February 25, 2010

This Book is Overdue!

I'm assuming by now you've probably heard of Marilyn Johnson's "This Book is Overdue!" - a new book about librarians, data overload, and why we are the saviors of the future. I've had several tabs open all week to share about this great new book, but intelligent commentary just ain't happening right now - so here's the links and a promise of more to come!

* Wisconsin Public Radio's "To The Best of Our Knowledge" interviewed Johnson on February 14th - "Marilyn Johnson is the author of 'This Book Is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All.' She talks with Jim Fleming about how librarians are emerging as heroes of the digital age because of their love for the written word, free speech and open access."

* "Here's to librarians, saviors of the data-weary." Kim Ode at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune gives a really nice review of the book. I also quite like her line "Yahoo doesn't light up with a smile when we log in, but a familiar librarian will." Amen!

* Jed Lipinski over at Salon.Com also interviewed Johnson, in "Hot for Librarian" on February 21st.  "[T]here's bad news for those of you with a shushing fetish; as Marilyn Johnson explains [...] the uptight librarian is a species that's rapidly approaching extinction."

 * And Tommy Wayne Kramer in Ukiah, CA needs to read Johnson's book; he recently stated in an opinion piece for The Ukiah Daily Journal that we should "save the county, close the libraries." For someone who is clearly proud that he hasn't set foot in a library in ages ("But it's easy to go years and years without visiting a library - I haven't had a library card in a quarter century and can't recall a single time I wished I had one.") he certainly has some strong opinions about what should be done with them. I'm astonished at the negativity in this opinion piece, and depressed that a series of book stores provided support for the piece.

My copy of the book is half-read, and I'm sure I'll have my own review and opinion once I'm done. In the meantime, check it out, rejoice in the spirit in which it's offered, and keep fighting the good fight!

February 10, 2010

The Library Routes Project, or, How I Became a Librarian

Ned Potter, Digitisation Coordinator at the University of Leeds (bless his patient self), has sent me a few emails regarding his Library Routes project and his CILIP presentations on "Why are we still defined by our buildings?" (interesting concept, that) and "Realizing your potential: rising above the stereotypes". I'm way overdue in recognizing Ned's papers but I really want to take a moment to talk about Library Routes.

I like the idea behind the Library Routes project - to "bring together the thoughts and experiences of Information Professionals on how they got where they are today, and why they chose to work in libraries at all" and, of course, you know my thoughts on stereotypes and how they affect us even today. Reading the perspectives from our UK brethren was really interesting - yet all the stories had the same feel to them as others I've heard. Some folks went right into librarianship (under various names), others took the roundabout way through some more, some less exciting career paths - but they all feel now as if they're in the right place doing the right thing.

My own route to librarianship has its roots in my childhood, and follows a few roundabout ways of its own. My mother was a librarian - everywhere we went in the military she ended up working in a library, so I was surrounded by that all my life. I didn't set out to be a librarian, though - my first job was as an engineering aide (blueprints and concrete testing kind of stuff) and it wasn't until well into my second job that I started getting involved in information management. One thing led to another, I ended up in charge of all the documentation for the project, and then my questing path led me down the street to the University of Arizona's School of Information Resources and Library Science. I met my most excellent advisor and that, as they say, was that. Grad school was a blast and I've never looked back - I truly feel I'm in the right place doing the right thing, and I love my job as a systems librarian. It's definitely not much like the job my mother did in a lot of ways, but at the base it's the same - getting folks the information they need.

Take a moment, take a read, and join in the discussion at the Library Routes wiki. Thanks muchly, Ned!