarianship to work on the mission I do. Since her presentation is online, these are then very brief notes. By the way, one of the hands I am using to type this is the hand that shook Ms. West's hand (what can I say, it was like meeting some mythical yet brilliant author. Yet she is probably one of the most down to earth people I have been fortunate to meet). The crowd in the room was a bit sparse, but the ones there seemed clearly interested and engaged.

She began with an overview of our profession's history. She learned over time that there is more to librarianship and SuDocs and Dialog queries. On publication of the first Revolting Librarians (1972), she saw that librarians can use their knowledge for good. Redux came out 30 years later. Good is not just providing the most books in the cheapest way possible for the most people. Progressive librarianship means letting people be who they are.

Challenges we face.
  • Digital divide versus the ideological divide.
  • Networked versus local. Who are the constituents of a library given networks but local funding?
  • The "loyalty" thing.
Problem in the profession: librarians need to "own" the technology and Internet in order to educate and show why librarians go well with technology and the Internet. Contrary to popular belief, not everything is online, plus the World Wide Web can be a very confusing place. Librarians can help with this and more.

No comments: