August 26, 2010

While we are away...

Norma Marion Alloway Library at sunsetAlloway Library at duskImage via WikipediaAlloway Library will be closed Tuesday, August 31 for our annual library staff day. During that time we'll be discussing a paper entitled "What is an Academic Library Today?" by Jonathan D. Lauer, a librarian at Messiah College.  He presents a three-fold vision for library personnel in Christian institutions encouraging them to:
1) Exercise balance in the execution of a vocation-based librarianship.
2) Promote collaboration with teaching faculty in consort with pedagogical best practices.
3) Be a welcoming, loving, human presence.
Here are some of Lauer's key ideas:
Now, as from time out of mind, the monumental challenge to libraries and librarians is determining how best to add new access options to the smorgasbord of formats...while continuing to support time-honored, traditional technologies that are still the superior format for many of our readers' needs.                            ....
 Librarianship is an ancient enterprise sparked by human intelligence and curiosity and driven by the human need to notice, name, and record. (It is) the collection, organization, storage, preservation, and dissemination of human information, knowledge, and wisdom, usually within and under the auspices of a larger entity which has a clearly defined mission and focus.
That is a worthy, important, and high calling. Notice that it transcends the packaging in which content comes to us. Even as libraries have been early and fruitful adopters of emerging electronic technologies, they must still champion content in all appropriate technological formats, including the tenacious and ingenious codex book.
Furthermore, our work is too important to leave to profit making mega corporations, no matter how lofty or hegemonic their vision. Geoffrey Nunberg knows this and has documented it in troubling detail in his recent Chronicle of Higher Education article entitled “Google’s Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars.”...
Our libraries must be places of balance informed by the time-honored vocational dimension of librarianship, the mission of our parent institutions, and a recognition that library personnel are educators.
Librarians... must continue to expand collaboration with classroom faculty... to lead students where they need expanded vision and liberation from the prison of their particular generation and subculture. This is the crux of making any Christian university library a vital aspect of the institution's educational enterprise.
Our 21st century libraries must be welcoming places where our personnel love
and serve their clientele in equal measure to their technical competence and
If there is a Gospel parable for the library profession, I would vote for the story of the Good Samaritan. It answers the timeless question, "Who is my neighbor?" Allow a paraphrase and ask, "Who is my reader? How can I work to seek and save those lost in the quagmire of information overload? What must I do to convince some readers that they don't know what they don't know in this age of Google and Wikipedia?
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments: