ALA President Michael Gorman will be sponsoring a “Forum on Education for Librarianship” at Midwinter. From the Midwinter catalog of events:
Forum on Education for Librarianship
Friday, January 20, 2006, 1:00 -5:30 pm
ALA President Michael Gorman invites library practitioners, educators and students to participate in a half-day forum to explore the big issues in library education: What is the nature of the profession of librarianship and what does the 21st century librarian need to know? How do we translate this understanding of our profession into a meaningful LIS curriculum? What are the implications for ALA accreditation? Presentations on these hot topics in LIS education will be followed by participant discussion and feedback. This is your opportunity to make your voice heard on an issue of vital importance to the future of our profession.
You may register using the online registration form at https://cs.ala.org/forumoneducation. There is no fee to register for this event.
I won’t be able to attend, but I hope someone will and will mine it for issues related to academic and research librarianship that can be blogged.
Some news out there that is troubling for anyone concerned about intellectual freedom. The University of San Francisco Law Review edited out a section of an archived article when one of the parties in a lawsuit discussed in the article threatened to sue. The publisher couldn’t afford to go to court. The author couldn’t either. And the author’s institution – the University of Oregon – wouldn’t agree to foot the bill, even though there was a high likelihood of winning. Moral of the story? If you don’t like something an academic publishes, threaten to sue. Even if you don’t have a hope of winning, you might be able to edit the record just by being a nuisance.
Or just legislate it out of existence. In France, lawmakers have passed a law that requires textbooks to paint French colonial history in a positive light. In spite of recent events, parliament voted to uphold this la vie en rose approach to history. If you’re having trouble getting your legislators to pay attention, a little talk radio can help. A few years ago our own Congress voted to condemn an article published in The Bulletin of the American Psychological Assocation after a vigorous public campaign by Dr. Laura to discredit it.
More recently, one of the authors of that article had his article yanked from The Journal of Homosexuality when a right-wing group caught wind of its imminent publication. The press has since agreed to publish the other articles in the issue and even, apparently, to publish the offending article in a future supplement. Haworth’s Editor in Chief said delaying publication made sense because it “was unnecessarily controversial in the current social and political climate.” Um … isn’t then exactly when we need to talk about controversial things?
This seems to me to be an issue academic librarians need to follow closely. We believe in making many different perspectives available in our collections. But that’ll be difficult if those perspectives are never published.
This is very sad news and a real loss for all of us involved in information literacy.
ACRL has opened registration for the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute 2006. Reviews of earlier Harvard programs have been strong, and this year’s program again promises participants the opportunity to explore their own leadership style and to critically evaluate how well-positioned their home institutions are to meet future challenges.
There are a variety of leadership development initiatives now available to librarians, including regional programs like TLA’s Tall Texans, IT-infused programs like EDUCAUSE’s Frye Institute, and programs designed to prepare leaders for specific initiatives, including information literacy instruction, and scholarly communication. And, of course, there’s Senior Fellows. I’d be interested to hear from program alumni what they gained from these programs in the area of leadership and, for those who have attended more than one, how they felt the different programs complemented one another.
An addendum: given all the resources dedicated to these programs, it’s also worth asking how effective they have been in terms of actually helping to prepare the current/next generation of library leadership. I remember some work that Mark Winston did some years back tracing the career trajectory of Snowbird alumni, but haven’t tracked any similar studies that may have been done of regional program alumni, etc.
There’s an interesting piece in the Chron by Siva Vaidhyanathan – “A Risky Gamble with Google.” He argues that what some think is a David and Goliath story of Google versus big publishing is really more of a fight between Godzilla and Megalon.
But what really worries him is that libraries are partnering with a huge for-profit corporation to “bet the Internet” on a copyright battle that could go wrong. Libraries have outsourced risk – and let Google lay claim to our social and technical role in society. He worries that in so doing, Google will “displace the library from our lives.”
The presumption that Google’s powers of indexing and access come close to working as a library ignores all that libraries mean to the lives of their users. All the proprietary algorithms in the world are not going to replace them. There was a reason why Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and others of their generation believed the republic could not survive without libraries. They are embodiments of republican ideals. They pump the blood of a democratic culture, information . . . Whichever side wins in court, we as a culture have lost sight of the ways that human beings, archives, indexes, and institutions interact to generate, preserve, revise, and distribute knowledge. We have become obsessed with seeing everything in the universe as “information” to be linked and ranked. We have focused on quantity and convenience at the expense of the richness and serendipity of the full library experience. We are making a tremendous mistake.
Well . . . I don’t know about that. We haven’t seen our libraries empty out as information goes online. I think libraries are as likely to be discovered as books are by their collections being searchable. Books will remain a viable format for sustained reading and engagement with ideas even if their contents can be found in snippets online.
But when it comes to the core values libraries have surrendered in order to let Google represent them in court – that’s certainly worth thinking about.