Thursday, October 20, 2011

Re: Bill Maher on Libraries

Posting to Autocat concerning some statements made by Bill Maher about libraries. Here is an example article about it

I've been away from email for a bit and just saw this thread.

I must confess that I agree with John Marr on this. Do people really believe that Bill Maher is ignorant, or is he just voicing the opinion that many others out there--many of very high scholastic caliber--have concerning libraries? I have heard similar comments over and over again from some very surprising people. From a management point of view, when you hear one opinion or complaint--unless it is really far out in left field--then you should assume that complaint or opinion is shared by many others. How many others? You don't know if you don't try to find out.

Today, I think we can all easily take for granted that Bill Maher's opinion about libraries is shared with many, many others. Look at how libraries are being cut back all over the place, almost the world over!

In my opinion, one of the major stumbling blocks for librarians in this environment is that they want to believe that there is still an unspoken agreement among the general population that libraries are important. Of course, *I* think they are important--and not only to those who are in trouble economically, but libraries should be important to *everyone*. (I think it is vital not to couple ourselves too closely only with those in trouble. We need to appeal to everyone in our society) And yet, for an entire list of reasons, not everyone agrees with that automatically today. Therefore, we must be ready to prove it and to demonstrate it.

Unfortunately, the library community has been very slow to react to the changes in information technologies, especially in comparison with many other information agencies, and--I'll say it again--RDA does nothing to address any of the real problems facing libraries or their catalogs. 

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