This Week in Libraries

Here are some recent (and not so recent) pieces on libraries and librarianship:

  • I try not to bristle at the typical “libraries are behind the times” and “what can we learn from big business” aspects of this article and try to glean the positive aspects of how libraries can help the patron who shouts I Want It Now:

    We’ve made interlibrary loan so efficient, we sometimes forget it carries a price. But it’s quicker to borrow a book from another library than to go through the traditional acquisitions and cataloging process.

    I have to say I’ve never thought of ILL as efficient, but I guess there’s a good point. It seems to me that libraries really need to strike a balance with what resources can be kept on hand and the costs (in money, time, and staffing) they incur.

  • Speaking of costs, one of my co-workers showed me this great web exhibit from the University of Maryland Libraries that shows the relative costs for the library of purchasing just two resources: Show Me the Money — The Reality of Library Costs.
  • Underneath the curmudgeonly “kids these days” tone of this Wall Street Journal article there are some interesting insights on serving children as library users and the balance between digital and print resources. Of the Places You’ll Go, Is the Library Still One of Them?

    It’s true that older Internet-phobes are missing out on an incredible tool. But many tech-savvy kids never experience the library as a place for serendipitous discovery. “The library is about delayed gratification,” says Dr. Levine. “It’s about browsing through shelves of biographies. ‘Do I want Jackie Robinson? Franklin Roosevelt? What will I do when I grow up?’ The library slows you down and makes you think.”

    Today [3/15], in West Bloomfield, Mich., 50 first-graders from Lone Pine Elementary are scheduled to visit the library and get their first library cards. I interviewed some of the students last week about the books, videos and computer games they hoped to find at the library.

    One precocious first-grader, Elias Khoury, warned his classmates: “The computer is mostly mind-numbing. If you waste time on the computer, you won’t find any good books.” I had to smile. Give that kid a library card, I thought, and he’ll go places.

  • Finally, ABC TV is producing a six-episode comedy-drama entitled The Librarians.

Friday Sillies: The Journal of Star Wars Research

In the not too distant future, one can expect the study of Star Wars to become a serious discipline in anthropology, arts, sociology and philosophy. Articles on Star Wars will be published in peer-reviewed journals and one will read things like this: A New Sith, or Revenge of the Hope: Reconsidering Star Wars IV in the light of I-III . Not to give away too much, but this article thoughtfully reveals that two of the more minor characters in the Star Wars universe are central to the rebellion and they planned it all along.

Meanwhile, Eddie Izzard recreates the missing scene where Darth Vader attempts to order penne a la abbriata from the Death Star Canteen (NSFW due to some profanity).