Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This blog post is overdue!

It's amazing how life doesn't ever seem to slow down. My to-do list over the next few weeks is starting to get a little daunting. Between now and the first week of March, I'm moving into a new house, traveling back east to visit family and friends (and meet my very first nephew!), finishing up special projects for work at the library and for various volunteer gigs, and staying on top of school work.

Praise the lord for the internet.

I did want to take a moment for a post here at Dewey's Not Dead - I just read the most amazing book and I can't stop talking about it.

This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All by Maryiln Johnson

For those of you embedded in library industry, you've probably seen blog posts and tweets about this book everywhere (I would put some links up here, but there are way to many and god created Google for a reason). For those of you not as involved in libraries, don't fret, the book is so good that you'll enjoy it, too.

Finally, in an age where so many people think libraries are no longer necessary in a functioning society, Johnson comes riding in like a knight (what's a female knight? knightess?) in shining armor, proving again and again that libraries (and librarians) will not only be necessary in society, but will also be among the technological vanguard leading the revolution.

Here are my favorite parts of the book:

The first being the detailed account in which a few mild mannered New England librarian fought the U.S. Government's flagrant disregard of the constitution. The days following September 11th, 2001 and the passage of the patriot act were pretty scary times, but it was relieving to know that librarians had (and still have) our backs.

The second? Second Life. Who knew that librarians would be some of the largest embracers of this virtual world? There are huge communities of librarians there, running impressive virtual libraries. It was pretty fun to read about them - especially the passage that describes an actual (virtual) re-creation of the Mad Hatter's tea party from Alice In Wonderland. Librarians are so cool. Weird, but cool.

Of course, the book brought up some pretty serious issues as well. One passage described the effort of New York Public Library to transition a research branch into a circulation branch. The library's board of trustees mean well - this will allow for more of the general public to access the library's resources, but Johnson describes how there are serious concerns that irreplaceable materials (and staff) of that branch's research collection could be lost.

Because of this book I am pretty excited about checking out both radical reference and the NYPL website (it sounds like they are doing some pretty exciting things with digital content).

I don't want to go into too much more detail, otherwise there would be no reason for you to read the book (and I have way too much other stuff to do). As my childhood hero LeVar Burton always said "You don't have to take my word for it!"

1 comment:

  1. Librarians are running libraries on Second Life. I am not familiar with it, but can people other than librarians choose to be librarians? Half of the people I know have farms on Farmville, and I feel this fills a hole, perhaps a move from subsistence agriculture to manufacturing industry that left our generation behind. Librarians are farming books, and letting the crops grow into the digital age. To think that your job also leads to your job in your recreation time.

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