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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 06, 2005

Some thoughts for Oct. 7

To me, I interpret from the readings the global perspective on the population of the United States dynamically expands with the increasing number of immigrants and a variety of cultures of the incomings. Definitely, there is awareness on diversity that brings about ideas such as Americanization, assimilation, racism, separatism, and so on.

Interesting issues from the reading are multi-cultural personnel, libraries as an institution or a mechanism to outreach to communities and to stimulate beliefs and unity especially on democracy, and programs that promote motivation to the community to come and to make use of a library. According to Beck’s, I see how cultures and languages relates to the development of outreach programs in response to background of the ethnic groups.

The story of Miss Rose brought to my attention an issue of feminism in the profession’s history. I am amazed that she could manage to accomplish many outstanding breakthroughs especially in her time when, to my understanding, women had less to do with leadership or powerful voices. This makes me wonder whether Miss Rose, herself, was recognized as a so-called “elite” whose voice bears favorable responses and acceptances. Then, her roles in making such big changes as described in Anderson’s article were embedded with ideas of social control through the use of institutions. Especially, she was different from the community by being white. In my opinion, there must be difficulties especially when aiming at reaching the community and influencing people in the community to do something set as or set for achieving particular goals. The story seems to be in favor to Miss Rose consisting with major achievements she accomplished. I am curious if this would happen, at that time, in a black community, when a black librarian or one of her assistant came up with such ideas and intentions. Is this an issue of timing meaning that she was in the right time with the power or connection that could make all these happen? Also, I am wondering if her achievements were partially or solely results from brainstorming ideas from her black assistants.

Also, I agree with Awa's question about the roles of patron. In addition, when considering a relationship between the community and libraries, it is obvious to me that they interplay with each other. For example, there was a two-way effect in the relationship when libraries have impacts on building and developing motivation among users to demand, to read, to come, and to use venues. Then, users’ demanding also has impacts on collection development and the expansion of the facilities and goals of libraries driving it into the concerns of culture, diversity, and the likes.

Then, another issue that I think the readings stimulate is the concepts of “immigrants” interpreted and perceived by a community. The interpretation of “immigrants” can be differently perceived since American society consists of people from various ethnicity and backgrounds. I also wonder about the ways libraries perceive the concept of “immigrants”. Finally, these three articles are very useful to me since they are mainly about immigrants, libraries, and communities. I found many useful issues that related to my project I plan to do for this class.

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