Tuesday, April 28, 2009

a point of contention

What are blogs for if not addressing contentious issues? It's probably my own fault for reading a blog called the Annoyed Librarian, but I thought Library Journal's hosting of the anonymous ranter added some kind of legitimacy.

Anyway, here is a link to the post that riled me: http://www.libraryjournal.com/blog/580000658/post/1590035559.html

The opening paragraph begins, "All along I've noticed that a lot of librarians resent my criticism of the lowest-common-denominator, give-'em-what-they-want, bread-and-circuses approach to public librarianship that so many librarians seem to desire. Sometimes it seems that I'm the only librarian who believes public libraries should have some sort of purpose larger and more important that subsidizing the puerile entertainment desires of the mass of people who can't afford Netfllx or videogames. Some naive people think that the masses should provide their own puerile entertainment and public institutions should contribute to the public good. "

I won't go into great length regarding why I defend puerile entertainment in the library, even though I'm a total snob in my personal life. Here's a short break-down of my argument:

  • Public institutions have included entertainment as a worthwhile goal for a long time. See Parks & Rec for an example.

  • Yesterday's trash is tomorrow's treasure. Charles Dickens was considered a trashy writer in his day and his work is now considered the pinnacle of Western literature. There's something to be said for the wisdom of the crowd.

  • Should a publically funded institution take upon itself the role of tastemaker? An institution so closely tied to the government should be careful about declaring what has cultural worth and value and what is 'puerile' entertainment. Censorship is often framed in terms of protecting public morality.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's been a while since I last rapped at ya

I have a history of abandoned and failed blogs(not to be confused with the Fail Blog), due primarily to the fact that I am a recluse and sharing does not come naturally to us.

However, I am a long time lurker, so I have some familiarity with many of the 27 things. I wasn't planning on doing 27 things, but they lured me in with the promise of a shiny new flash drive.

The prizes do seem an odd choice if they want to encourage the Luddites to participate.... But I'm an easy sell. After all, I would probably want one of these if it was real.