Thursday, February 18, 2010

Echo chamber? All I hear is good news about libraries

Recently Wikiman had an interesting blog discussing the echo chamber within libraries.

Plenty has been talked about the image of librarians and libraries etc, but how do we go about addressing the misconceptions on a wider basis? At the moment, I reckon a very (very) crude representation of library advocacy might look a little like this:

The point being, the library skeptics aren’t really being reached, and many of the excellent ideas we have are going into the echo-chamber of our own Information Professional community.

This maybe true but recently all I seem to hear are positive things about libraries and librarians. For example, Librarian by Day has a post entitled Librarians Play a Vital Role in 21st Century Literacies which points to two papers one from the Report from the Knight Commission:

Recommendation 7: Fund and support public libraries and other community institutions as centers of digital and media training, especially for adults.

And a white paper from the MacAuthor Foundation

If anything, these traditional skills assume even greater importance as students venture beyond collections that have been screened by librarians and into the more open space of the web. Some of these skills have traditionally been taught by librarians who, in the modern era, are reconceptualizing their role less as curators of bounded collection and more as information facilitators who can help users find what they need, online or off, and can cultivate good strategies for searching material.

These seem to show were succeeding in some area's at least.

These along with Marilyn Johnson's book This Book is Overdue seem to represent libraries in a positive light. Johnson's book is getting a lot of deserved coverage (i'm half way through it already) from a wide audience.

But then, I don't think we are aklways that good in praising ourselves or selling ourselves at times.

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