As requested, the text of the commentary from LISTen #10
Just as episodes of LISTen are not released under Creative Commons, neither are script texts. I try not to release such for multiple reasons. One of those reasons is that not releasing scrip texts help ensure you listen to the verbal delivery first. The rightsholder for the scripts and the episodes is Erie Looking Productions. In response to an inquiry received, the text of the most recent commentary script is posted here.
WARNING! This is a commentary. The views expressed in this particular segment do not necessarily reflect those of Erie Looking Productions, LISHost, or pretty much anyone besides myself for that matter.
While possibly not John N. Berry's intent, his recent piece on "Vanishing Librarians" has brought light on a symptom to a bigger issue. What are libraries? What are library values? Is there anything intrinsic in a library's value?
Have we lost our past? It seems that while we follow the zeitgeist, that is to say the spirit of the moment, we only chase the wind. In a time with ignorance on the rise, the choice to chase the wind has led to libraries trying in some respects to be all things to all people. In some ways we are not doing this well.
Although we have "foundations" classes in the MLS programs, what are indeed our foundations? Do we promote our foundations as being stability to a culture that seeks it or do we instead perpetuate the "Wizard vs. Muggle" scenario I have mentioned previously? For as closely tied as librarianship is to religion over the centuries, we end up facing much the same problems. People are seeking meaning. A problem facing so-called "megachurches" in the United States is that while they can get people in the door they have significant troubles retaining them. While we chase after the zeitgeist do we then provide merely an attraction to get people in the door without retention also occurring?
The problem in contextualization that Berry and Gorman seem to face is explaining that chasing the wind seeking to latch onto the next big thing can detract from philosophical purposes. Although they seem to only refer to libraries of yesteryear, that is the only reference point they have to a quality they perceive to be missing. In short, where has the magic of the library gone? The magic of the library, in this case, is being more than just a passing thing. People often seek substance but do not want to admit it.
Where does your library stand today? Is it an intellectual bedrock to help people build dreams and fuel imaginations? Or is it focused on glitz while not providing the fuel for imagination? In some respects our calling in librarianship is to open new worlds so that people might dare to dream. Chasing the wind is not a bad thing necessarily but is one part of a bigger whole that involves retention and more.
The Annoyed Librarian has similar thoughts that were posted right after the episode was posted. I should note that I am not the Annoyed Librarian. Both of us appear to be somewhat in agreement with John N. Berry.
Please do not skip through the podcast solely for a commentary by me. There are two fantastic interviews that present cataloging as something that is "fun". When laying out show order my usual goal is to keep commentaries towards the end. Commentaries will not be a regular feature on the podcast, though.