5 Myths About the 'Information Age' by Robert Darnton

This article needs to be shared as widely as possible! I couldn’t have said any of this any better.

5 Myths About the ‘Information Age’ by Robert Darnton (posted by The Chronicle of Higher Education on April 17, 2011)

It may be a couple years old but the points he makes are important.

I discovered this post through the Library Juice Press blog—for my money, one of the very best library blogs out there.

Theatre, the Arts & Libraries: The Power of Storytelling

One of the things that strikes me most about working in a library is how much overlap there is between libraries and theatre.

In my MLIS program, there were several of us who came from a career in theatrical tech / stage management and were transitioning into librarianship. As I’ve noted before, theatrical technician-to-librarian is a fairly common path.

The professor who taught my Intro to Library Science class (the ever-delightful Dr. Janice Del Negro) once commented that “librarians tend be a little bit off of center”. Theatre people tend to be a lot off of center, so we feel right at home in libraries.

Theatre is about telling stories—librarianship, at heart, is about sharing stories. Both passions are founded on a love of storytelling, a recognition of the irreducible importance of storytelling in society. Even history, science, math… All forms of human communication and the sharing of knowledge are forms of storytelling.

So when I read this article about the nature of arts and theatre, I couldn’t help but think of how it applies libraries, too.

The Truth About the Arts: Art is Activism by Lisa A. Kramer (posted on her blog on August 25, 2013)
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The Continued Value of Print

With the inexorable rise of ebooks, there have been a lot of people expounding the continuing benefits of print books. Most of them tend to cite similar things:

  • The physical heft of print books.
  • The smell of print books.
  • The permanence of print.
  • The retention of knowledge when reading print books.
  • Etc.

People also approach the issue from the perspective of the benefits of ebooks.

We’ve all read these blog posts and articles, we know how they go. These are all legitimate and important considerations.

Here’s an article, though, that mentions a couple benefits of print that I’ve not seen cited before—and I think these reasons are some of the best for continuing to allow print books to play an important role in all our lives:

The Biblioracle on Physical Books in an E-Book World by John Warner (posted by the Chicago Tribune on August 2, 2013)
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My Path to Libraries

Another Personal Reflection Post

Sometimes it amazes me that it took so long for me to figure out that I could make my living working in libraries.

My mom loves to tell the story of when I was little and I proclaimed that when I grew up I wanted to live in a library. From my earliest memories, my concept of heaven has been a giant library. I went through a phase in junior high were I tried to sketch out my ideal home and the centerpiece of the house was a multistory library (also, a huge terrarium for a pet three-toed tree sloth… I was a strange young man.) During the years I lived in Chicago, I always said that if the apocalypse came, I’d barricade myself in Harold Washington Library and protect the books.

I’ve always felt at home in a library. Some of my fondest memories from childhood are when my mom worked in the history library on the local campus and I’d get to spend time wandering around in the stacks.
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Observations of People Interacting with Vending Machines

(aka – The World of UX in Afternoon Snacks)

When I tell people that I’m a Digital User Specialist at the Kansas City Public Library, the most common response I get is: “What’s that?” My fumbling attempts to explain my responsibilities are typically followed by the question, “So… what do you actually do?”

Explaining what I do is a challenge—partly because what I do is new enough that I have freedom to decide for myself the best ways to do it and I can create specific tasks as I go; and partly because my job is as much about observing and learning and thinking and conceptualizing and ideating as it is about day-to-day to-do lists (not that there aren’t plenty of those).

What follows is a semi-silly, semi-serious attempt to explain how I conceive my job…
Continue reading “Observations of People Interacting with Vending Machines”