Library Agitprop - Commentary by Cindi Trainor
.: My friend Cindi Trainor has written a passionate and well-informed piece on the future of libraries. Her observations appeared on her own site a few days ago. To a degree, Cindi picks up where Karen Scheider left off last year (see below), when she wrote statements like, "The OPAC is not the sun. The OPAC is at best a distant planet, every year moving farther from the orbit of its solar system." Cindi writes about issues that as a profession if we choose to continue to ignore, we may do so at our own potential collective peril. Endgame Librarianship, anyone?
Here is an excerpt from Cindi's post:
I first read about Karen Schneider about 10 years ago, when she was a frequent poster to (and perhaps more key, I a more frequent reader of) the web4lib listserv (remember listserves?). I found her frankly irritating and annoyingly loquacious. I cannot remember now why I had this attitude, but it got to where I was hitting the delete key anytime I saw her name.Please read Cindi's entire post here; it is well worth the time to do so.
Funny how things change...
A couple of years ago, I started seeing blog posts, magazine articles and other writings attributed to Ms. Schneider that started to resonate with me. Then she posted the famous (or perhaps forgotten, ymmv) "The User is Not Broken: the Meme Masquerading as a Manifesto." I don't think I've nodded my way more enthusiastically through a blog post since.
Yesterday, Karen Schneider wrote on ALA's Techsource blog:
It is both ironic and poignant that librarians are still worrying about “bibliographic control,” after ceding so much of the same to the companies that now rent them journal access per annum at usurious rates, digitize their book collections into DRM obscurity, or sell them ponderous, antiquated “management” systems that on close inspection do little more than serve as storehouses for the metadata specific to the formats of bygone eras, bold days when we saw our central roles as defenders and curators of our cultural heritage.
Never have I seen a more eloquent indictment of the ILS as it is today. I was going to wait until I officially leave my current employer before posting something that's really been eating at me about libraries, but I really feel compelled to weigh in, here.