Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship

Book: Self-Examination: The Present and Future of Librarianship

What makes us librarians? What is it we do that is indispensable? John Budd joins an august group of library-science luminaries, such as Pierce Butler, Jesse Shera, and Michael Gorman, whose works and example invite professional and critical self-examination. Here, Budd challenges us to confront the uneasy truth of whether "libraries still represent people's will and intellect, or the cabalistic enclaves of an old guard?" Through intellectually rich and engaging entrees into ethics, democracy, social responsibility, governance, and globalization, he makes the case that librarians who fail to grasp the importance of their heritage will never truly respond to societal change or the needs of the individual user.

One review of book here.

Preview book at Google Book Search.

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who is this for

"[Mr. Budd's] missionary zeal about [theory] has nothing to do with our problems. Nothing whatsoever."

- Morgan Freeman, "Lean on Me" [with editorial addition]

one more

Who the hell gives a fried goddamn about what Michael Gorman has to say about anything?

one more (again)

Dear Chuck,

Perhaps you ought to actually read the book first. I find it unfortunate that Gorman is mentioned but he is in that throw away sentence from the intro and/or blurb. Having written a review of this book for LISR--to be published shortly--I can assure you that Gorman makes little appearance its pages.

And whether or not you or I care what Gorman thinks it is the case that he has written more on professionalism in our field in the last 10-15 years than pretty much anyone else. And whether you or I think he is qualified to do so, he has. In other words, the literature review in this book did its job properly and, dare I say it, professionally.

So, no, I don't give "a fried goddamn about what Michael Gorman has to say" either, but that is not the point here.

some of it

I read the excerpts on Amazon. What exactly is the point of the book?

What gets under my skin are these are odd, turgid, hog-tiedly prosed books that are written about a profession that is a about DOING something. The profession is made of storytime, dealing with homeless people, dealing with no money, public administration, teaching, etc.

What does this book do for the Sister who puts on a badge and gun, so to speak, and goes to work in the morning at an actual library?

The excepts I read were actually worse than I expected. The discussions of information theory, Bush etc. were things I read years ago. The pages I read were pointless, empty and played out.

I assume that you will counter with "Well, you didn't read the whole book ... " Fine. Good point. What did I miss then?

Professional

For the librarian that is a professional a book like this is important because it looks at the larger picture and to have some UNDERSTANDING of why you do what you do. If you don't know where the profession has been and why it has been there it is harder to figure out what you are going to do in the future.

The author makes the case that librarians who fail to grasp the importance of their heritage will never truly respond to societal change or the needs of the individual user.

This book may not help me win the battle at my library today but I may better understand the war.

Your entire comment has a very: I don't like none of that book learning feel to it. You were probably that person in algebra class that asked why we are learning this math stuff we are never going to use.

I get it

If a new librarian asked me if she should read Budd's book or a book on copier repair and maintenance and say "copier" every day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Snarky

Nice snarky comment with no substance to back it up. Why do you even bother commenting?

A little late

"For the librarian that is a professional a book like this is important because it looks at the larger picture and to have some UNDERSTANDING of why you do what you do. If you don't know where the profession has been and why it has been there it is harder to figure out what you are going to do in the future."

If you don't already grasp that larger picture, then by definition (as usually thrown about), you're not yet a professional.

So this would be potentially useful as another MLS textbook, if that's the goal, but it's telling everyone else what they had better have already absorbed.

Haven't read the book

>>So this would be potentially useful as another MLS textbook, if that's the goal, but it's telling everyone else what they had better have already absorbed.

You haven't read the book and you are intentionally playing devil's advocate for seemingly no useful purpose.

But....

The man is primarily a "cataloger" and a card carrying member of some high rank of ALA...does he really know what goes on in libraries other than AARC II?

Not to insert facts but...

and not to defend Gorman, either--but he was university librarian at a good-size university library for quite a few years. He's done a bit more than cataloging in his career. (An unfortunate amount of bloviating regarding blogs and the like, but that's another issue entirely.)

Thanks for the welcome back

Having stayed away from LISNews for a good while because of these sorts of puerile "discussions" I thought I'd give it another try. I know, my bad.

I most certainly am not, nor will I ever be, a high ranking ALA member--not even a member currently--but I am a "cataloger" or whatever it is that is used to describe my type. And I, at least, have a damn good idea what goes on in an academic library, at least, having worked s a student and staff for 6 years in circulation, reserves & ILL.

I guess the last thing I want to say is that perhaps several of you have no need to read the book since it sounds like you never have been, nor ever will be, professionals, or I should say professional. Sure hope I never have to use the libraries in which you folks work.

sorry?

Is your sole reason for saying I'm unprofessional the fact that I didn't like the book?

Not at all

In fact, I don't really expect many to like the book because not many will ever read it and because it has, you know, big words and stuff. It contains theoretical discussions of philosophy, ethics, and professionalism and how they do/should translate into action in our daily practice and relations with each other.

I consider you unprofessional for your puerile comments on this post, and on the many other comments I've seen by you on this site. There are many ways to say you don't like something or that you don't intend to read something and some are less childish than others.

theory

The library profession is choking to death on theory. That's my opinion.

I would advise against going through your career assuming that everyone who disagrees with you or everyone who doesn't adopt the falsely enlightened tone of an Internet Bodhisattva is "puerile" or "childish." They could just be, you know, normal.

It's also not the best idea to assume it's your special snowflake genius that under assault here. I've read the majority of the works Budd cited when I was in graduate school (big words and all!) and I feel that rolling around in contextless, abstract sophistry does no one any good.

I notice that your bio has a lack of (library) public service experience. Perhaps there's a problem in perspective there; yours and mine.

Chuck

p.s. Go Black Knights.

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