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LIS 950: Libraries and community

The purpose of this seminar is to explore an important topic in library and information studies in depth — in all its intertwined historical, cultural, philosophical, and political aspects — through a graduate reading/discussion seminar. The topic varies each time the course is taught; this time around, we will focus on "libraries and community"

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Don't Think You've Lost a Brain Cell

1.) It is somewhat disjointed and difficult to follow - - however, I actually liked the book very much. I think that his reliance on quotes is effective, although it does interrupt the flow of the text. He is building a case and substantiating his case with a myriad of arguments from within and LARGELY outside the library profession. However verbose and (confusing) his prose may be, he does illuminate the critical point (s) of his argument rather well, i.e., . . . it is the vision of a library democratically connected to its community . . . engaging it in a rational dialog about what it should be in light of democratic public purposes, and the need to provide alternatives and alternative spaces in a culture dominated by information capitalism and media image and spectacle. It is a the core responsibility of librarianship in a democracy. (180)

I don't think he fails in building a case for this . . . he just makes it hard to follow.

2.) I read Bridget's comments on technology shortly after finishing the book. I think that he is taking a very narrow approach to discussing technology and his vision of the library. So much of his arguments are based on the premise of technology or information as being something that is consumed. In other words, that library patrons in the new public philosophy are no longer considered citizens -- rather consumers. I think that the vision should reflect what the capabilities of new technologies afford patrons and see them not only as consumers -- but also as producers. It is not a one-way stream and this seems like a terrible oversight on Buschman's part. Any vision of the library in an IT dominated future needs to account for the idea of patrons as both.


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