One of my goals this year is to participate more in professional conversations and debates. For me, this means getting more active on Twitter. That’s where I keep track of most of my professional connections.
This past week saw my first forays in that direction.
There’s a quote from Donny Miller that has become ubiquitous among information professionals:
“In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.”
I think this is a dangerous statement. I think it’s soaked through with unquestioned privilege, blinded by cultural myopia. I think it ignores huge swaths of our population and shows itself ignorant of the reality of life in the “Information Age” for many people.
I posted a brief tweetstorm about it.
1/ “In the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” – Donny Miller. For some, yes. But for some, it’s because of entrenched inequalities:
2/ Inequalities in our educational system. A lack of access to technology and internet. Undoing ignorance means more than just going online:
3/ It means knowing how to go online, how to construct an effective search, how to evaluate & recognize reliable info.
4/ Many lack the tools for this, many have never been taught the necessary skills.
5/ For many who lack computers and tech as a normal part of their lives, the Info Age often feels chaotic, terrifying, alien.
5.5/ For many, the Info Age makes them feel like they’re not welcome.
6/ The Info Age is a roiling sea of signal, riddled with tsunamis. Many people can’t swim. Even those who can swim are easily overwhelmed.
7/ When the sea of info threatens to swamp you, ignorance feels a whole lot like not drowning. It feels like keeping your head above water.
8/ Any initiative to increase info literacy in our society is doomed to fail if it doesn’t recognize that this is the reality for many. /end
I’ve had an idea percolating at the back of my mind for a couple of months now to write a post about reading and libraries: the importance of reading, the role of libraries in a community’s culture of reading, the importance of fostering a love of reading.
I have a strong conviction that modern libraries have gone too far in their attempts to deemphasize our traditional role as a place for people to access books. I have a strong conviction that this remains the most essential role we can fill for our communities.
I’m not ready to write the post yet. I’m still looking for the key that will let all my thoughts on this issue fall together coherently.
Earlier this week, I saw this article posted on Twitter:
“Editorial response: A librarian by another name” by Emily Drabinski (Journal of New Librarianship, 1 (2016) pp.58-60)
I replied to the individual who posted it with the following tweet:
This tweet comes close to the heart of my conviction. I hope I’ll be ready to write a full post on the subject soon.