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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"

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Disintermediation and more

Blaire, thank you for your thoughtful questions. I just finished reading Civic Space
Cyberspace and typing up a grumpy essay about how this book even though recent is already historical. It seems so hopeful -- even naively so -- about the role of libraries in the electronic era but not really dealing with what I see as vast changes in the role of libraries and librarians. I do think the idea of disintermediation is a crucial one, which has many continuing implications for all kinds of libraries. I haven't read The Social Life of Information but will try to get it and read it (right after I finish "The Myth of the Paperless Office"). Have others read The Social Life of Information? If so, how do you think it relates to the issues of what it is to be a library/librarian as we move further into the computer age?

One thing I did like about Civic Space/Cyberspace was the discussion of the impact of government policies and funding on the development of libraries in the dawn of the computer era (and before the issues raised by the Patriot Act). Government policies and funding is an aspect that I think has had a considerable and continuing impact on many aspects of libraries but we have not talked about it much. Hopefully this will open some further discussion about this aspect.

And, can those who know about the issues in Wisconsin about Google instead of librarians talk about them a little bit more? This is so interesting! Reminds me so much of the visit from the delegation of state legislators we had back in Minnesota a few years ago, after which it was announced that there would be no funding available for any kind of library building or shelving, since there were not going to be any more books being published! How do librarians deal with the myths of the computer era effectively?

Barbara

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