I attended the annual meeting of the Academic Library Association of Ohio on Friday, which included a keynote on censorship in America by Mad Magazine writer Joe Raiola, as well as more traditional academic library fare such as programs on accreditation, information commons design and assessment, emerging models for human resources management, and integration of library resources into online learning environments and campus portals.
Raiola’s keynote is likely to have people talking in Ohio for some time, as it was (true to its content) wholly uncensored and veered into areas both obscene and profane. Raiola made some excellent points about censorship, including that there is no form of censorship as effective as self-censorship, and his discussion of the place of Mad Magazine founder Bill Gaines in the early debates over comic books during the 1950s was interesting, but no few audience members were offended by his use of language defined by the FCC as obscene and his targeting the political and religious right as the objects of most of his humor. Personally, I enjoyed it, but I anticipate a local renewal over the issue of the appropriate place of political commentary at library conferences.
I also attended an excellent introduction to blogging in academic libraries by Ohiolink’s Candi Clevenger, author of the LibTalk blog, who described blogs as an opportunity to “tell your library’s story with a human touch.” I didn’t agree with all of her assertions about best practice for library blogging, but it was a good talk that raised some important issues and generated good discussion. You can find find her handouts here.
There were lots of other good presentations and I’ll invite our Ohio readers to include comments about their favorites.