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David Brooks column in todays NY Times wonders whether the age of information has made us empty headed.
"Memory? I've externalized it. I am one of those baby boomers who are making this the 'It's on the Tip of My Tongue Decade'. But now I no longer need to have a memory, for I have Google, Yahoo and Wikipedia. Now if I need to know some fact about the world, I tap a few keys and reap the blessings of the external mind."
Interesting bit of talkback from Brian Mathews on the Library Journal site. In a short and very readable article he writes on some of the issues facing the librarians of Generation X from problems in the ALA to making future libraries matter. It makes for a good read for librarians old and new.
"Morality is the real 'inconvenient truth'." Frank Miele thanks the American Library Association, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Supreme Court for the mess our country has become. "Indeed, our society today has been so habituated to immoral behavior that most of us don't even know it is immoral any longer."
"Backed by one court order after another, what could be called the apotheosis of the individual has made it almost impossible for modern society to regulate itself as a group. The group must always bow to the individual, not the other way around. This sounds great to our liberty-loving people until you realize that the proper word for such a system is anarchy."
PG writes "Diane Hofstede, a member of the Minneapolis City Council, writes in an editorial in the Star Tribune, "Libraries are not just brick and mortar, but they are the pulse of our community, they are people. As one librarian told me, it is America that passes through his doors every day, individuals yearning for knowledge, growth and betterment.""
Fang-Face writes "There is a piece reprinted at AlterNet.org, originally published at TruthOut.org, titled
A Step Shy of Book-Burning
. It is about the closure of the EPA library, and the author, Kelpie Wilson, basically accuses the Bush administration of attempting to implement a new Dark Age. Given that:
The EPA's precipitous move to close the libraries was based on a $2 million cut in Bush's proposed $8 billion EPA budget for 2007. EPA bureaucrats did not wait to see if Congress might restore the funds or shift budget priorities in order to save the libraries; it acted immediately to box up documents for deep storage, and shut the doors.
. . . I can certainly see her point; although I do think the title is a touch over the top myself."
The Berkeley Daily Planet has a short commentray from a library patron: "What a sad day. I returned my library book at my local branch, picked up the book I had reserved, and checked it outâ€”all without speaking to a soul, much less a wise librarian.
It is the stuff of legendsâ€”the alert librarian who reaches out to a distressed child, or a shy child, or an at-risk child and steers that child towards a love of books and from there to a life of possibility. Author Barbara Kingsolver celebrates every living librarian "on behalf of the souls they never knew they saved."
But today, in Berkeley, every library process is impersonal: We reserve books via computer, retrieve our reserved books from an alphabetized shelf, and check them out using an automated machine."
In an editorial from the Christian Science Monitor, librarians are praised for their professional support of patron privacy rights. From the article:
Renewal of the Patriot Act is a catalyst for an epic debate on what it means to be a democracy in an age of terror. In joining this debate, librarians provide a service every bit as important as dispensing books.
cindy writes "This week The Los Angeles Times will launch "wikitorials," online editorials that readers can edit.
"It may be a complete mess, but it's going to be interesting to try," Editorial and Opinion Page Editor Michael Kinsley told The New York Times for an article on Monday. "Wikitorials may be one of those things that within six months will be standard. It's the ultimate in reader participation."
Another new feature, "Thinking Out Loud," is described as "an experiment in making up our minds in public," according to Martinez. He writes that the feature, which will initially tackle immigration and traffic, will allow readers and Times writers to debate topical issues on the paper's Web site and in all areas of its editorial pages. "We don't have a solution, and there may not be a good one," he explained in the paper. "But that is no excuse for failing to come up with the best one. We hope this process will help us do it."
"Sexually explicit books have no place among children's books. Children are not ready for and cannot handle that type of material physically, mentally or psychologically. But Kern's threat of censorship is based on a vague definition of what is socially appropriate. Will all children's books showing two men or two women holding hands or establishing a friendly relationship be sent to adult shelves?""