Saturday, June 23, 2012

How Can Inaccurate Ideas about Librarians be Changed in a Positive Way?

I recently started a group on LinkedIn entitled Changing Public Perceptions about Librarians and Information Resource Professionals.  The first question I wanted to ask is, "How can inaccurate ideas about librarians be changed in a positive way?" I got some wonderful feedback and wanted to share.  You can find a link to the discussion here.  I won't take you through the whole discussion here, but I did want to share my responses.  Here is my reaction to the initial responses I received:

These are some great answers to the question, and you have shared wonderful ideas.  Annette and Karly--You are right!  Community engagement is the key and we need to put ourselves out there and get involved.  One of the things that I think is great about the Douglas County Library System in the Denver area is that they take a very proactive role, not just in community engagement but in economic development. Librarians there have coordinated with local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce to help them access needed information--in a lot of ways the librarians there have made themselves indispensable to the business community, and being "indispensable" can only be a good thing in reference to relevance and job security.  See and

Karly--Coordination at a national level is indeed needed.  I've always thought that librarians need a national marketing campaign that can "show" people what we do.  Librarians work hard on a local level, but I'd like to see a grand slam of marketing dollars be invested in PSAs or similar--that everyone in the country would see. Your observation about libraries being more than books is so true!  We are tied to books so much because it was the first information resource, but there are so many other types of resources out there that we need to connect our image better with those as well.

Carolyn--Your ideas about conducting and publishing research could be part of this.  Librarians are adept at research and we need to find a way to make our research publishable for public consumption, not just for academia or some "dry" study.  I love that "Don't settle for half the answer" line.  It is so perfect!

Chelsea--You are also right about needing to be aware of patrons and their needs.  I have been guilty of getting too caught up in my computer work or whatever, too, and I've neglected to say  hello or make sure patrons know I'm available to them.  Some patrons need help asking for help, so we need to make them as comfortable as possible. Acknowledgement is a big part of that.  How can we make ourselves indispensable (or change negative ideas about librarians) if we aren't even approachable?  Good point!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Mexico Cultural History Pathfinder

I've just redone a website that I started for a project assignment for my Reference Services class in December of 2008.  Take a look! I'll be doing a few more edits on it as I get time, but I think it can be helpful to anyone interested in the cultural history of New Mexico or the southwest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

I love this blog: The Unquiet Librarian

Buffy Hamilton is a needed voice in the fields of librarianship and education.  She is fearless and I admire her spirit.  Check out her blog, The Unquiet Librarian, for her take on Digital Literacy, Participatory Learning and more. I have a lot to learn from her and wanted to share my enthusiasm.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Book Review: The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey

When I heard about Margot Livesey’s new book, The Flight of Gemma Hardy, on Library Journal’s Book Buzz I could hardly contain myself.  Harper Publishers billed it as a modern retelling of Jane Eyre.  I am a Charlotte Bronte addict.  She is one of my favorite writers, surpassed by only a few.  I have had the internal debate about Edward Rochester so many times that I cannot say for sure whether he is a hero, a would-be villain, or both.  The passion and intensity between Edward Fairfax Rochester and his reticent governess, however, cannot be denied.  I hoped for the same from Gemma and her employer, Mr. Sinclair.  Although there are some similarities between the stories, I do not think Ms. Livesey’s book was actually helped by the comparison.   Gemma’s story does have some mystery, but it is not gothic.  There is never a hint that there is danger roaming about.  The narrative never generates a feeling of ominous anticipation. I kept turning the pages in the hope that my craving for intensity would be satisfied.  I kept wondering where it was.  I liked Gemma and I liked Mr. Sinclair.  She overcame hardship and propelled herself to a better position in life as Jane did.  Mr. Sinclair was always kind.  He was very likeable.  I don’t know why this is a bad thing, except that Rochester was not always kind.  He was brusque, rude and temperamental one moment and kind, perceptive and charming the next.  He took Jane on an emotional roller-coaster that was constantly threatening to soar when in reality it was taking a plunge.  There was none of this emotional uncertainty between Mr. Sinclair and the young Miss Hardy.  Mr. Sinclair did have a secret, and when Emma learned it, she fled. But I was not convinced that her flight was actually necessary.  It seemed born of petulance more than of moral necessity.   

I did enjoy the book.  The section prior to Emma going to school is wonderful.  I love the relationship that develops between Emma and her uncle.  Her experience at the school is interesting as well--the characters here are engaging and for the most part, more complete than those that Bronte sketched.  I also loved the exploration of Emma's parents' histories.  Margot Livesey's writing is impeccable as always, but I think the constant comparison to Jane Eyre tainted my enjoyment of it and made it seem lackluster. In my opinion, the relationships here cannot be compared to those in Bronte's novel. Even the relationships Emma forms after leaving Blackbird Hall are not as intense (that is the only word that will fit!) as the connections she makes to her cousins; and St. John Rivers would have looked really good compared to the corresponding character in the modern novel. I would have taken more pleasure in it had it stood on its own merit—except for Gemma’s flight itself; in her flight, she becomes exactly what it is she is fleeing from.  Perhaps that happens with most, if not all, idealists.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Updates to the Resources Page

Just a note to let you know that I've updated the "Resources" page and divided into sections:
  • The 21st Century Librarian: New Trends Blending with Tradition
  • Webinars and Workshops: Career Development and Continuing Education
  • Employment Resources
There are some spacing issues that I'm working on.  I'll have those fixed in a few days.