Monday, July 20, 2009

Check out

This essay, which appeared in the onlineChristian Science Monitor, is entitled "Restore the noble purpose of libraries" ....

Here [as a teaser!] are the opening paragraphs: "Libraries were once a sacred secular space of silence and reverence – a place where one automatically lowered one's voice. As a direct heir to the Enlightenment, the establishment of libraries was a testament to the self-evident integrity of mankind, the belief that we all desire to find the truth through knowledge. Librarians once framed our mission in those terms – before libraries became the noisy computer labs they now are, with their jingle of ringtones, clattering keyboards, and unquenchable printers. And we reference librarians had a higher, more dignified calling than merely changing the printer paper. In some libraries today it is actually impossible to find any place quiet enough to simply read and study undisturbed. What I call the postmodern library – the library plus technology – deconstructs itself. Modern librarians who prioritize information over knowledge perpetuate a distraction from the real purpose of a library.

1 comment:

Richard J. Cox said...

I haven't read Wissner's book on postmodern libraries, published in 2000, but if this essay is any evidence of this earlier work, I wonder just what it represents. In the essay here he takes the high road of libraries for scholarship, knowledge production, the deeper reflection of words and their meaning, and other aims while arguing that they must reengage their communities -- his solution for the latter, having entertaining Coffee Mondays! It is hard to take his perspective seriously with that kind of recommendation.