I recently added a link on my “Experience” page where anyone who was interested could download my resume. You could also get it here:
As a librarian, I am staunchly against censorship, especially for children’s materials. The priority should be to encourage children to read and to develop their own subjective tastes, not to limit their access. I strongly agree with Emily Calkins when she says that parents have the right to limit their own children’s access to materials that they feel are inappropriate, but they do not have the right to limit materials for all children. Parents to take up arms to remove books from libraries are doomed to fight a battle they can’t win. They cannot purge all bad things from the world, to make this a safe place for their children. They should spend their energies teaching their own kids how to navigate the world as it is, will all its danger and impropriety.
You gotta love the 1940s. “Are books your friends?” the old-timey male narrator asks me. Well I like books fine and all but I wouldn’t say that I am friends with the things. I generally try to cultivate friendships with living things, humans in particular, but that’s just me.
Jokes aside, I actually really enjoyed this clip. Despite being over 60 years old, some of what is said still applies today. Libraries are still about connecting people with information, though the forms of this information have changed a lot. Card catalogues have been replaced with online catalogues and databases. Reference services are increasingly being conducted online and over email. And circulation librarians have all but disappeared, their roles being filled by library techs.
I loved the mention of the Library of Congress as relatively new, when now it seems like it’s always been a part of libraries and librarianship. The Library of Congress was established in the 1800’s, so even in the 1940s it had established itself as a strong and prominent organization in librarianship and the information community. At the time of this video, its collection consisted of over 5 million documents and manuscripts. Today, the online database for the Library of Congress boasts of 18 million records for resources in their collection, all which can be accessed from your bedroom. http://catalog.loc.gov/
The library is an important organization in communities and each library has to answer a specific need. This was the case in 1947 and it hasn’t changed. What’s more so, libraries then and now are still trying to answer the same basic need: the need for information in all its forms and the need for teaching and instruction in the newest information technologies. In the 1940s, these technologies included things like micro-films whereas now, librarians have a multitude of technologies available including online databases, and potentially, even innovations like the 3-d printer. Librarianship has always been about technology and now with the constant changes and innovations, being a librarian as never been so exciting.
Watching this video I imagined myself working as a librarian at this time. The job market would be less treacherous than it is now. I am constantly hearing from older people in the work force how difficult it’s gonna be after I graduate, and how they don’t envy me. Yet if I had a time machine I wouldn’t choose to go back to the 1940s. I live in a time of competition and innovation. It will be challenging, for sure, but it will push me to work harder, be more productive and improve myself and my field. I have grown up with constant change and innovation and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
My grandfather had the largest personal collection of books I have ever seen. As a child I would explore the shelves, reading through the titles of the books, most of which were far beyond my reading level at the time. I was delighted by the sheer vastness of it, but when it came to actually pulling the books off the shelves the amount of dust I found showed just how often the information in those books was accessed. There is the question, “If information is never used, is it dead?”
I have just started my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. When I told my friends and family about my decision to enrol, they questioned the library’s use in the modern world, where every question can be answered simply by “googling” it. If everything is on the internet, why would anyone go to a library? When we pull the books from our community library shelves, will we be faced with the terrifying amounts of dust I had found in my grandfather’s room? Are our libraries dead?
Short answer: no. Long answer: libraries today are not used in the same way as they were in the past. Technology is constantly being innovated, changing and improving. Similarly, libraries need to innovate, change and improve. The amount of data available at our fingers is more vast than the largest physical collection of books in the world. But libraries are more than physical collections of books. I didn’t enter this program because I love reading. I want to be an explorer and master of the infinite world of data and information. I want to be a knowledge cartographer, creating the best and most efficient methods of filtering through the noise and finding the information that is needed. I want to organize and catalogue, not so that materials and sit on shelves and collect dust, but so they be used to their fullest potential.
This is the dream anyway, and I know along the way I will encounter speed bumps. I’ll find that the field of information is more complicated than I could have ever imagined. I’ll come back to this first blog entry and think “I really didn’t know what I was talking about”. I look forward to that day and all I will experience on the way.