Tag Archives: libraries

A Rant on Intellectual Freedom

Once upon a time….

I was in a ____ literature course, and a particular day was focused on [fictional books on a controversial topic, one in which I differ in personal opinion from most of the vocal members of the library profession].  We discussed our reflections on the reading choices as a class.  Although I cringed at hearing some of the storylines, I would, of course, support the inclusion of these titles  in a collection, pending age-/review-/balance-/budget-appropriateness.

My gut was very uncomfortable with this discussion, not only with the vision of some of these books (which were contrary to my own worldview, but I’m used to that), but largely with the fact that most of the library profession seems to think that it is the only way to see the world, and that other points of view are [adjective describing unacceptability].  Sadly, the professor and fellow students seem to perpetuate the notion that a character or theme of a book must agree with their set of values, especially within this controversial topic.

This smells awfully similar to the 180-degree opposite intolerant mindset that the same people complain about.  Woe.  The best I can do is stick to my beliefs in my personal life (a luxury which in some fields is being eroded), defend intellectual freedom, and make sure that my future library welcomes all points of view, not just the ones in vogue.

For more information about Intellectual Freedom, check out ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Library Bill of Rights.

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A Quiet Night at the Library

Right now, our library seems to be in the very middle of a multi-week lull in the action in the Children’s Room. The Make a Splash summer reading club ended nearly two weeks ago, but there is still a week left before procrastination-happy parents come in for last-minute summer reading books requested by the schools.

I normally work only 1pm-5pm on Fridays, but I volunteered for extra hours (and extra $), so I worked until 9pm.  From 5-9 I was on duty in the Young Adult/teen room.  It was the slowest day I’ve experienced, and the lack of teens was probably compounded by the fact that the weather outside was lovely.  During my four hours in the teen room, I probably helped only 5 teens and one elderly gentleman – much fewer than usual.

Luckily, I’d been given some projects to work on by my superiors and the other librarians.  Tonight was perfect for doing computer-heavy, involved tasks.  Here’s a sample of the few projects I’ve been doing:

1. Princess Book List.  In the Children’s Room, we’ll often get parents of preschool girls asking for princess books.  Inevitably, this happens while all of the librarians are busy with other patrons, so the princess patrons simply get referred to the Disney section.  Well, my superiors (and I) agree that it would be ideal to encourage non-Disney books, and make them easily available for the little girls that like everything to be a combination of pink, purple, and sparkly.  I finished the list today, and it should appear on the SHPL webpage next week.

2. Summer Book Weeding. This is my first assignment of this sort.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with library lingo, “weeding” is the process of assessing the frequency of use of materials in order to give/throw away anything that doesn’t earn its place on the shelf.   Today, I started the first round of weeding of the Summer Story books, just going through ones that have been on the front display shelf.  So far, it seems that less than 1/5 of the books are going into the tentative “weed” pile.

3. Journal Hunting. One of the full-time librarians got handed down an assignment from the boss, and she handed it down to me.  I started going through the School Library Journal, checking to make sure that our library has copies of all the most highly featured materials in the journal.  So far, I’ve found that we already have all but a few of the books that appear in the featured lists (this one happened to be about picture books that reinforce mathematical concepts).

Although these three projects are business-as-usual for seasoned librarians, they are all new tasks for me.  I’m excited to learn new procedures and develop familiarity with all aspects of the profession.  Additionally, I may also soon begin re-cataloging all of the audio CD collection in the Children’s Room.  We shall see….and don’t forget to enjoy the extra “quiet time” at the library in the August slow season.

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“Librarians Save the Day” Movie List

I’ll be going to New Jersey to visit friends this weekend ^_^ so I’ll leave you with a great little movie list. The Huffington Post compiled a great little list of movies featuring libraries and/or librarians.

Take a look at the list here.

I got Party Girl on DVD through inter-library loan today. I hope to watch it next week. Does anyone have any other library/librarian movie recommendations?

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No Flying, No Tights

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Sorry I’ve been MIA for awhile from my little blog – but I do keep up with my google reader, at least.  I’ve been busy with my first annotated bibliography for my Fundamentals of Library Science summer course, and I’ve let my meager writing fall by the wayside.

My topic of research is graphic novels, and how they can be used in libraries to support literacy.  If you know of any cool websites, please write a comment about it; it would be most welcomed.

A librarian coworker highly recommended this awesome site called No Flying, No Tights, which includes great recommendations of graphic novels, based on age and genre.  I’ve explored it only a little, but so far, it looks like a great readers’ advisory (and personal reading) tool.  Tell me what you think.