Stephen Francoeur
Essential Readings in the Philosophy of Librarianship: The Atlas of New Librarianship (part 1) -
Pull quote: "Summing up, The Atlas of New Librarianship is pretty much a let-down. It adopts a relativist world-view, it is philosophically sloppy and it ignores the existence of any competing philosophy of librarianship." - Stephen Francoeur
This is my first-ever library school textbook. I think I'll find reading it even more interesting with this review around. - Marianne
I'm pleased that he recovered my presumably-lost comment...but now caught in a dilemma: He's telling me that the book's worth reading for practical advice, and the next commenter that there's not much useful practical advice if you already follow trends. (I find Lankes confounding along those lines, but that's me.) - Walt Crawford
Not a fan of Lankes OR positivism. Sometimes life is hard *sigh* - Meg VMeg
Meg, I wiould expect nothing less from a fan of NEGATIVLAND. - Stephen Francoeur
Walt: sorry about the dilemma. There is some good advice, though none of it is particularly new or original. I think I was just trying to be charitable but ha a change of heart between comments. - Wilk from iPod
Meg: Positivism is nothing but a boogeyman scared up by postmodernists. No one is really a positivist (at least not for 80 years). But Lankes is really a Lankestivst. - Wilk from iPod
Lane: Good to hear! You can chalk me down in the non-realist/intrumentalist column, then. - Meg VMeg
Lane: I truly appreciate your latest comment. When Lankes was trying to convert ALA to conversational librarianship and I raised some questions, it became clear to me that one does not argue with Lankes. So I stopped. - Walt Crawford
Hi all...I think the follow up post is much more interesting. In any case, folks are welcome to argue with Lankes, but I do reserve the right to argue back :-) In fact the whole point of the Atlas was to start a conversation about the core of the field and more than a review of functions and technology. I am thrilled that this conversation seems to be going forth. - R. David Lankes
Yep, we already had a fun time with that one, actually: (and I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on the follow-up post, as well) - Meg VMeg
"a new librarianship based not on books and artifacts but on knowledge and learning." I thought that's what I was doing all along. Actually, I'm pretty sure of it. :| - Andy
Funny, I've been using books and artifacts to help me teach our students to learn stuff and create some knowledge. - Joe - Systems Analyst
Lankes: Of course you should have the right to argue back. In the past, I felt as though you wouldn't engage unless it was on your "it's all a conversation" terms. Or maybe it's just me. [Oh, and Joe:+10] - Walt Crawford
Of course, that blurb I quotes could have been written by some PR person. - Andy
As I recall the conversation we were having Walt was on the definition of a "conversation." If you would like to engage in a discussion of objective reality, we could do that. I should be clear...that's not what the Atlas is, it is a theoretical framework, not a philosophical one. It aims at how people behave and how libraries can fit into that, not how the world is. I'm not going to deny being a constructivist, but I would not go so far as to say I am a complete relativist who thinks we make the universe through conversation (as was implied in this post). I'm a pragmatist...I understand this to be a very unsatisfying answer, but we can debate about whether a table is a table all we want. What I am more interested in is what people associate with tables, how they relate them to other things (objects, ideas, emotions, people), and use those relationships to make decisions. This is directly relevant to social libraries (not a natural phenomenon). The role of the library, even the tools of the library, like universal classifications, are socially constructed agreements. Take that table again. When I ask what is the definition of a table, the only response is a definition that depends on other social constructs like language, and a near infinite number of empirical variables (where you grew up, what experience you have with tables, cultural expectations, vocation, etc.). Once those variables exceed a handful, traditional methods of validation break down (figure out an ANOVA for infinite dependent and independent variables). The nature of reality is not unimportant, and I love this discussion (I am all about conversation), but it fails to scale in social constructs. Even the philosophies and theories we are discussing are founded on ongoing conversation and argument. Science itself is founded on the principles of error. That is that all understandings are our best explanation of the best data we can muster. It is always assumed that both better data... more... - R. David Lankes
The operative phrase in this quote is 'help me teach': "Funny, I've been using books and artifacts to help me teach our students to learn stuff and create some knowledge" - R. David Lankes
Well said, thanks. - Meg VMeg
Books and artifacts aren't the only things that I use in my teaching toolbox, but they do help me teach. I also try to use my own thoughts and ideas if and when appropriate... - Joe - Systems Analyst
As someone with a science undergrad, I can relate to what David is getting at at the end of his larger reply. There is an incredible amount of risk aversion in play in the public library field; and while some risk aversion is rather normal, the feeling I get is that it really controls a lot of conversations within the field. I realize that this is a component of "your mileage may vary" based on which public library staff you are talking with, but for the overall national conversation, it feels like the most conservative viewpoints control that conversation. "We can't lend out video games" "We can't offer teen programming unless it is completely on our terms" "We can't offer outreach because it diminishes the role of the location" and other bullshit lines. Where is the sense of adventure? Where is the experimentation? And why aren't these values that we as a profession should be looking for in the people that are hired? I like the expression "Hire the smile, teach the skill" because when services are offered on multiple platforms, it's the attitude of the people offering them that will make the difference. - Andy