Building the House we Shall Live In

There are two very interesting posts from Peter Brantley at UC Berkeley about the library’s relationship with the Google Books library project.

The first says bluntly “we made a mistake.” Libraries should not have allowed Google to woo them singularly and in secrecy. “Regardless of what is given us, whenever we might feel grateful for the generosity of the enriched, we must still own the defining of our expectations.”

In the second, he clarifies that he applauds the Google Books project, but that libraries were too passive about how the terms were set, that as a whole we need to seize the opportunity to open up public discussion of the issues.

I conclude by urging libraries: let us engage deeply in these issues, not only amongst ourselves, and search engines, but with publishers and authors. Let us break open this dialogue to better understand among the cacophony of voices all of the richness of our different perspectives, and struggle through the differences more openly and straightforwardly. Only through this is any emergent consensus possible. The alternative is that new understandings will be imposed on us. Let us instead build the house we shall live in, together.

Yes! Yes! Yes! (And thanks for pointing it out, Tony.)

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 “Building the House we Shall Live In”

  1. Pingback: Lousy Publishers!

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