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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Thoughts on librarianship

This morning I went to what turned out to be a really interesting lecture called "Intellectual Freedom in Rural Libraries: How to Keep the Library for Everyone." I'm not planning on working in a rural library or anything, but I figured I could use a refresher on intellectual freedom. It's always been one of my "things," and I believe very strongly in unrestricted access to information. One of the reasons that I wanted to pursue librarianship was my interest in intellectual freedom. I think that's one of the few things that's important in the world today. So much of the "news" in the United States comes from a handful of sources (AOL TimeWarner, for example) that it's almost impossible to know if what you're reading or watching or hearing is true, or if it's spun through the media machine (it most certainly is). I'm attending a lecture tomorrow called "All the News You Never Get: Breaking the International News Blockade," which I'm really looking forward to to which I'm really looking forward which I'm really looking forward to.

Not to get off topic or anything.

Anyway, the man who presented the intellectual freedom piece is a librarian who teaches at the University of Buffalo [go Bills! (sorry, that was a shout-out to my mom and my other Buffalonian relatives)]. He's worked in rural libraries all over, and visits libraries constantly. Even on his honeymood. Which might be a little bit much. However, he's certainly well-versed in the unique challenges faced by rural librarians. He went through a bunch of ways librarians and libraries can emphasize their commitment to intellectual freedom--by doing small things, such as using IF-related quotations as signatures on their email, to bigger undertakings, like prominently displaying banners outside the library with IF material on them. He made a clear connection between the Bill of Rights, and particularly the First Amendment, as well as the Constitution and our other founding documents, and intellectual freedom. I liked that. I think that, as a fairly cynical American, it's easy to forget that we, too, own the First Amendment and the Constitution--by that, I mean that while the First Amendment is often used to uphold the constitutionality of white-power groups and the like, it can be applied equally well to the more inclusive side of the United States. One of the speaker's biggest points was "don't back down." Intellectual freedom must be protected if we are to ever gain an understanding of our politics, our cultures and societies, and the international relations our country embarks upon.

God I'm a prostelytizer, huh? (Ha.)

Anyway, I'm turning up some cool stuff at this conference. This afternoon I'm going to a lecture on representing hip-hop in library collections, and tonight is Madeleine Albright's keynote address. Sweet!

1 Comments:

  • all of a sudden i feel like attending guest lectures!

    sounds like you are discussing some interesting things...hopefully you can come back refreshed and enthused and pass that onto us. well, i guess you already are, with this blog.

    ghost is on tv right now...and i'm a sucker enough to watch it.

    By Blogger al, at 11:41 PM  

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