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Archive for June, 2011

Photo courtesy of Brenda Anderson (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I’ve been tapped to present at the 2011 ALA Annual Conference as a part of the “Why Transliteracy?” panel and I’m excited by the opportunity. As to the conference itself, I’ve never been to Annual, so I don’t have any sage words of advice or survival strategies. I can’t recommend any sessions or events, though there are some interesting suggestions from HackLibSchoolBobbi Newman, and others. If you want the skinny, it’s best to head over to Ink and Vellum for a bit, then come back. You know, I also can’t recommend what to pack, though I’ve been told that you should wear sensible walking shoes during the day and stash those cute espadrille slingbacks in your oversized summer tote for later (do they have a size 12?). In fact, outside of my presentation, the only preparations I’m making involve the music I’ll be bringing…

I’ll be leaving around 5:30a.m. on Friday, and it’s about eight hours to the Big Easy. Given that I’ll be going from the pre-dawn fog of Northern Alabama hill country to the blistered blacktop of Mississippi to the sweltering back-alleys of the Big Easy, I’ll need a range of musical offerings to keep me going. Here’s the catch: I’ll be driving a university car and I don’t know if I’ll be able to connect my iPod. This is strange because, now that we expect to have our entire music library in our pocket at all times, we don’t usually have to choose which albums to take on a trip. So, just to be safe, I’ve pulled out the old 30 CD Case Logic visor and now I have to revisit the lost art of crafting the road trip playlist.

Here, in a strange order that makes sense perhaps only to me, are the 30 CDs I’ll have by my side. It’s a mix of classic driving albums, Louisiana voodoo, recent purchases, summery weirdness, and more. Links go to YouTube.

  • Battles – Gloss Drop – “Ice Cream
  • Herocop – Tukwila Mockingbird – “Joanna Newsong
  • Radiohead – King of Limbs – “Bloom
  • The Joy Formidable – The Big Roar – “Whirring
  • El Guincho – Pop Negro – “Bombay
  • Dungen – Skit i Allt – “Skit i Allt
Obviously this is more than enough for 16 hours of driving, but it’s nice to have options. Speaking of options…

I’m always looking for more music and I don’t know who reads this blog, but perhaps you could chime in with your ALA playlist. Whether you’re driving, flying, or whatever, what music will you have at the conference? Can you recommend music for librarians?

One last thing, if you’re a music-lover, be sure to check out Euclid Records at 3401 Chartres St. in Bywater (about 1.5 miles east of Jackson Square)

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See Rock City!

Courtesy of Brent (CC BY-2.0)

I work for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and you can too! That’s right, we’re hiring TWO librarians this summer! Now, I realize that I’m not much of a draw, but you’ll also be working with Jason Griffey, Colleen Harris, Virginia Cairns, Caitlin Shanley, Beverly Kutzand lots of other librarians that I guarantee you’ve seen at a conference or two. Oh yeah, and thanks to our kick-ass dean we have a LEED certified library currently under construction, and it’s always fun to work in a new library, right!? Want more? Check out our wiki for org charts, meeting minutes, statistics, surveys, and more (we’re as transparent and open as is legally possible).

Okay, so you may be thinking, “Chattanooga, Tennessee? But I have all my teeth and I don’t play the banjo!” Just stop. Seriously, cut it out. Chattanooga is routinely ranked as one of the most livable cities in the U.S.. Rising home valuesthe fastest internet in the country, major economic investmenta nationally renowned art scene, and an international mecca for hiking, climbing, biking, and caving all contribute to a seriously modern and progressive city; it’s what the Grey Lady calls an “undiscovered gem.

Anyway, here are the postings:

The University of Tennessee, Chattanooga’s Lupton Library invites applications from energetic, intellectually curious, and student-centered librarians to fill two, tenure-track vacancies on our team. This dynamic duo will lead the Library’s further development in electronic resources access and discovery.

Electronic Resources and Serials LibrarianThe Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian ensures optimal and accurate access to subscription resources in all formats, including databases, electronic journals and books, print journals and other continuations.

Digital Integration LibrarianThe Digital Integration Librarian implements public facing digital tools and services, such as link resolvers, that connect electronic and other library resources for patrons.

View a chart comparing requirements and qualifications for each positionView the library’s organization chart

A review of applications will begin on July 5, 2011 and will continue until the positions are filled. Interested applicants should submit 1) a letter of interest, 2) a current CV, and 3) the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of three references including the professional relationship of each reference to facultyvitae@utc.edu.

Come on, you know you want to…

Frank Kehren (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

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Courtesy of Duluth Public Library

So far as I am aware, librarianship is really in a critical condition…the profession itself is now unsure of what its functions are and unsure also of just how to go about performing whatever functions are assigned to it or that it adopts. This state of affairs seems to me to be entirely understandable in the light of certain developments that affect not merely the profession but our society as a whole (p. 295)

It’s a busy day at work so I’ll keep this brief…

As one of the core, foundational texts in the philosophy of librarianship, Abraham Kaplan’s “The Age of the Symbol” is a testament to the importance of appreciating the philosophical foundations of librarianship. Moreover, his discussion of the myriad problems facing librarianship are eerily prescient…new technologies, an explosion of information, external socio-political pressures…the same things you’ll see in the current literature. And how does Kaplan propose we respond to the challenges facing librarianship? Well, I’m not much for spoilers, so you’ll have to read the article yourself.

However, I will point out that Kaplan advocates a particular approach to library science. First, he argues that librarianship is a humanist enterprise. Second, he makes the case that librarianship is more akin to the “metasciences” of logic, mathematics, linguistics, and information science (p. 301) than to social or hard sciences. Given that most librarians believe that library science is a social science and most library research takes its cue from sociological research methods, the second point should raise some eyebrows, but I think he is spot-on. Library science is not a social science like sociology, anthropology, or political science. Neither is it a hard science like physics, chemistry, or biology. Library science is

not about subject matters provided by man and nature, but about subject matters provided fundamentally by our ideas about man and nature, or by our language, or by our ways of transmitting and processing the information that we have derived, and so on. (p. 301)

And later, he elaborates that library science

has thrust upon it, as its appropriate domain, the whole of knowledge, the whole of culture; nothing is supposed to be  foreign to us, and we ought to be prepared under suitable circumstances to be helpful with regard to any and every area of human concern. [W]e cannot even begin to occupy ourselves with the substance and content of this endless domain, but only with its form, with its structure, with its order, with the interrelations of the various parts. (p. 304)

I like this approach and I probably agree with Kaplan more than I disagree. If anything, placing library science in the meta-scientific realm places it at a more foundational level than the profession may realize. Hopefully I can return to Kaplan’s arguments in a future post.

Essential Reading in the Philosophy of Library and Information Science

Kaplan, A. (1964). The age of the symbol–a philosophy of library education. Library Quarterly, 34(4), 295-304.

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