“Opinionated, Humorous, and Scathing”

Library Journal has a piece on blogging in libraries. One interesting comment: “unlike a transaction at the reference desk, blogs needn’t be neutral. In fact, many librarian-authored blogs are personal, opinionated, humorous, and scathing.”

The notion of neutrality came up in one of the Chronicle pieces on tenure that we’ve been talking about here. In arguing that tenure hampers our work, Deborah A. Carver says “librarians are also expected to maintain neutrality with respect to political, moral, or aesthetic views.” So where does that leave our bloggers?

Actually, I think what librarians must do is welcome a wide range of perspectives onto their shelves and through their doors. We shouldn’t provide services or instruction that push a singular perspective. We should be disinterestedly avid in the pursuit of knowledge, but that doesn’t mean we should have nothing to say for ourselves (and therefore no need for academic freedom or tenure).

Nevertheless, this issue is a rich one when it comes to blogging because this truly is a new genre and the authorial voice, whatever its source, is rarely neutral.

Author: Barbara Fister

I'm an academic librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota. Like all librarians at our small, liberal arts institution I am involved in reference, collection development, and shared management of the library. My area of specialization is instruction, with research interests also in media literacy, popular literacy, publishing, and assessment.

2 thoughts on ““Opinionated, Humorous, and Scathing””

  1. Yes, I read it this morning when it was posted to another blog I’m involved with-Librarians at the Gate – for undergrads interested in the profession). I admit I’m sometimes in violation of these rules, but it’s such a fluid form of expression it’s hard to be too rule-bound. Here, admittedly, we’re just starting something that is bound to evolve as more voices join in. It will be an interesting ride! Thanks for jumping right in.

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