Library Round-Up

The latest in library-related news and opinion:

Meredith of Information Wants to be free encourages librarians to use their creativity in “Making Things Happen!

Librarians with passion and good ideas can really make a difference in our profession (when they are not stifled by their employers). I have been encouraged to run with so many of my crazy ideas, both in my daily work and in my professional service. I am someone who is willing to work my butt off if I feel like I can make a difference, but when I feel like I’m constantly running into brick walls, my motivation quickly dies away

Similarly, LibraryCrunch encourages librarians to make make the most of their profession in “Get Passionate About the Work, Not the Company.”

The company should behave just like a good user interface — support people in doing what they’re trying to do, and stay the hell out of their way. Applying the employer-as-UI model, the best company is one in which the employees are so engaged in their work that the company fades into the background…

Rafael Behr writes in “Choice for tomorrow” about finding community in the library with his daughter.

But maybe I can drag out her pre-consumer phase, postpone the day when owning the toy becomes more important than chewing the wrapper. So I take her to a magical place where there is no such thing as ownership, only learning and sharing. I take her to the library.

I haven’t set foot in a library for a long time. I have spent most of my adult life being a private citizen, buying private goods and services with privately earned money. But since I started looking after a baby I have come over all public. I’m all parks and municipal leisure facilities. I get civic urges, fantasies about getting involved in council politics. We will campaign, I think. Me and my daughter, we will fight to save something for the community.

ACRLog reviews an article by Jonathan Lethem on copyright in “Never Mine in the First Place.”

For all our professional sophistication about open access and the need to unlock scholarship, we tend to shorten Standard Five of the Information Literacy Competency Standards – on using information “ethically and legally” (as if those are the same thing) – to “don’t plagiarize.” Admittedly, librarians rarely have time in a class to delve into these issues, but we should consider broadening our institutional focus on scholarly communication to include the equally-important cultural skirmishes around copyright. After all, it is the world our students live in.

Jessamyn offers links to two customer service stories you might like at

Finally, atLibrarian’s Place the revised “5 Laws of library science for the 21st century” are reviewed.

For review, here are Ranganathan’s original laws:

1. Books are for use.
2. Every reader his book.
3. Every book its reader.
4. Save the time of the reader.
5. The Library is a growing organism.

…and here are the revised laws from the group in Michael Stephens’ LIS701 course:

1. Collections are for use.
2. Every collection its user.
3. Every user his collection.
4. Save time & energy of user.
5. The library is a growing organism.

That’s all for now from the library!

Punk Rock is Aging

Over the past few years I’ve been listening to more and more punk music, both from the 70’s & 80’s and the contemporary standard bearers of the form. I missed out on the punk revolution mainly because I was a child at the time and not really in a position to experience music from outside the mainstream. That and for many years I foolishly confused punk with heavy metal, which I loathe.

Being 33-years old and two decades past punk’s prime I’m somewhat divorced from the revolutionary aspects of punk even as I’m appreciative of its sound. Two recent articles discuss this disconnect. In “Never Mind the Ipods” John Harris bemoans that punk rock is now just another commodity.

hat with an omnivorous media, the low hum of rock music accompanying our every waking moment, and a groovily permissive political class, how could any aspiring heirs to punk’s mantle make their mark? What hope for youthful irreverence when people in their late 30s treasure “edgy” CDs? Here’s one wonderfully symbolic difference between now and then. Whereas the punks attracted such thrilling opprobrium, any modern youngster in possession of a loud guitar and a grudge against the world stands a good chance of a fate that will kill any rebellious pretensions stone dead: inclusion on David Cameron’s iPod.

A more upbeat article by Jim Sullivan “Ageless punk rockers and the AARP” extols the virtue of punk to keep one feeling young even when a Buzzcocks’ song is used to promote the AARP.

[Buzzcock’s guitarist Steve Diggle said]”I [first] thought, it’s going to be bad for our image – it’s for old people. Then … I realized it was for people 50 and over and I realized me and Pete are over 50. But I kind of don’t gauge my life by my age.”

“When I was kid, growing up,” continued Diggle, “people who were 50 were pretty historic. Having arrived at the mark, … it’s not that bad. Rock ‘n’ roll does keep you at a level end; it’s ageless in a way, particularly in the mind. People still listen to rock ‘n’ roll at any age.

“There is a greatness about being old. You can still keep your dignity, if you keep your health and strength. It’s like climbing a mountain and being on top: You can see more than ever. I wouldn’t want to be any age other than what I am now.”

The Not-So-Solid South

An interesting article on AlterNet entitled “Can Democrats Reclaim the South?” by Bob Moser challenges the stereotype of the South as a right wing Republican voting block. Furthermore it details how the Democratic party and progressives shoot themselves in the foot by avoiding to take populist ideals to the Southern people.

Rather than diverging from national political patterns, Southerners continue their post-Jim Crow evolution toward the American mainstream. And Democrats continue to run screaming in the other direction.

A big issue for me in our presidential elections is the willingness to concede states to a particular party, creating the artificial divide of red and blue states. The Electoral College contributes to this problem because if 60% of the people in a state support one party, then no one bothers to listen to the concerns of the other 40%. Election by popular vote would go a long way to making political parties campaign in all fifty states. Let the voices of liberal Texans and conservatives from Massachusetts be heard!

Another article on populism in the United States is The Nation’s review of Charles Schumer’s Positively American: Winning Back the American Middle Class One Family at a Time. Katrina Vanden Heuvel asks “What About George Bailey?” referring to Jimmy Stewart’s populist character in It’s a Wonderful Life.