Saturday, January 22, 2011

sharing equals caring

Why is it that when I want to make an omelette, my eggs get scrambled and when I want to make a scramble, my eggs turn into an omelette? Not that this is either here nor there, but I am finding there are two things in my life that are turning me to Buddhism: Public transportation and cooking eggs.

Anyways, onto librarianship! Here are three articles I've read online in the past week that I thought were fascinating and wanted to share.

First up: Bookstore on the ropes. Here is a story about an independent bookstore that is going out of business. I know, I know: sad. But I think the owner has come up with a great analogy for the trifecta of threats (poor economy, eBooks and online shopping) that is bringing down independent booksellers: A perfect storm. I hate that bookstores are closing, but I like a good analogy.

Next up: Patrons clear the shelves. Here is a story of a British library that was on the chopping block (much like the bookstore in my first story), and the patrons were so concerned that the library is going to close that they checked out ALL the books in the library. I feel ambivalent about this story. On the one hand - I love the direct action that the patrons took to send a strong message to the library power holders and decision makers. On the other hand, part of me thinks that it sucks that there is nothing on the shelves. I know it is obviously a temporary action, but I feel if any patron walks into a library, they should be able to check out a book, even if it is not the book they are looking for. This action also makes me wonder what librarians (and myself) can do to make sure that an action this extreme is not needed, and the value of a library is always understood.

This last one is interesting, and got stuck in my mind after a recent conversation. I was having a drink with friends after class, and a recent acquaintance - who apparently is a devout devil's advocate just learned that we were library students - wanted us to defend our profession in the age of google. We did our best in dealing with a tired argument, but I wish that I had his email address to share this article with him: Humans vs. automated search: Why people power is cool again. This article discusses some issues that the infamous google algorithm has - mainly that spam and "content farms" can really effect the results of google searches - and how people influenced searches can really insure that good information can float to the top among a lot of the crap that is out there.

In closing - my quiver for the blog is currently empty, and school is really kicking in. I hope to continue with regularly scheduled postings - at least once a week or so. But please don't be surprised if posts are a bit more space out than that. Thanks again to all my readers!!

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