Library Thought Leaders

On April 8, 2015, dolly m (@loather) tweeted the following:

dolly m pithily sums up something I’ve been wrestling with for the past few years, ever since I started working in a public library:

There are so-named “thought leaders” in the library community who make their living telling the rest of us how we should do our jobs. They travel from conference to conference, keynoting and presenting, speaking about the current state of librarianship.

Several of these thought leaders haven’t worked as librarians in an actual library in a long time. Some not since before the internet existed. Some of them have no first-hand experience of the practical realities of being a librarian in the Digital Information Age.

This makes it hard swallow when they presume to tell me how I should do my job.

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Digital Comics for Libraries: Good News!

In my recent interview for Corner Shelf, Rebecca Vnuk asked me what kinds of things my library’s collections are most in need of.

My answer: digital comics. Specifically—Marvel and DC.

As of June 25, 2015, hoopla digital offers DC titles in digital format. This includes titles from their Vertigo imprint. Their collection includes several of the most important issues and graphic novels in DC / Vertigo’s catalog: Watchmen, V for Vendetta, Frank Miller’s Dark Knight, The Killing Joke, Gaiman’s Sandman

It’s not everything from DC but it’s a lot of the really good stuff.

This is huge. This makes me really happy. This could be a game-changer.

Kudos to hoopla!

hoopla digital logo

In Defense of Speculative Fiction

Octavia Butler is one of my most treasured authors. Her work is astounding. More than anyone in the past few decades, she took up the mantle of the literary scifi authors of the 1960s and ’70s—Ursula K. Le Guin, Samuel R. Delany, Harlan Ellison, et al.

Like them, Butler’s work transcends boundaries and achieves a level of artistry and power that’s rare. She’s an irreducibly important author. Her legacy is one to be treasured and honored.

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Public Library Reference: An Unscientific Test

I debated for several weeks about writing this post. Some of what I want to talk about I already discussed in my post, The Pain of Bad Reference Interactions. I think there’s more to say, though.

My concern is that I have some strong criticisms of the reference interactions I’ve had with some public libraries in the United States. I use no names and I leave out all identifying details—but it’s still possible that some of these libraries, or even some of their librarians, will be able to recognize themselves if they read this.

I have no desire to shame anyone with this post. I find online public shaming culture abhorrent and I refuse to participate in it.

I believe that criticism is necessary for improvement. I offer all criticisms in the sincere hope that it will help us all to serve our communities even better than we already do, and in my desire to help define the best path forward for public libraries in the Digital Information Age.

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Book Review: Armada by Ernest Cline

Armada by Ernest Cline
Armada by Ernest Cline
Crown, 2015

Disappointing and derivative.

These are the words I would choose to describe Armada, Ernest Cline’s second novel, a story of alien invasion and the ascendancy of gamer geeks.

I adored his debut work, Ready Player One. It’s one of the very best novels I’ve read. It ranks as one of my favorite books of all time. I desperately wanted to like his second book but it just doesn’t live up to expectations.

Despite my disappointment, I’m still a fan of Mr. Cline and I retain faith that he can—and will—produce more good work. In this spirit, I want to open my review by mentioning the things Armada does well:

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